Two police officers, including who was just recently hired back by the Department of Public Safety, have two bench warrants for small claims and were found on Thursday in contempt of court for ignoring court orders.
Superior Court associate judge Kenneth L. Govendo, however, imposed no punishment on police officers David Rabauliman and Kui F. Rogopes and ordered their immediate release.
Govendo ordered Rabauliman and Rogopes to continue their payment of their debts to attorney Michael White, who is counsel for Javili General Partnership and Hi-Mart.
Govendo told the police officers that if they will not pay again, there will be serious repercussions.
The two officers were taken to court after the CNMI Judiciary's court marshal called a police sergeant at the Department of Public Safety and informed him about the bench warrant. The sergeant then accompanied the two officers to the court marshal's office where they were held until the hearing.
With respect to Rabauliman, White said the officer owes Javili General Partnership $251.
White said on Jan. 6, 2011, associate judge Perry B. Inos issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Rabauliman for not appearing in court on Dec. 21, 2010.
On May 3, 2010, presiding judge Robert C. Naraja ordered Rabauliman to pay White $25 biweekly until full payment is made.
White said the officer did not make any payment and basically ignored the court's order.
Rabauliman asked the judge if he could pay $25 or $50 biweekly.
Govendo told Rabauliman that he does not want him to forget again his obligation to pay.
“You're a police officer. Jail is probably not the best place for you,” Govendo told Rabauliman, who told the court that he sent many criminals to jail.
In Rogopes' case, White said that on July 30, 2012, associate judge Joseph N. Camacho issued a bench warrant for the defendant for not appearing in court on July 23, 2012 in connection with the small claim filed by Hi-Mart.
The amount of items that the officer allegedly owed the store was $397 starting in 2011.
On March 22, 2012, Camacho ordered Rogopes to pay White $50 bi-weekly until full satisfaction of his debt.
Asked by Govendo why he is not making payments, Rogopes mentioned that he has a 6-month baby.
Rogopes promised to pay when he gets his salary. He stated that he just started to work back at DPS a couple of weeks ago.
Govendo asked why the officer was not making payment or even partial payment.
“Do you think you're above the law?” Govendo said.
In July 2006, Rogopes, who was then already a police officer, pleaded guilty to obstructing justice.
According to the plea agreement, on Aug. 6, 2005 through Aug. 7, 2005, Rogopes failed to report to police officer Glenn Rabago the report of Daniel Santos as to his encounter and hitting of Jim Belebei on Aug. 6, 2005.
The court subsequently sentenced Rogopes to one year of supervised probation.
In August 2007, the court having found that Rogopes had met all of the conditions of his sentence, discharged him and vacated the judgment of conviction.
Rogopes resigned from DPS, then moved to the Department of Corrections. He was among six former police officers who were recently hired back by DPS.
DPS also recently hired a former Commonwealth Ports Authority police officer who has no criminal conviction but has several prior traffic violation cases.