Ex-lawyer’s petition to be reinstated found deficient


The CNMI Supreme Court has found Joseph A. Arriola’s petition to be reinstated so he can again practice law in the CNMI deficient.

That resulted in oral arguments in Arriola’s petition that were scheduled this Thursday to be taken off the court’s calendar.

In an order last Thursday, the justices said that Arriola’s petition to be reinstated as a practicing lawyer in the Commonwealth does not conform with some requirements.

Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro and Associate Justices John A. Manglona and Perry B. Inos said that a petition for reinstatement must comply with NMI Rules of Attorney Discipline and Procedure Rule 19(c) and include, among other requirements, a list of the names and address of people who received restitution; a statement that the petitioner has paid all fines or costs; and a copy of the petitioner’s character and fitness application.

The justices said that Arriola’s petition does not include such prerequisites.

In September 2010, the Superior Court disbarred Arriola from practicing law in the CNMI. The same order said that, before being admitted to practice law, Arriola “shall take and pass the CNMI Bar Exam, including the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.”

Last July 13, Arriola filed the petition for reinstatement. The high court then set the matter for a hearing supposedly this Thursday, Feb. 8.

Arriola’s disbarment came as a result of his conviction in federal court for pleading guilty in 2010 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.

In October 2010, he started to serve his 58-month prison term. He was required to pay $625,775 in restitution with co-defendant, Luis K. Pelisamen.

In his petition, Arriola promised that, if given the chance to practice law anew, he is committed to maintaining the same efforts toward rehabilitation that he has made since 2010.

He vowed to continue his public advocacy in drug awareness and prevention, particularly in both private and public schools.

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

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