Prosecutor Russell Lorfing has resigned from the already understaffed Office of the Attorney General’s Criminal Division.
Assistant attorney general Lorfing confirmed with Saipan Tribune that he turned in his resignation letter yesterday to Attorney General Edward T. Buckingham.
Lorfing’s contract expires on June 12, 2012. His resignation will take effect in mid-February. He has been with the OAG for a year and seven months now.
Lorfing said he respects the OAG’s leadership, but that they have differences. He refused to elaborate.
Lorfing will be joining the law firm of F. Matthew Smith, whom he believes is “a very ethical, genuine, and competent attorney.”
Lorfing said the austerity measures and the constant threat of more austerity measures have been affecting not only the lawyers but also the staff at the OAG. He cited numerous unpaid holidays that, according to him, are cutting 8 percent of his salary. He disclosed that he was not paid the salary that was promised him.
During his term, Lorfing conducted eight jury trials and five bench trials. Of the 13 cases, there were 10 convictions. Next month, he will conduct three more trials.
Lorfing will be the 16th assistant attorney general to leave the OAG during Buckingham’s term as attorney general.
Acting chief prosecutor Peter Prestley told Saipan Tribune that Lorfing is one of their best trial attorneys.
“We’re sorry to see him go. But he’s taking a new job on Saipan and he’s excited about it. We wish him luck,” Prestley said.
He said that, with Lorfing’s resignation, the OAG’s Criminal Division will be left with only six prosecutors, including himself and Cinta Kaipat.
Prestley said they expect one lawyer from the U.S. mainland to join them next month. He said their goal is to have eight prosecutors, including the chief prosecutor.