IN SEN. MANGLONA’S SUIT VS SIBLINGS
Superior Court Pro Tempore Judge David A. Wiseman denied yesterday to admit into evidence the report of handwriting expert Reed C. Hayes, who had testified as the expert witness of Sen. Paul A. Manglona’s (Ind-Rota) siblings.
Wiseman said he will base any determination on the signatures based on the testimony of Hayes, not the Hayes report, “which is merely a demonstrative aid.”
Wiseman said the Hayes report is similar to the slide presentation that the court received during Hayes’ testimony—it is a demonstrative exhibit that helps organize the various data points under consideration.
At a bench trial last February, Hayes testified that the signature in the deed of gift of land to Paul Manglona does not match his mother’s other signatures.
Paul Manglona is suing his siblings over a 4,181-square meter property on Capital Hill. The senator asked the court to declare him the owner of the property by virtue of the 1985 deed of gift.
Priscilla Manglona Torres and Thomas A. Manglona, co-administrators of the estate of their late mother, Bernadita A. Manglona, asserted that their brother, Paul Manglona, does not inherit the disputed land as their mother’s signature in the document had been forged.
In his rulings yesterday, Wiseman said it is undisputed that the discussion of the handwriting exemplars and resulting conclusions contained within the Hayes report are hearsay, and therefore would generally be barred.
Yet, Wiseman said, Torres, Thomas Manglona and co-defendants argue that that the Hayes report can still be admitted.
The judge said while the Hayes report cannot be admitted into evidence, it can still be used by the court as a demonstrative exhibit.
Wiseman said at the February trial, the parties stipulated to the exemplars in the Hayes report and therefore the report serves as a useful guide for organizing the various signatures for comparison purposes.
However, he said, the analysis and conclusions of the report are not admissible and will not be considered by the court.
In the same order yesterday, Wiseman denied Paul Manglona’s siblings’ motion to admit into evidence the declaration of their late father, Prudencio T. Manglona, dated April 10, 2014.
Wiseman ruled it is evident that the Prudencio T. Manglona’s declaration is hearsay that falls outside any recognized hearsay exception.
Wiseman said Paul Manglona did not wrongfully cause Prudencio T. Manglona’s unavailability to testify.
Wiseman said Prudencio T. Manglona passed away before he could testify regarding the dispute over the Capital Hill property, but nonetheless his prior declaration is inadmissible hearsay, which does not fall within the scope of the NMI Rules of Evidence.
The declaration states that it was Prudencio T. Manglona and Bernadita A. Manglona’s intention to leave the Capital Hill property to all their children in equal share.
On the other hand, Wiseman denied Paul A. Manglona’s motion to admit into evidence the Prudencio T. Manglona’s affidavit dated Dec. 10, 2013.
Wiseman said the affidavit is almost identical to Prudencio T. Manglona’s declaration in that it purports to detail Prudencio’s understanding as to who owns the Capital Hill property.
The judge said the affidavit differs from the declaration in that the affidavit claims that Paul A. Manglona has owned the property since 1985 when his mother, Bernadita, executed a deed of gift in his favor.
Wiseman said the affidavit takes the exact opposite position of the later time Prudencio T. Manglona’s declaration.
However, Wiseman said, like the declaration, the affidavit is hearsay that does not fall within one of the recognized exceptions.
In objecting to admit the affidavit into evidence, Torres and Thomas A. Manglona claim that the affidavit lacks reliability because Paul Manglona admitted during his testimony that the affidavit was signed by their father while he was hospitalized and in medical distress.
The trial was suspended after Wiseman heard attorney Samuel Mok’s motion for judgment for partial findings.
Mok, who is counsel for siblings Priscilla A. Torres and Thomas A. Manglona, made the motion shortly after attorney Mark Scoggins, counsel for Paul Manglona, informed the court that they rest their case after the senator completed his testimony.
Wiseman asked the parties to submit their briefs about the issue no later than May 4, 2018.