Ex-Army Reserve Jucutan, wife testify


The federal court has placed under advisement Jordan M. Jucutan’s motion to suppress his confession and all prior statements made in March 2015 when he was interrogated by agents from the U.S. Army Reserve Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

After a two-day hearing held last Wednesday and Thursday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Senior Judge Alex R. Munson, who presided over the proceedings via telephone, said he would like to review the exhibits and all the evidence received before issuing his written decision.

Munson advised the parties to continue to prepare for the jury trial set for tomorrow, Tuesday, as if the motion will be denied and not that they will be denied.

Jucutan, a teacher and a former member of the U.S. Army Reserve, stated that agents from the Army Reserve CID and the FBI, interrogated him and subjected him to polygraph test without advising him of his constitutional rights.

Jucutan testified at his motion hearing on Thursday.

Jucutan is facing charges in federal court for allegedly stealing referral bonuses from the U.S. Army Reserve totaling $9,000 by fraudulently claiming that he recruited some potential soldiers and claiming the cash incentives for himself.

A second superseding indictment charged Jucutan with four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft. He pleaded not guilty.

At the hearing for defendant’s motion to suppress, assistant U.S. attorney Russell Lorfing, counsel for the U.S. government, called to the witness stand FBI special agent Joe Stranz, Army CID special agent Josh Kimrey, and Army CID polygraph examiner Elizabeth Smith.

Defense counsel Pamela Brown Blackburn called to the witness stand Jucutan and his wife, Danica.

In his declaration filed in court, Jucutan said every time he attempted to explain to a certain special agent and polygraph test administrator Smith that he hadn’t stolen anyone’s personal identification information, she would yell at him and say, “answer the question!”

“At this point, I was so panicked, confused, and agitated that I think I would have answered yes to anything even to being at the assassination of President Kennedy even though I wasn’t even born then,” he said.

Blackburn attached the declaration in support of defendant’s motion to suppress confession and all prior statements made in March 2015.

Blackburn asked the court to suppress Jucutan’s statement to Army Reserve CID investigators on March 31, 2015, as well as all prior statements made during CIB and FBI interrogation at the FBI office on Saipan on March 5, 2015, due to violation of defendant’s U.S. and NMI constitutional rights as guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment.

Blackburn asserted that the court should grant the motion to suppress Jucutan’s confession as involuntary under both U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit case law interpreting the U.S. Constitution, Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.

The U.S. government opposed the motion.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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