Bid to charge Camacho with aggravated assault denied


Vicente Camacho

The Superior Court has denied the prosecution’s proposed amended information in the case of Rep. Vicente Camacho (D-Saipan), but instead encouraged the prosecution to file new information against the CNMI representative to charge him with a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

During a hearing last week on the prosecution’s motion and proposed amendments to the information filed against Camacho, Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo denied the motion to amend and instead suggested that Chief Prosecutor Chester Hinds refile the case, this time as felony charges.
Initially, Camacho and his co-defendants were charged with assault and battery and disturbing the peace—charges that are considered misdemeanors. However, last March, Hinds informed the court that the Office of the Attorney General is proposing to amend the initial information to charge Camacho instead with aggravated assault and battery, strangulation, and disturbing the peace—two of which are considered felonies.

Govendo said he finds the amended information to be prejudicial as it isn’t common for charges to grow from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Therefore, instead of amending the information against the defendants, the prosecution can refile new information, essentially filing a whole new case against the defendant, the judge said.
Camacho, 61 is accused of assaulting Steven Koch on Oct. 29, 2021, near his residence in Chinatown.
According to Hinds’ motion to amend the information filed against the defendants, Hinds said it is in the best interests of the Commonwealth to amend the information to charge Camacho with aggravated assault and battery, strangulation, and disturbing the peace.

“After careful review of the evidence, additional investigation conducted by the OAG and Department of Public Safety, the Commonwealth, now asserts that the information filed on Nov. 10, 2021, must be amended to reflect the actions of the defendants on the night of Oct. 29, 2021,” he said.
Hinds stated that Koch suffered serious body and psychological injuries due the actions of the defendants and the information should be amended to reflect those actions.

“Koch, as evidenced by his medical records and examinations, has sustained serious bodily/psychological injury, after the night of Oct. 29. On the night of this incident, Koch was punched multiple times and [Camacho] pinned his knee on Koch’s neck, causing him to lose consciousness. The defendant’s actions in this case created a high probability of death and other bodily/psychological injuries,” Hinds stated.

The prosecution also informed the court that Koch’s injuries could not be determined within the first weeks after the incident.

“According to Dr. Norma S. Ada, in a letter dated Nov. 2, 2021, Koch was diagnosed with a concussion as a direct result of the incident. Since the incident, Koch’s symptoms have persisted. Koch has memory loss. He also developed anxiety and could not sleep without reliving the incident. Also, as a result of being hit multiple times and losing consciousness, Koch has developed vision issues and an inability to focus, which has caused him to have a hard time to walk straight, because of a loss of balance and coordination. Koch has felt the effects of these injuries for months and some injuries are still being endured,” Hinds said.

The lawyer also alleges that Camacho pinned his knee on Koch’s neck, impeding normal breath or circulation, causing an inability to breathe for Koch, which may have rendered him unconscious.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at
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