CNMI Justice System Asked to Play Parent

April 4, 2012

Governor Fitial can have an inmate who was being held on federal charges taken from prison and brought to his house to give him a massage and there are no consequences. Attorney General Buckingham can be found to have violated the Hatch Act and there are no consequences. Dolores Aldan, former Commissioner of the CNMI Department of Corrections, interfered with an investigation in Tinian and allowed her husband weekend furloughs from prison and there were no consequences. But a high school boy shouts and swears at his brother and mother and gets seven days in jail and a court hearing?

According to KSPN the teenager yelled and swore at his younger brother over a lost i-pod. When his mother scolded him, he yelled and swore at her too. After the teenager went to school the mother called the police to say he disturbed the peace. The police went to Kagman High School to arrest the teenager and took him into custody.

According to KSPN, Public Defender Adam Hardwicke and Judge Kenneth Govendo were frustrated with the fact that such a case would be filed by the OAG:
Governdo sharply told Neal, "Let's fill the court with teenagers who swear at their mothers to teach them how to behave."  
Neal replied that she just works at the AG's office and isn't the chief prosecutor. But the judge noted that she signed the information. 
Govendo ordered the teenager to be released immediately on his own recognisance to his grandmother.
Neal declined to say if she would dismiss the case. When questioned by a KSPN news reporter why she considered this case a priority Neal said, "I'm not going to say this was a priority. Cases just come through and we charge them."

At least the public defender has some sense. He said:
"The prosecutor's job is to do justice and though the police should have known better, the buck stops at the AG's office. 
The gate keeper for this type of behavior is the Attorney General's Office.They are the ones who decide the whether it is okay to use the justice system and the police to parent their kids. And I would hope that there is more discretion in the Attorney General's Office than this. This young man has now been in jail for seven days for yelling at his mom."
The CNMI Office of the Attorney General continues to be an unprofessional office that is unable to prioritize or demonstrate basic common sense. The office appears to have no shame in wasting the tax payers' money. The mother may not have the best parenting skills in contacting police to arrest her own child for shouting and swearing, but shame on the police for arresting the boy; shame on the OAG for prosecuting this case.

Over the years there have been cases of assaults, rapes and other serious cases that the OAG failed to prosecuted. Still they can find the time to go after a teenager for yelling at his mom. Incredible.


Anonymous said...

Why was AAG Ernest fired? Fire Bucky and Neal. Crazy nuts.

It's not your money! said...

This might not be as crazy as it sounds. Domestic violence escalates over time, so the shouting might be a prelude to physical abuse, or there may have been incidents of physical abuse that mom was not eager to experience again. Was she placed in fear? What was he shouting? "I hate you" may not be cause for alarm from a teen, but "I'm going to kill you," might be. Is he doing "ice" or other drugs? None of these questions are answered in the news story, but AAG Neal may have the answers in her case file.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the wrong people are being fired and the AG office continues to be ineffective. They really should be investigating the Saipan police for their abuse of Chinese nationals. Recently a Chinese friend of mine had his license illegally confiscated by them after he phoned and asked that they file a traffic accident report. The policeman said he would check to see if his license was legitimate. It is. They also shoved his wife and friend and threatened them with arrest, and they still have not returned his license. There is little hope for the CNMI if thugs are allowed to rule the island.

Anonymous said...

12:04 -

no, according to the police, the mother of the boy did not report being scared or feeling threatened. the son did not threaten to hurt her. no evidence of drug use. what happened seems to be the kind of stuff that happens in any family.

from what we can tell, mom was just pissed at her son for disrespecting her. dps pulled him out of classes - during exam week, mind you - to arrest him. he has a month to go to graduate, and missed a week of school because he was in jail for being a stupid teenager.

so ridiculous. surely law enforcement agencies have much bigger fish to fry a kid who yells at his younger brother (who, by the way, is physically bigger than him) and calls his mom a few bad names before he leaves the house in a huff to go to school. why can't dps and ago focus on the many more egregious cases - of corruption, sexual abuse of children, armed robberies, rapes, kidnappings, murders, etc. - that have yet to be brought to justice.

Wendy Doromal said...

6:07 Thank you for the clarification. KSPN clearly gave that impression and the judge and public defender also appeared outraged. I feel sorry for that boy having been thrown in jail. So horrible. I hope his grandmother is a kind person. Is there family counseling in the CNMI?

The justice system in the CNMI needs an overhaul. The people are not safe, are not protected, are not receiving justice as victims of nonprosecuted crimes.

Anonymous said...

Was DPS called? If so, there was domestic violence taking place. It appears the Mother was fearful for herself and her son. Was it illegal what he did? If it was illegal, then he should have been arrested for disturbing the peace and whatever charges could apply. The arguments against taking action is called "Selective Law Enforcement". Hey cousin, uncle, brother, etc. just walk it off and we can a paperless warning. Or in another case, oh, evidence? I did not find that on the scene. Hey bro, you still got that checkpoint down in front of docomo? Yeah, chill for another 10 minutes and we are packing up and heading to Susupe. To much buddy buddy overlooking of illegal activities. If you are in Law Enforcement, from the bottom to the top, enforce the laws across the board, name, origin, race, status, or money should not be a factor in doing your job. This is why DPS has so many labels placed on them and so little respect given. They are borderline a joke.