Defense: Someone has to pay


The defense lawyer of a man who was accused of rape believes that the prosecutorial misconduct that resulted in the declaration of a mistrial in the case in February cost him over $1,000 in fees and someone has to pay it.

During a status conference for Manolo Romolor, a man who allegedly raped an intoxicated woman back in 2016, defense lawyer Bruce Berline filed a verbal motion for sanctions before Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto Naraja.

Berline, the court-appointed lawyer, told the court that the amount of time spent preparing and defending his client for a jury trial that ended in a mistrial last February depleted his legal fees.

“The prosecutor’s misconduct has wasted thousands and thousands of dollars of my fees so I am doing a motion for sanction because someone has got to pay one way or another,” he said.

Berline added that he could take on the case pro bono, but the government would still need to provide funding for legal services, like if an investigator is needed.

Bruce Berline

“I would like to make an oral motion. There’s no more money for fees. I might continue the case on kind of a pro bono if I can talk to my client about that but one thing I will need is services to be paid by the government… because he is still indigent,” he said.

Berline also mentioned that if the funding is not provided, the case would have to be returned to the Office of the Public Defender.

Assistant attorney general Samantha Vickery, who represented the government in the status conference asked if the defense would subpoena the prosecutor, Teri Tenorio, who was on the case previously.

However, Berline replied that it would not be necessary.

Tenorio is no longer with the Office of the Attorney General.

Naraja ordered Berline to submit an affidavit detailing the arrangement in place regarding his client’s legal fees and to file written motion for sanction.

Naraja scheduled a hearing for April 30, 2019, at 9am for any motion filed by the parties, including Berline’s motion for sanction.

Vickery and Berline, for their part, requested for trial transcripts.

“The only thing we would be asking is transcripts, we need transcripts,” Berline said.

Naraja told the lawyers that he will issue an emergency order for the production of transcripts.

Romolor’s new jury trial is scheduled for May 13.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at
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