Former Superior Court associate judge Timothy H. Bellas is leaving the CNMI, which has been his home for almost 38 years.
“I was fortunate that events in my life brought me to these beautiful islands, and thank everyone for years of kindness and friendship,” Bellas said in an email yesterday to confirm Saipan Tribune’s information that that he had closed his office and is moving to the U.S. mainland.
The former judge is leaving the Commonwealth on Dec. 16. He will be moving to the vicinity of Seattle, Washington.
For Bellas, more important than his many professional accomplishments, is that he lived on Saipan longer than anywhere else in his life.
Bellas said he loves the islands not just because of their beauty, but also because they have been his home.
He has a daughter and now a grandson who was born on the island.
“I have made so many close friends here and it will be very hard to not see them every day. I am part of this community and it is part of me,” he said.
Bellas said he knows that people come and go through the Commonwealth, but that he would like to think that each person leaves behind some contribution.
As a lawyer, Bellas said he has tried to help other people; as a judge, to bring justice to those who need it; and as a member of the community, to give more than he has received.
He was a special judge and then associate judge of the CNMI Superior Court.
Bellas has served as a justice and judge pro tem of the CNMI Supreme and Superior Court since 2002.
He has been president of the CNMI Bar Association and chaired the CNMI Bar Association Disciplinary Committee for more than 10 years.
He was an assistant attorney general, registrar at the Registrar of Corporations, deputy legal counsel for the 4th House of Representatives, and the first chief legal counsel of the Legislative Bureau.
Bellas also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice as a staff attorney for the U.S. Trustee’ Office for Guam and the CNMI.
He chaired the Garment Oversight Board from 2003 to 2008.
Bellas said it will not be easy leaving but he is hoping that he will get to come back occasionally.