Michael Anthony Jackson, a 39-year-old ex-convict facing charges of kidnapping and raping a minor, claims that the police's search on his car was unlawful and that the Superior Court should suppress all evidence obtained from the vehicle.
In opposing the motion, the Office of the Attorney General argued that the search complied with the first three requirements of the law.
Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho placed the matter under advisement.
Assistant public defender Daniel T. Guidotti, counsel for Jackson, asserted that the search on the suspect's silver 1997 Honda Civic violated his constitutional right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures under the U.S. and CNMI constitutions.
“This search warrant is simply defective, entirely defective,” Guidotti said.
He said police officers were hunting for evidence of drug use and that was beyond the scope of the search warrant.
Guidotti asserted that the Oct. 13, 2012, search warrant is constitutionally defective because it fails to state the things to be seized.
He said the searchers seized a number of Jackson's personal effects and removed entire parts of the vehicle, including the front passenger seat, the passenger door visor, most of the passenger door, and a piece of carpet from the passenger side of the vehicle.
Guidotti said the CNMI Constitution provides that “no warrants shall be issued except upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”
He said in circumscribing the particularity requirement, the U.S. Supreme Court requires that a description of the things to be seized in a search warrant leave “nothing.to the discretion of the officer executing the warrant.”
In the government's opposition, assistant attorney general Nicole Driscoll said the warrant was based on probable cause, supported by a sworn affidavit, and described the place to be search with particularity.
Driscoll said the search was not general rummaging but one targeted to obtain evidence of the specific crimes.
Driscoll said police detective Melisa Bauleong did not merely rely on her own notions of what was necessary for a warrant, but also checked with the Attorney General's Office to confirm its sufficiency.
The OAG charged Jackson with kidnapping, sexual assault in the first degree, and assault for the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl on Saipan on Oct. 9, 2010.
Police said the girl was walking along Tun Joaquin Doi Road in Finasisu on her way to her residence at 1am on Oct. 9, 2010, when Jackson forced her into his car.
Jackson allegedly brought the girl to the open field south of the Saipan airport bunkers where he allegedly raped her inside his vehicle.
After the rape, the defendant also allegedly forced the minor to smoke “ice.” The victim later managed to run away. Police arrested Jackson that night.