U. S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona issued yesterday another show-cause order requiring attorney Stephen C. Woodruff to explain why he should not be held in civil contempt for not complying with an order.
Manglona directed Woodruff to appear in court on Oct. 11 to also explain why a per diem fine for each day of noncompliance should not be imposed on him.
The judge noted that she ordered Woodruff on Aug. 8, 2013, to notify the court, in writing, within the last five days of each month, of the progress of his disciplinary matter in CNMI courts.
In that order, Manglona warned that any failure to comply with the order may subject Woodruff to penalties for civil contempt.
Manglona said a review of the docket shows that for the months of August and September 2013, Woodruff has not notified the court, in writing, of the progress of his CNMI disciplinary matter.
Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman ordered Woodruff’s disbarment in June 2013 for committing a total of 44 violations of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Wiseman’s order prompted Manglona to issue a notice on June 14, 2013, directing Woodruff to explain why a reciprocal discipline should not be imposed on him.
In his response, Woodruff noted that Wiseman’s order is not a final order of discipline as he [Woodruff] exercised his right to appeal and request a stay of sanctions under the CNMI Disciplinary Rules.
On Aug. 8, Manglona put on hold the proceedings on whether or not to impose Wiseman’s order that disbars Woodruff from the CNMI Bar. Manglona said the disbarment order is not a final adjudication, given Commonwealth rules that give Woodruff the right to review the disciplinary action and Woodruff’s notice of intent to exercise those rights.
Manglona, however, ordered Woodruff to comply with some conditions.
Last Oct. 2, Wiseman found Woodruff in civil contempt for not complying with the court’s disbarment order and sentenced him to five days in jail.
The jail sentence will, however, be suspended if Woodruff complies with the requirements of the disbarment order by Oct. 8.
When sought for comment about the civil contempt order, Woodruff said Wiseman needs to recuse himself because of his bias and prejudice against him.