Camacho rejects co-defendant’s plea deal
Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho handed down a sentence of 23 years and 10 months in prison against an ex-convict for kidnapping and beating up a drinking partner but rejected a separate proposed plea agreement for the man’s co-defendant.
At a change of plea hearing on Friday, Camacho accepted Joy Fred’s guilty plea and sentenced him to the full maximum of 28 years and 10 months imprisonment, with five years suspended, for kidnapping.
The 24-year-old Fred will serve the 23 years and 10 months without early release or work release but he will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years in prison.
For violating the terms and conditions of his probation in a previous criminal case, Fred was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison, to be served concurrently with his sentence in the kidnapping case.
This means that Fred’s total prison term in the two cases is 23 years and 10 months, with credit for time served.
Fred was ordered to pay restitution to the victim, Willie Lee Brundidge Jr., in an amount to be determined at a separate hearing.
After completing the prison term, Fred will be placed on 10 years of probation. He was required to pay a $500 fine, perform 300 hours of community service, and not possess or consume alcohol while on probation.
Assistant public defender Matthew Meyer served as counsel for Fred.
The Office of the Attorney General had charged Fred with kidnapping, conspiracy, aggravated assault and battery, theft of vehicle, and disturbing the peace.
If convicted of all charges, Fred was facing a possible consecutive two life sentences plus 11 years and six months in prison, Camacho said. By pleading guilty to kidnapping and probation violation, the OAG dropped the remaining charges.
Camacho noted that Fred has a prior conviction for attempted robbery and disturbing the peace in two cases.
As for Fred’s co-defendant, Titomir Kapileo Bhuiyan, Camacho found the proposed plea agreement offered by the government to be too lenient and rejected it.
It was the second proposed plea deal offered to Bhuiyan. The new proposed deal recommended a sentence of 19 years in prison, all suspended except for 16 years.
The OAG had charged the 21-year-old Bhuiyan with kidnapping, assault and battery, theft of vehicle, and disturbing the peace. If convicted of all charges, Bhuiyan faces a possible life sentence plus two years and six months in prison, Camacho said.
Camacho noted that Bhuiyan has a prior conviction.
“The people of the CNMI deserve to have a safe community. There can be no justice without the appropriate punishment,” he said.
In particular, the judge said, there have been a rash of unsolved murders and disappearances of people in the past few years that have left the CNMI community worried and concerned.
Camacho said the prison sentence in the proposed plea agreement fails to conform to the standards of the court and the CNMI community. He said the proposed deal is silent and does not restrict parole, probation, and other early release.
If the court were to accept this plea deal, Camacho said that Bhuiyan would be eligible for work release or weekend furlough immediately.
He said Bhuiyan would also be eligible to be released on parole after serving only four years in prison.
Camacho said he asked the counsels to at least state any mitigating (or aggravating) factors that would explain to the court why these terms are fair and just. He said the explanation given did not resolve the court’s concerns.
He said per the rules the court can not enter into negotiations with the parties, but does require at least an explanation in order to determine if the terms are fair and just.
Camacho said the court did its best to impress upon counsels its concerns, but the counsels seem to fail to fully address that issue of not just the length of sentence (which is a factor) but the actual sentence to be served.
Assistant attorney general Chester Hinds appeared for the government. Attorney Daniel Guidotti served as counsel for Bhuiyan.
While drinking, Fred and Bhuiyan allegedly beat up Brundidge, put him in a car and went to another location, where they continued beating and hitting him. The victim managed to escape by shouting for help. Police said Brundidge suffered a fractured on the right eye and needed to be seen by another doctor. His right eye was swollen. The incident happened from Nov. 29 to 30, 2014.