U. S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted yesterday a motion to vacate the convictions of Jesus S. Palacios on five charges. An ex-convict in Guam, Palacios was found guilty last month of all charges filed on Saipan for possession of two guns and 27 bullets.
Manglona vacated Palacios’ convictions on two counts of felon in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition, and three counts of unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition.
Manglona, however, ruled that Palacios’ sentencing will proceed on March 24, 2014, at 1:30pm.
Manglona issued the order after Palacios, through counsel Mark Scoggins, moved to vacate his convictions on five charges on double-jeopardy grounds.
Manglona said the six counts charge the defendant with a single instance of unlawful firearms and ammunition possession under two different sections of the law.
The judge said Palacios asserts, and the U.S. government agrees, that under these circumstances only one conviction may enter.
Last Dec. 4, the jury returned a guilty verdict against the 52-year-old Palacios on all six counts.
The filing of the indictment arose from an incident in April 2013 when police arrested Palacios for allegedly beating up his wife in front of their child and pointing a gun at her head when she refused to give him money.
The then 4-year-old boy told police that he witnessed the beating of his mother and that he also saw his father smoke “ice” and has four guns.
Police learned that Palacios was arrested in Guam in 1997 and was charged with murder, manslaughter, and possession of a gun without an ID. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter.