The U.S. District Court for the NMI has granted the request of an inmate who was recently denied clemency by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to reopen court proceedings in his lawsuit against the Department of Corrections.
District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted Price Shoiter’s request asking the District Court for the NMI to enforce the parties’ previous settlement agreement or to vacate the dismissal order that would reopen the proceedings in his case against DOC.
Manglona stated that the previous dismissal order will be set aside and the matter is now reopened and will be placed back on the court’s trial calendar.
The judge ordered both parties to submit a proposed scheduling order within 21 days and to return to court on March 10, 2022, at 1:30pm for a case management conference.
In her order, Manglona stated that because the previous settlement agreement was contingent on the governor granting Shoiter clemency and he was denied that, the agreement is now null and void.
“The Settlement Agreement in this case explicitly provides that ‘this settlement agreement is contingent on the governor’s approval of [Shoiter’s] application for conditional clemency.’ Had this condition not been a part of the agreement, it is unlikely Shoiter would have entered into the agreement. Because clemency is an express consideration of the agreement, the governor’s denial of conditional clemency for Shoiter makes the agreement null and void for lack of consideration. Thus, the court finds that extraordinary circumstances exist warranting
the setting aside of its dismissal order and grants Shoiter’s request to reopen the proceedings,” she said.
In addition, DOC and its officials have also violated the terms of the settlement agreement because Shoiter has allegedly yet to be a paid a cent from the agreed lump sum that he was supposed to receive upon his departure to Chuuk.
“The parties agreed that Shoiter would be paid a lump sum amount upon his departure from Saipan to Chuuk. To date, no payment has been made—a patent violation of the settlement agreement. Based on this alleged violation, the settlement agreement alternatively allows the court to retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement,” Manglona stated.
Back in 2016, Shoiter, 74, was sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment term for sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl. Then in 2020, he filed his suit against DOC.
In February 2021, the parties executed the settlement agreement that was contingent on the governor’s approval of Shoiter’s application for conditional clemency.
However, on Dec. 3, 2021, defendants announced that the governor had denied Shoiter’s application for conditional clemency.