Superior Court associate judge Joseph N. Camacho has rejected as too lenient a plea deal that the government offered to a repeat offender who, while on probation after serving eight years in jail for rape and other charges, allegedly broke into a house and stole some items.
“This is not the defendant's first time. Defendant has failed to learn from his eight years of incarceration,” said Camacho in rejecting the plea agreement signed by the government and defendant George Blas Cruz Jr.
The judge said he is not convinced that merely 29 percent of Cruz's possible sentence of 34 years is an effective deterrent.
“The court finds the severity of the act warrants greater retribution and incarceration. The jail sentence under the proposed plea agreement fails to conform to the standards of this court and the CNMI community,” Camacho said in a written order issued on Wednesday.
The judge set the jury trial for April 8, 2013.
The Office of the Attorney General charged the 31-year-old Cruz with burglary, theft, criminal contempt, and disturbing the peace.
Camacho said if defendant were convicted of all the charges under the new case and sentence consecutively, he would be looking at 12 years in prison.
Camacho noted that Cruz, a repeat offender, is presently on probation after serving only eight years out of 30 years for rape, kidnapping, and robbery in 2003 and 2004 cases.
Cruz was recently released from the Department of Corrections.
The judge said Cruz was again arrested regarding an incident on or about Aug. 12 to 13, 2012, in which he allegedly committed burglary and theft “in the middle of the night while the victims were home, an invasion of the victim's privacy and sanctity of the home.”
Under the proposed plea deal, Cruz seeks to plead guilty to burglary and will be sentenced between four years to 10 years behind bars. The government agreed not to revoke the 22 years suspended sentence from the defendant's prior case.
Camacho said 10 years out of the total amount of possible 34 years sentence is barely 29 percent.
Camacho is known for rejecting lenient plea deals and for imposing full maximum sentences.
Assistant attorney general Chemere McField represented the government. Assistant public defender Matt Meyer served as counsel for the defendant.
According to police, on or about Aug. 12 to 13 on Saipan, Cruz broke into a house and stole a Samsung phone and an Ipod.