Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho yesterday denied the Office of the Public Defender’s emergency motion for the immediate release from jail of sex offender Juan C. Taitano.
Camacho said then-Superior Court Associate Judge Perry B. Inos’ oral pronouncement of the sentence in court is unambiguous and thus it is the correct sentence, rather than the written sentence prepared by the deputy clerk 10 months after the sentencing hearing.
Inos, who is now a CNMI Supreme Court associate justice, sentenced Taitano to 10 years imprisonment and is only eligible for parole after serving the first five years of his sentence.
Assistant public defender Matthew Meyer, counsel for Taitano, filed last week an emergency motion for the defendant’s immediate release from the Department of Corrections.
Meyer argued that since Inos’ written sentencing order suspended the second half of Taitano’s sentence, the defendant should have been released on March 7, 2015.
The government did not file a written opposition.
At a hearing on Friday, acting chief prosecutor Chester Hinds orally opposed the motion, directing the court’s attention to the audio record of the sentencing hearing.
Hinds argued that since Inos’ oral sentence stated that Taitano is merely eligible for parole after five years, the defendant is not entitled to immediate release.
Chief public defender Douglas Hartig appeared as counsel for the defendant at the hearing.
According to court records, Taitano was arrested on March 8, 2010. On Nov. 24, 2010, Taitano pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.
Inos issued a judgment and commitment order on Nov. 29, 2010. A sentence and commitment order was prepared by the deputy clerk and issued on Dec. 27, 2011, or 10 months after the sentencing hearing.