Judge: 90-day jail term for habitual offender too lenient


Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho has found too lenient the government’s proposal to impose a 90-day prison term on a repeat offender who is accused of punching and biting his girlfriend.

In rejecting the proposed plea deal yesterday, Camacho said a 90-day prison sentence has no rehabilitative effect in light of Denmar Malabanan’s past criminal cases.

He said Malabanan did not learn from his past cases or past criminal convictions.

“Taking into consideration defendant’s past criminal cases, a 90-day jail sentence also fails to have any deterrence or retribution effect,” the judge said.

The Office of the Attorney General charged the 27-year-old Malabanan with assault and battery and disturbing the peace for allegedly beating and kicking his girlfriend, leaving her with bruises on her face, a bleeding nose, bite marks on her shoulder and other injuries.

The beating arose because Malabanan allegedly did not want his girlfriend to move out of his home last Sept. 13.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of one year and six months in prison.

The proposed plea agreement—hammered out between Malabanan’s counsel, assistant public defender Tillman Clark, and assistant attorney general Emily Cohen—would have Malabanan pleading guilty to assault and battery.

In rejecting the proposed deal, Camacho said its terms basically allow Malabanan to again escape serving any significant prison time. He said this would send the message that repeat offenders can continue to break the law because they will not face any lengthy jail sentence.

Notwithstanding the court’s rejection of the proposed plea deal, the judge said that Malabanan is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

A bench trial set for Oct. 26, 2015, will proceed.

Last February, Malabanan was slapped with a 17-day prison term after he pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. He was given credit for 17 days of time served.

Malabanan was also charged with sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree in 2010.
In 2007, the defendant pleaded guilty to robbery.

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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