OAG: 220 new criminal cases in 2015


The CNMI Office of the Attorney General has released it calendar year 2015 report, detailing case statistics and restructuring of office divisions to meet goals set by Attorney General Edward Manibusan in his first year in office as the CNMI’s first elected attorney general.

Among other case statistics, the report notes, under “new cases” “criminal” cases, that there were 118 felony cases and 102 misdemeanor cases under the category of “criminal” cases in the NMI.

Some 99 cases were juvenile cases and 2,773 cases were tallied under traffic.

For cases received by location, Saipan tallied 2013 cases; Rota tallied 16, and Tinian 34.

Cases by offenses were split up into crimes against person, which lent itself to 74 cases under family violence, and 40 cases under general crimes.

There were 57 property crimes cases, according to the report, 25 cases over drugs, 12 for crimes involving sexual assault, seven for public corruption, one each involving firearms offense and customs offense, and three under miscellaneous and misdemeanors.

The AG also arrived at 110 guilty pleas, five jury/bench trial convictions, labeled 82 cases as pending, tallied 20 dismissals, and six acquittals.

The report also highlighted the AG’s creation of the Solicitor’s Division said to improve the management of its appellate practice, streamline the review and commenting of pending legislation.

Since the establishment of the division, the report said, the following has occurred in 2015: drafting an appellate manual to ensure Commonwealths’ appeals are handled in uniform manure in accordance with procedure; draft new procurement regulations to “increase transparence” in government contracting and save on millions of dollars.

“This will include the creation of a procurement handbook to guide government officials in the drafting, routing, monitoring, and enforcement of government contracts,” the report said.

The division also regular research and commented on bills before the Legislature.

“To this end, the OAG carefully scrutinizes every bill proposed by the Legislature or placed before the Governor,” the report said.

The AG report also highlights the re-establishment of the Consumer Protection Division in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor last August.

“The office received a slew of complaints of price gouging,” the report said.

The division has since engaged in a media campaign o deter business from taking advantage of the community after the disaster; received 33 formal complaints and 20 informal, most of which were resolved informally, while others are under investigation.

The report notes that Manibusan entered into a cooperative agreement with the attorney general of Guam, Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, to enhance consumer protection efforts.

“Through this collaborative effort, the Attorneys General was able to meet with a top-level executive at United Airlines regarding the abysmal service provided in our region and the discontinuation of complimentary meal service on the Honolulu-Guam route.”

The report also assures that the division will be increasing enforcement of consumer protection laws by conducting regular inspections of retail establishments to ensure compliance with the Consumer Protection Act, among others.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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