Ex-convict found not guilty of stealing cop’s cell phone

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho yesterday acquitted an ex-convict accused of stealing a government-issued cell phone belonging to a police sergeant.

During a bench trial, Camacho found Hilario T. Angui not guilty of theft because the Office of the Attorney General failed to prove an element of the crime-the value of the cell phone.

The judge cited a previous court decision stating that when a particular fact-whether it is considered an “element” of a crime or a “sentencing factor”-exposes a defendant to a greater punishment, then the Sixth Amendment requires a jury to find it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Camacho also determined that the testimonies of the police officers were different from their police report.

Assistant attorney general Darren Robinson prosecuted the case. Court-appointed counsel Richard W. Pierce served as counsel for the 29-year-old Angui.

The prosecution called to the witness stand the alleged victim and two other police officers and a civilian. The defense did not call any witness.

According to the charging information, Angui stole Police Sgt. Joe Saures’ government issued Samsung Galaxy Fit S5670L-with a value of less than $250-on March 19, 2012, on Saipan,

Police detective Jonathan SN. Decena stated in his report that, on March 19, 2012, at 10:22pm, two police officers went to Tokyo Club in western Garapan to pick up Saures’ cell phone from Hun Jin An. Saures left the cell phone at the club.

The responding officers were told that Angui, who was sitting with An’s friend in the club, stole the cell phone.

An’s friend allegedly saw Angui take the cell phone from the table and walk out of the club.

That same night, police officers spotted Angui near Rui Jin Store in western Garapan and arrested him.

Police said the suspect stated that he thought the cell phone belonged to An.

Angui pleaded not guilty.

By Ferdie de la Torre

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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