Zarones: OAG’s defiance results in delay of trial


Chief Solicitor James M. Zarones, who has signified his intention to leave the Office of the Attorney General, has asked the Superior Court to dismiss the traffic case filed against him, asserting that the OAG Criminal Division’s defiance of a court order has resulted in an unnecessary delay in bringing him to trial.

Zarones also filed an opposition to the OAG Criminal Division’s emergency motion to reconsider Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja’s order that directed the OAG to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the traffic case filed against him. He said the emergency motion is frivolous.

In his motion to dismiss, Zarones who is representing himself, argued that the traffic infraction must be dismissed because he is no longer being lawfully prosecuted.

Zarones pointed out that the OAG’s Criminal Division failed to appoint a special prosecutor on or before Nov. 7, 2016, as Naraja had ordered.

Therefore, the chief solicitor said, as of Nov. 8, 2016, assistant attorney general Jonathan Robert Glass Jr. and all other assistant attorneys general were deprived of their authority to prosecute him.

Zarones asked the court to dismiss the case.

Had the OAG’s Criminal Division complied with the court’s orders, then the matter may have been settled some time ago, Zarones said.

As it is, Zarones said he has been, and continues to be, deprived of a prosecutor who has the lawful authority to settle the case, provide discovery, or take any other action on behalf of the government.

Zarones said the OAG’s Criminal Division seeks to place itself above the law, while simultaneously laying claim to its mantle of constitutional authority.

“All of this for what is normally a $25 fine. The Criminal Division’s actions are illegal, unconstitutional, and unethical,” he said.

In his opposition to the OAG Criminal Division’s emergency motion, Zarones said if assistant attorney general Jonathan Robert “Robby” Glass Jr. felt that Naraja misunderstood the government’s position in this matter, then he was free to say so at the time.

Zarones said Glass did not say so because there was no misunderstanding.

Zarones said the motion was not filed within the time limit; it did not provide the court with the applicable standard of review; and it did not meet the standard of review.

Moreover, he said, the motion is factually inaccurate and is easily disproven by the text of the transcript during the hearing before Naraja.

Glass has insisted that the OAG can continue to prosecute the case against Zarones.

Glass said no motion for recusal or disqualification of the OAG has been made and no hearing has been held which would disqualify the OAG from prosecuting the matter.

Zarones, who is a lawyer employed with the OAG, is accused of violating 9 CMC Section 5352(a) or failure to yield the right of way to another motorist. The traffic citation was issued by a police officer on Oct. 5, 2016.

Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho set a hearing on defendant’s motion for bench trial for today, Thursday, at 1:30pm.

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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