The former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner convicted for three felonies and six misdemeanors and slapped with a one-year prison term last March is already out in public for limited hours under the Department of Corrections’ work-release program, Saipan Tribune learned yesterday.
This means former DPS deputy commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro could be working an 8am to 5pm or 7am to 4pm shift like any other regular citizen, while having to serve his jail time at night and the morning before transfer to his work-release job site.
Multiple sources told Saipan Tribune yesterday that Ogumoro has been out “since last week” and that it was Corrections Commissioner Georgia Cabrera’s and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ “call” to allow the work release. However, other sources stressed the discretion to approve work release relied solely on Cabrera, as DOC commissioner.
Saipan Tribune failed to get more details from Cabrera as of press time. Sources first confirmed the work-release late afternoon yesterday.
The Torres administration, though, separately confirmed the work-release of Ogumoro, who was convicted, among others, for crimes of conspiracy to commit theft of services and theft of services and misconduct in public office, in an email to Saipan Tribune yesterday.
“Yes, Mr. Ogumoro submitted a request for work release on May 2 and DOC is required under CNMI law to approve or disapprove the request based on the offense, the court order, and the behavior of the prisoner while at DOC,” the Torres administration said.
“Mr. Ogumoro was granted work release based on Title 57 of the CNMI Code (section 57-20.1-1705 & section 57-20.1-1810).”
“Under these regulations, the work release program is considered as a “privilege and not a right.” Work release is also seen primarily as a rehabilitation tool in which “prisoners are prepared for re-entry into the community by providing them with job skills, experience, and contacts useful for employment upon release.”
“Importantly, any prisoner considered to be dangerous to the community or who presents a risk of escape or of committing any criminal acts while on work release is not eligible to participate in the work- release program,” it added.
Per CNMI law code, work release leave allows the prisoner to be absent from the facility for a specific number of hours every day in order to hold a job in the community. Participation in the work-release program is at the discretion of the chief of Corrections.
Corrections, per its current regulations, must take into account whether the prisoner is not likely to present a serious danger of escape or of committing criminal acts while on work release; work release assignments do not conflict with any disciplinary action or the prisoner’s general classification; the prisoner has requested participation and has specific reasons for participation that are consistent with the goal of his rehabilitation; the prisoner’s behavior during custody with the Department of Corrections has been deemed satisfactory by the Chief of Corrections and correction’s counselor; assessment of community reaction reveals that there will be no adverse impact on the inmate or members of the community, among others.
Ogumuro was entitled to a determination by Corrections as to his eligibility to participate in the work-release program within 60 days of the inmate’s written request, per DOC regulations.
If denied a request for work release, the DOC commissioner should specify the reasons for the denial in writing, and further specify what may be required for the inmate to qualify for work release in the future, per these regulations.
Last March, Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman slapped a one-year imprisonment sentence against Ogumoro for his conviction on three felonies and six misdemeanors, with three years probation.
“This court believes that a great harm to any society or community is corruption in any form,” Wiseman said then, “and especially in the form of a breach of the public trust that is vested in an employee or as in this case a high ranking official, an acting commissioner of DPS.
As to the crimes of conspiracy to commit theft of services and theft of services, defendant treated the time, money, and resources of the law enforcement personnel as his own private property and dispatched the good men and women who serve the community away from their duties to protect the public with the express purpose of breaking the law, Wiseman said. And as to the crime of misconduct in public office, Wiseman said Ogumoro’s acts demonstrated a flagrant display of abuse of authority.
Wiseman said that, on Aug. 13, 2012—when the CNMI Office of the Public Auditor filed criminal charges against former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham—Ogumoro participated in and actively interfered with the ongoing criminal process through his subordinates in DPS, and other members of the conspiracy.
Wiseman said Ogumoro carried out the unlawful desires and order of then-governor Benigno R. Fitial, now a convicted felon, with an elaborate plot to employ armed police officers to escort Buckingham to the airport in the early morning hours in order to avoid service of a penal summons.
“…the very definition of corruption is an official’s use of its office to procure some benefit either personally or for someone else, contrary to the rights of others,” Wiseman said in March.