CEC certifies candidacies of 4 in special polls

Defense says OAG picks and chooses which rules to follow


The Office of the Attorney General picks and chooses which rules to follow in contravention of its duty to pursue justice, among other things, according to assistant public defender Heather M. Zona, who is counsel for a man charged with sex abuse of a minor.

Zona asked the Superior Court on Tuesday to strike the OAG’s reply to Joseph Seman Epina’s opposition to a motion hearing, saying it was filed late.

Zona pointed out that in an order setting a motion hearing before Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho last Feb. 4, the judge ordered Epina to file any opposition on or before Feb. 8.

She said Camacho ordered the government to file its reply on or before Feb. 11.

Zona said Epina complied with the order, but the government did not.

In fact, she said, the government brief states it was filed and served last Monday, but the court stamp indicates it was not filed until last Tuesday at 1:56pm.

Zona said she was served with the government’s brief last Tuesday.

“This is not the first instance where the Commonwealth has elected to disregard deadlines,” she said.

The 44-year-old Epina is facing charges of raping a then-12-year-old girl inside her relative’s house on Saipan on March 12, 2016. The girl told police it was not the first time he had sexually assaulted her.

The OAG charged Epina with sexual assault of minor in the first degree, assault and battery, and disturbing the peace.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.