Court urged to exclude gory photos of crash victim


A pastor of the Good Church who was driving the Toyota Sienna van that crashed into a power pole in As Perdido Road, killing a woman who was 5 months pregnant in June 2014, has asked the Superior Court to exclude the gory and gruesome photos of the victim during the trial.

Chang Hee Nam, 58, through counsel Steven Pixley, asked the court in the alternative to limit the number of photos that will be shown at trial.

Pixley said Rule 403 of the Commonwealth Rules of Evidence provides that the court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of undue prejudice.

“The photographs…of the victim are gory, gruesome, and revolting,” Pixley said.

The photos, the lawyer pointed out, appear to depict substantially the same scene and that the multiple photographs add nothing in the way of probative value.

“Therefore, they present a danger of unfair prejudice to Mr. Nam,” said Pixley, referring to 10 photographs of the victim, Hong-Mei Sung.

Pixley said while the introduction of one or two such exhibits may be permissible under the Rules of Evidence, the use of 10 photographs that have inflammatory potential is excessive or repetitious and the probative value of such evidence is eclipsed by the tendency to prejudice the jury.

At the time of the accident that happened on June 22, 2014, at 11am in As Perdido Road, Nam was transporting four individuals from San Antonio to attend the Good Church in Kannat Tabla.

The Office of the Attorney General charged Nam with homicide by vehicle, reckless driving, speeding, operating a vehicle with passengers not using a passenger restraint system, and operating a vehicle with a child passenger not using a child passenger restraint system.

Police said the van, occupied by five persons, was traveling east when it lost control by the curve and crashed into the pole.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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