Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio has denied the request to modify the bail of Jing Song Lin, a 52-year-old store owner who pleaded guilty to the charge that he inappropriately touched a 13-year-old girl in 2012.
In an order last week, Kim-Tenorio said she recognizes that Lin has been a resident of the CNMI for over 20 years but she is not convinced that he does not pose a flight risk.
She noted, though, that nothing in that statement reassures the court that a defendant who has already been found guilty, is awaiting sentencing and subsequently facing deportation will not succumb to the temptation to flee the CNMI.
Moreover, Kim-Tenorio said, the fact that Lin is a man of means further supports the idea the idea that he might be a flight risk.
The judge said while defendant’s motion states a lack financial wealth to abscond from the Commonwealth, his ability to make alternate living arrangements and borrow $15,000 for bail—even though he has been imprisoned for the last two years –suggests otherwise.
Lastly, Kim-Tenorio said, even if Lin does not have the financial wealth to flee the CNMI, there is no condition of release that would prevent him from accessing substantial funds through his business and personal contacts.
Second, Kim-Tenorio said, she is not convinced that Lin does not pose a danger to the community.
Here, the judge noted, Lin pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree.
Specifically, she said, Lin admitted to making inappropriate sexual comments to a 13-year-old girl, sticking his hand down her shirt, grabbing her breast, and touching her buttocks in broad daylight.
These action, the judge said, exhibit a bold, depraved, and opportunistic character that in and of itself poses a danger to this community and the fragile youth.
Moreover, Kim-Tenorio said, in considering the danger Lin poses to the community, the court cannot ignore the threat his release places on the victim’s mental, physical and emotional well-being.
According to the Commonwealth, the victim continues to suffer trauma and the victim’s father is willing to testify against Lin’s release.
Lastly, Kim-Tenorio addressed defense counsel Robert Tenorio’s concerns regarding access to Lin to prepare for sentencing.
The judge said she acknowledges counsel’s concerns; however, there is nothing that prohibits the counsel’s ability to confer with Lin at the Department of Corrections.
Kim-Tenorio ordered the Office of Adult Probation to prepare an expedited presentence investigation report to be due no later than Nov. 25, 2016.
Kim-Tenorio set Lin’s resentencing for Dec. 6, 2016 at 9am.
Assistant attorney general Matthew Baisley appeared for the government.
According to court records, police arrested Lin in July 2012. The court then imposed a $60,000 cash bail for his temporary release.
On Oct. 13, 2013, Lin pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the government dismissed the charges of assault and battery, disturbing the peace, and sexual assault in the second degree.
The matter was subsequently assigned to Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho for sentencing. On March 28, 2014, Camacho imposed the maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.
Attorney Viola Alepuyo later entered her appearance as counsel for Lin. Camacho recused himself from the case as Alepuyo is his wife.
Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja reassigned the matter to Kim-Tenorio.
Last July, Lin, through Alepuyo, moved for reduction of sentence, arguing that the court failed to provide specific findings how the maximum sentence imposed would serve the interests of justice.
Alepuyo cited several factors such as the financial and emotional hardship on Lin’s family, his remorse and acceptance of responsibility, his payment of $80,000 to the victim’s family to settle a civil lawsuit, and the girl’s father’s subsequent lack of opposition to leniency.
Ultimately, Kim-Tenorio denied Lin’s motion for reduction of sentence.
Lin then appealed to the CNMI Supreme Court. The high court concluded that the sentencing court’s decision was an abuse of discretion for lack of sufficient individualization and failure to explain why the extended restriction on Lin’s parole eligibility is warranted.
The high court vacated the sentencing court’s sentence and remanded this matter for resentencing.
Last Oct. 6, Lin, through Torres, moved the court to modify his bail condition and grant his release to a third-party custodian, his wife, upon posting of a supplemental cash appearance bond of $15,000 pending resentencing.
The government opposed the motion.