Judge Camacho denies cop’s motion to postpone trial


Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho yesterday denied a motion to continue the Oct. 7, 2016 bench trial of George Ayuyu Barcinas, a Rota police officer facing domestic violence charges.

Camacho said the vacation plans of Barcinas’ counsel, assistant public defender Tillman Clark, will have to be adjusted as it does not outweigh everyone’s preparation and readiness to proceed with the bench trial.

Clark filed the motion to continue bench trial yesterday, or three weeks before trial citing various reasons, including that he is going on a vacation.

Camacho ordered that the bench trial currently set for Oct. 7 at 9am at the Rota Courthouse shall proceed.

The judge said the defense counsel has three weeks to prepare for the trial, or have someone in the Office of the Public Defender prepare for the trial.

At the pretrial hearing last Wednesday, Clark appeared as counsel for Barcinas, while assistant attorney general Shannon Foley came as counsel for the government.

Camacho said the parties informed the court that there was no issue as to the discovery, witnesses, and exhibits and are ready for trial.

Camacho said he then ordered the parties to inform their witnesses of the trial date and to make advance travel, hotel, and car reservations to avoid any delays.

In defendant’s motion to continue, Clark said he is sole attorney for Barcinas for the entirety of this case and that he will be off-island for this date.

Clark said Barcinas has developed a strong attorney-client relationship with him and that the defendant will be prejudiced by having another attorney fill his spot on short notice.

The defense counsel said given that the Office of the Public Defender is currently short-staffed by one attorney, finding such coverage is more difficult than it might normally be.

Clark said there is a festival on Rota the weekend after the trial setting, which makes it exceedingly difficult to find accommodation than it might be on another date.

In denying the motion, Camacho noted that Oct. 7 is the regular Rota docket and as Clark handles the regular Rota docket he knows these dates.

“This is not a surprise as these dates are set well in advance,” Camacho said.

The judge also noted that there is another bench trial currently set for Oct. 7 at 10:30am at the Rota Courthouse, involving alleged misuse of government vehicle.

Camacho said the defendant in that traffic case is also being represented by OPD.

Camacho pointed out that he has repeated on numerous hearings that cases on Rota are set well in advance because of the logistical challenges.

The judge said Clark is and was well aware of the trial date.

Camacho said the court, staff, prosecution, and witnesses have all been preparing for the trial.

The Office of the Attorney General alleged that on June 5, 2015 on Rota, Barcinas pinned his wife to the ground and placed her in a headlock. He allegedly grabbed his wife’s keys from her car’s ignition against her will preventing her from leaving his property.

Barcinas also allegedly used physical force to struggle with and prevent the victim from calling law enforcement after she informed him of her intention to do so.

The bench trial of the 35-year-old Barcinas on charges of assault and battery, disturbing the peace, and interfering with a domestic violence report was initially set for March 4, 2016.

Before the scheduled bench trial could begin on March 4, Barcinas, through counsel Clark, orally moved to dismiss the case due to destruction of evidence.

Barcinas later filed his motion to dismiss for destruction of evidence. The government opposed the motion.

Camacho then vacated the bench trial and set an evidentiary hearing and motion hearing at the Rota Courthouse last June 20. The judge subsequently denied the motion to dismiss.

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

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