U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted Thursday last week the request of Steven P. Pixley to withdraw as counsel for Reynaldo A. Manila, who has been in prison now for 17 years and is suing some Department of Corrections’ officials and officers.
Manglona granted the motion after hearing Pixley’s explanation and without objections from the Office of the Attorney General, which is the counsel for DOC officials and officers.
Government lawyers Christopher Timmons and Hessel Yntema told court they had no position for or against the motion, according to the minutes of the hearing.
In his motion, Pixley said he is unable to proceed with representing Manila based upon his review of documents, discussions with Manila, meetings with defense counsel, and legal research.
Manglona told Manila that he may still proceed without a lawyer.
Manglona gave Manila until Oct. 24 to respond or to file his opposition.
Manila moved for another attorney, but Manglona denied his motion and noted that she had already decided on this matter.
The judge told Manila that the matter will be decided on the briefs, and if there is anything else needed, the court will indicate it in a written order and he will be informed.
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 the amended complaint following Manglona’s order that found his complaint not frivolous.
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 a 60-year prison term. He was sentenced 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 insists he did not kill the child.