Steven P. Pixley wants to withdraw as counsel for inmate Reynaldo A. Manila, who is suing several Department of Corrections’ officials and officers.
Pixley asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI last Thursday to issue an order permitting his withdrawal from representing Manila in this civil proceeding.
Pixley said based upon his review of documents, discussions with Manila, meetings with defense counsel, and legal research, he is unable to proceed with the representation of Manila in this case.
Manila claimed that he may be losing his vision due to the negligence of DOC. He filed an amended complaint naming as defendants former DOC commissioner Georgia M. Cabrera, former DOC commissioner Robert Guerrero, and former acting DOC commissioner Jose K. Pangelinan.
Manila filed pro se (or without a lawyer) the amended complaint following U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona’s order that found his complaint not frivolous.
Cabrera has asked the court to order Manila to clarify his lawsuit against her and other DOC officials and officers.
Cabrera, through counsel assistant attorney general Hessel Yntema, said presently she is at a loss and without guessing is unable to form a responsive pleading to Manila’s complaint.
Cabrera is currently the director of DOC’s civil division.
DOC, through OAG Civil Division chief Christopher M. Timmons, also filed a motion to dismiss DOC from the case and instead replace it with the CNMI government.
Timmons also asked the court to dismiss the suit, asserting that the Commonwealth is entitled to sovereign immunity against suits for damages that are brought in federal court.
Manila has sought help from the District Court after his eye surgery at the Commonwealth Health Center in September 2017 was allegedly unsuccessful and that he is worried he is losing his vision.
Manila, now, 56 years old, has been serving 17 years of the 60-year prison term.
The Superior Court sentenced Manila in June 2002 to 60 years in prison for second-degree murder over the death of his 6-month-old goddaughter.
A jury found Manila guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse.
Manila has insisted that he did not kill the child.