Convicted child molester Patrick Mendiola Calvo is challenging his conviction and eight-year prison sentence with an appeal filed with the CNMI Supreme Court.
The Board of Parole just heard Calvo’s application for parole on Wednesday; he will be informed of the board’s decision by Monday.
The victim, her family, and the Office of the Attorney General strongly opposed Calvo’s petition for parole. They pointed out that Calvo is not remorseful and is sorry only because he was caught.
Based on court records, the 51-year-old Calvo actually wants a new jury trial.
Court records show that Calvo, through counsel George Anthony Long, filed the appeal in the CNMI Supreme Court on Jan. 8, 2014. The government filed its response on May 2, 2014.
In Calvo’s appeal, Long asserted that prosecutorial misconduct during cross-examination of his client warrants a new jury trial in count 1 sexual assault in the second degree and count 2 sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.
Long said that Calvo should have been acquitted on count 1 as the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that forceful coercion and/or threats of death or injury were used to gain the victim’s consent.
Long said Calvo’s conviction of count 3 sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree and count 4 disturbing the peace should be vacated and the case remanded for a jury trial as the bench trial on those charges was a violation of his client’s Sixth Amendment rights.
The lawyer added that resentencing is necessary as parts of the sentencing order are illegal or contrary to Commonwealth law and the sentence imposed constitutes an abuse of discretion.
In the government’s response, assistant attorney general Teresita J. Sablan said the high court should affirm the judgment on all counts, and remand for resentencing for the limited purpose of imposing the seven-year probation term as part of a suspended period of incarceration or fine.
Sablan said the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Calvo’s motion for a mistrial.
Sablan said it was proper for the prosecutor to ask the victim and a witness “were they lying” questions as part of cross-examination.
Sablan said even if the “were they lying” questions are deemed improper, it was harmless error.
Sablan said the trial court’s denial of a jury trial for counts 3 and 4 does not warrant a new trial on those counts.
“The bench trial was proper and consistent with the statute governing jury trial rights, and did not infringe on any of Calvo’s constitutional rights,” she said.
Sablan also argued that the evidence was sufficient for the jury to find a reasonable doubt that the victim did not consent to sexual contact with Calvo.
She said a reasonable jury could have found that Calvo used physical force, an implied threat, or constructive force to coerce the victim to engage in sexual contact.
The government lawyer said Calvo’s term of imprisonment of eight years and term of probation of seven years did not exceed the statutory maximums.
Sablan said Calvo did not receive multiple punishments for the same offense; he received multiple punishments for separate offenses.
In September 2009, a Superior Court jury found Calvo guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 2008. On May 27, 2010, Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja sentenced the then-47-year-old Calvo to eight years in prison for sexual assault in the second degree, eight years for sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, five years for sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree, and six months for disturbing the peace.
This means that the businessman should serve a total of eight years in prison for all charges.
Naraja required the defendant, to perform, among other things, 1,500 hours of community service, register as a sex offender, submit to HIV testing, and seek clinical psychiatric evaluation treatment.