Ex-convict gets 1 year in prison for stealing car and violating probation

An ex-convict was slapped with a one-year prison term for stealing a car from a residence in San Jose and for violating the terms and conditions of his probation.

Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa K. Kim-Tenorio last week sentenced Joshua James Torres Cruz to three years imprisonment, all suspended except one year, for the offense of theft of vehicle.

Cruz, 25, was given credit for time served of 106 days.

Kim-Tenorio sentenced Cruz to a total of six months of his suspended sentence for violating the terms and conditions of probation regarding his conviction in two prior criminal cases.

The judge said the sentences shall run consecutively with each other.

It means that Cruz shall serve a total of two years in prison, less 106 days.

After serving the prison term, the defendant will be placed on supervised probation for two years.

Cruz was ordered to pay $1,356.80 in restitution to the victim, Ruben Abris, a $100 fine, $25 in court assessment fee, probation fee in an amount to be assessed by the Office of Adult Probation, plus $300 in probation fee in his two previous cases.

Cruz was required to complete drug and alcohol counseling and write a letter of apology to Abris. He is prohibited from consuming any alcoholic beverages during the probationary period.

The Office of the Attorney General charged Cruz with theft of vehicle and two counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance.

OAG also moved to revoke the probation of Cruz in two criminal cases and one traffic case for violating the terms and conditions of his probation.

Cruz and counsel, assistant public defender Tillman Clark, signed a plea deal with the government.

Cruz pleaded guilty to the offense of theft of vehicle and admitted to violating the terms and conditions of his probation.

As part of the plea deal, the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges. The court granted the motion.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, Cruz stole Abris’ vehicle from San Jose Market on May 14, 2016.

Cruz admitted to violating the terms and conditions of his probation by failing to pay a $20 fine, $75 in court assessment fees, $360 in probation fees, and $900 in restitution. He also admitted to failing to perform 250 hours of community work service, and report to the Office of Adult Probation as ordered to do so.

Assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas appeared for the government.

Police traffic investigator Norris Kwon stated in his report that last May 14, a man called the Department of Public Safety that his gray 1992 Toyota Tercel two-door sedan with license plate ADU-972 was stolen from his residence in San Jose.

Kwon said during his interview, Cruz admitted to being in possession of the stolen car and drove the vehicle around for the past two days. Cruz further admitted to owning the marijuana plantation found next to his Federal Emergency Management Agency-issued tent.

Kwon said during his field test on the content of the clear ziplock bags found on the right passenger seat of the stolen car, it yielded presumptive positive for “ice.”

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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