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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Atalig told to start serving his 8-month sentence on Saturday
Judge corrects ‘very disturbing error’ order

Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman has ordered suspended lawyer Antonio M. Atalig to begin serving his eight-month prison term for domestic violence last Saturday.

Wiseman vacated a Dec. 18, 2013, order that allowed the 57-year-old Atalig to begin serving the jail term on Feb. 15, 2015.

It was Atalig who submitted a proposed order to commence serving his sentence on Feb. 15, 2015. Wiseman subsequently signed the order.

In his order issued last week correcting an error, Wiseman said he did not see right away the gross error of the year 2015 for reporting and “has now reviewed it, finds it a very disturbing error.”

The judge said he hopes it was not intentional on Atalig’s part.

Wiseman also ordered that no further continuances or extension for reporting to the Department of Corrections shall be granted.

Atalig was sentenced on Nov. 22, 2013, for a total of eight months to serve. At the time, Atalig asked the court to delay his reporting to DOC because he needed to find a job and fulfill many other obligations.

In his affidavit filed in court in December, Atalig said he was then seeking a job at the Department of Public Lands and other private companies.

Atalig said the court does not object for him to be on work release while serving time at DOC. He said due to the need for financial support of his three children, this matter of work release is supported and coordinated by Family Court manager Kevin Villagomez.

Atalig said he needs at least 45 more days to seek employment due to the busy holiday season in December. Atalig said he believes that 45 additional days is sufficient to find gainful employment.

He said he has discussed this matter with assistant attorney general Brian Flaherty and that the prosecutor does not object or oppose this request.

This request, he said, is made for the purpose of securing employment pending incarceration so that justice can be served while maintaining the ongoing support obligations to his children.

At the Nov. 22 sentencing hearing, Wiseman warned Atalig that he faces a maximum possible jail sentence if he will harass or threaten his former wife and three children again.

Wiseman said he is reluctant to accept the plea agreement that Atalig entered with the government due to Atalig’s “propensity to continue on occasions over at least a 9-year period to get drunk and attack and intimidate his former wife and three kids.”

Wiseman cautioned him that any future events of harassing, or threatening his family in any way, or violating any conditions of court orders or probation conditions, will result in the maximum possible sentence of incarceration.

Atalig pleaded guilty to assault and battery, two counts of disturbing the peace, and criminal contempt.

According to the factual basis of the plea deal, on March 4, 2013 on Saipan, Atalig went to the home of his former wife and their three children, yelled to be let in, kicked the sliding glass door, and walked into the house.

Once inside, Atalig followed his former wife around the dining room table and then began following their then 13-year-old daughter, touching the girl and causing her to trip and fall over.

The defendant’s actions violated the court’s previous order as at the time, he was still on probation for his 2012 conviction in another domestic case.

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