U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has granted the request of former U.S. Army Reserve member Jordan M. Jucutan to remain free while his appeal over his conviction and sentence is pending.
In an order on Friday, Manglona agreed with Jucutan that it is “fairly debatable” whether his offenses come under the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act.
Manglona said there has been a spate of prosecutions across the country arising from recruitment fraud schemes in connection with Docupak’s administration of Army and National Guard recruitment programs.
Docupak is a private company that was hired to administer the Army Reserve Recruiting Assistance Program.
The judge said the defendants have frequently brought motions to dismiss, but the lines of attack have not all been the same and the district courts have not been uniform in their grounds for denying the motions.
Manglona said she is unaware of any controlling precedent on point in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Last May 26, a federal jury reached a unanimous verdict, finding Jucutan guilty of four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft, in connection with the scheme to defraud the Army Reserves Recruiter Assistant Program.
Last Oct. 13, U.S. District Court for the NMI Senior Judge Alex R. Munson, who presided over the trial, sentenced Jucutan to two years and four months in prison.
He is to report to the U.S. Marshal’s Service on Nov. 14, 2016, to start serving his prison term.
Jucutan, through counsel David Banes, appealed to the Ninth Circuit to have his conviction and sentence reversed.
Jucutan moved for his continued release pending his appeal. The U.S. government did not oppose Jucutan’s motion.
In granting Jucutan’s request, Manglona said she finds by clear and convincing evidence that Jucutan is not a flight risk or a danger to anyone in the community and that he has no history of violent behavior or drug use.
Furthermore, the judge said the appeal raises a substantial question of law that, if the court of appeals finds in Jucutan’s favor, will result in reversal.
Manglona previously recused from presiding over the case because of a conflict involving Jucutan’s then-counsel Pamela Brown.
Because Jucutan now has new counsel, Banes, for the appeal of this case, Manglona reassigned the matter to herself.