Habitual offenders, watch out!


Rep. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) has introduced a bill to penalize habitual criminal offenders in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 19-109 implements a penalty provision into the law for repeat offenders. It notes that repeat criminal offenders are a proven and problematic issue in the CNMI, and a threat to the community, tourists, and businesses.

The bill amends the Commonwealth Code to read: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person who is convicted in a court of the Northern Marianas Islands shall be punishable by imprisonment of no less than 15 years if the person has been convicted (and those convictions have become final) on separate prior occasions in a court of the Northern Mariana Islands of two or more theft, burglary, and/or robbery convictions. The sentence shall be suspended if the person decides to leave the Northern Mariana Islands and not return for the duration of the sentence as ordered by the court.”

“Repeat offenders must be punished pertinently,” the bill states.

“Some convicts find prison to be a place of convenience. Some convicts constantly commit crimes for reasons such as they are given a free place to sleep along with free food to eat. These individuals are taking advantage of taxpayer dollars for selfish and unreasonable reasons.

“This type of attitude must not be tolerated and proper measures must be implemented to deter this type of behavior from continuing.”

The bill also notes that the addition of new inmates can be costly to the CNMI government. Also, the limited capacity in correction facilities may not be able to accommodate an influx of repeat offenders, the bill says.

The bill is cited as the “Northern Marianas Three Strikes Act of 2015.”

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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