Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio stated yesterday that assistant attorney general Betsy Weintraub’s unprofessional conduct and violations of the Model Rules of Professional conduct were not isolated incidents but kept occurring during the litigation of the case against Michael Barry Murphy.
In a written order, Kim-Tenorio said the total weight of Weintraub’s lack of preparation and diligence had wide reach and directly affected several government agencies, the public, and the alleged victim and Murphy himself.
Accordingly, the judge said, the total weight of the violations supported imposing punitive monetary sanctions against Weintraub.
Weintraub was ordered to donate $500 to a non-profit organization on Saipan that is dedicated to helping sexually abused children.
Kim-Tenorio first imposed the sanction against Weintraub last Aug. 29 when she made the prosecutor explain her conduct in the Murphy case.
Weintraub had moved to drop the sexual abuse charges against the 54-year-old Murphy, with the option to re-file the case in the future. Kim-Tenorio granted the motion but criticized Weintraub for her lack of diligence and dilatory tactics.
In her written order yesterday, Kim-Tenorio said the imposition of sanctions complied with due process and was appropriate and that Weintraub failed to show sufficient cause why she should not be sanctioned.
Weintraub denied having a pattern of dismissing and re-charging cases, saying she has a reputation for being a fair and honest attorney. Kim-Tenorio was not persuaded.
Kim-Tenorio said that Weintraub’s response falls short of recognizing the total effect of several delays in the case to the victim, the defense, the Judiciary, as well as other involved agencies.
Second, the judge said, Weintraub’s argument that every continuance had been agreed to is false, citing Murphy’s motion to deny the government’s request to postpone the trial that was filed last March 7.
Third, Kim-Tenorio said, Weintraub demonstrates a pattern of bringing cases up to the point of trial unprepared and fails to address alleged prosecutorial harassment and attempt to circumvent court orders or deadlines.
Moreover, Kim-Tenorio said, despite Weintraub’s two-year tenure with the Office of the Attorney General, there are zero references that attest to her conduct or character as a prosecutor on Saipan.
Citing Weintraub’s conducts in this case, Kim-Tenorio said Weintraub failed to meet the minimum standard of competence, diligence, duty to expedite litigation, and conduct prohibiting misconduct under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.