Zarones pleads no contest


After all the motions that led to the appointment of a special prosecutor, the scheduled bench trial yesterday in the traffic case of Chief Solicitor James M. Zarones came to a halt, with the defendant pleading “no contest.”

Zarones pleaded nolo contendere or no contest to the case, charging him with failure to yield to the right of way to another motorist.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho accepted Zarones’ plea and ordered him to pay the maximum $25 fine plus $10 in court costs for a total of $35.

Zarones entered a no contest shortly after Camacho denied his motion to dismiss the case.

Attorney Matthew Holley, the court-appointed special prosecutor, said he was ready for the trial and that he has two witnesses—Sgt. Juan Mendiola who issued the citation and the driver of the other vehicle. Both witnesses were in the courtroom.

A plea of nolo contendere or no contest means a defendant admits no guilt for the offense, but the court can determine the punishment. The purpose of the plea is often to avoid being sued civilly for essentially confessing to an offense.

Camacho on Friday appointed Holley as special prosecutor.

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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