Camacho opposes amending charges to include strangulation
Rep. Vicente Camacho (D-Saipan) has opposed the amended charges filed against him, specifically the addition of aggravated assault and battery and strangulation, saying it would transform the case into a felony.
Camacho, through his lawyer, Michael White, has filed a memorandum in opposition of the prosecution’s recent motion to amend the complaint filed against him to include aggravated assault and battery and strangulation, which would essentially turn the offense into a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
According to White, the prosecution’s request to amend the charges against Camacho is impermissible because the proposed amendment from misdemeanor assault and battery to felony aggravated assault and battery is essentially not an amendment but rather an additional offense.
“Amendment of a criminal information is governed by Rule 7(e) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. That rule provides, in pertinent part: ‘The court may permit an information to be amended at any time before verdict or finding if no additional or different offense is charged.’ The charge of felony aggravated assault and battery, as set forth in count I of the proposed amended information, is different from the original charge of misdemeanor assault and battery. The charge of strangulation, as set forth in count Il of the proposed amended information, is an additional offense not charged in the initial information. Accordingly, the proposed amendment is impermissible, and the Commonwealth’s request to amend the information must be denied,” he said.
White also argued that the proposed addition of strangulation cannot succeed as a matter of law.
“Count Il of the proposed amended information would charge defendant Camacho with strangulation, in violation of 6 CMC $1468(a)(1). That provision is actually a definition. The crime of strangulation is defined in 81468(b) as follows: ‘Any person who willfully and unlawfully strangles or attempts to strangle a household member is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than seven years.’ In order to obtain a conviction under 6 CMC $1468(b), the Commonwealth would have to prove that defendant Camacho strangled or attempted to strangle a household member. The proposed charge must fail, because defendant Camacho and the alleged victim are not household members” White explained.
White said the Commonwealth also suggests that Camacho and the alleged victim fall within “adults or minors who are related to each other up to the fourth degree of consanguinity” as defined by the charge. However, White states, in order for there to be consanguinity, there must be a blood relationship.
“Wikipedia defines consanguinity as ‘the characteristic of having a kinship with another person (being descended from a common ancestor).’ The Commonwealth does not allege, and in fact simply cannot prove [this] because it is not true, that Camacho and the alleged victim have a common ancestor, at least within the fourth degree of consanguinity.” the lawyer said.
So, White, said, because the crime detailed requires the government to prove that Camacho strangled or attempted to strangle a household member, and Camacho and the alleged victim are not household members, the Commonwealth is unable to prove its case under any circumstances.
“In summary, the Commonwealth is precluded from amending count I and adding count Il of the proposed amended information, because the government failed to file the amendment to within the time proscribed by the case management order, and because such amendments are precluded by Rule 7(e). Additionally, the government has failed to allege, and simply cannot prove, that Camacho strangled or attempted to strangle a household member, which is a prerequisite for a conviction under count II of the proposed amended information,” he said.