Citing that the Office of the Attorney General has not filed new charges and there are no other matters pending in court, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho gave the go-ahead Wednesday to return the $100,000 bail that former Department of Public Safety commissioner James Patrick Camacho Deleon Guerrero and former police officer Jesse Anthony Salas Concepcion had posted.
Camacho also ordered that all bail conditions imposed on both men to be lifted and exonerated.
Camacho said any passport and other monetary and property bail shall be returned to Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion.
The court previously imposed a bail of $100,000 each on Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion. The court also imposed restrictions on the two such as house arrest, surrendering passports, staying away from the alleged victim, among other things.
Camacho noted that assistant attorney general Teri Tenorio did not oppose the defendants’ motion to exonerate.
Last month, the CNMI Supreme Court denied the government’s petition to order the Superior Court to reinstate the charge of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree against Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion.
The high court also denied the government’s request for the justices to order Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja to recuse Camacho from the case.
In the high court’s decision, the justices said they find Camacho’s determination logical.
Camacho presided over the case. In 2016, Camacho dismissed without prejudice the charges against Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion. That means the OAG may re-file the charges.
Camacho earlier ruled that the government failed to prove essential elements that Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion committed sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree; that the government has produced no evidence that Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion conspired to have sex with a minor; and that the government presented no evidence that the alleged offense occurred.
Instead of re-filing new charges, OAG chose to file a petition for a writ of mandamus before the CNMI Supreme Court.
At the motion to exonerate hearing last Wednesday, Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion appeared with their counsel Matthew Holley and Charity Hodson. Tenorio appeared for the government. Tenorio was not the counsel for the government during the preliminary hearing in this case.
In granting the motion, Camacho said pursuant to CNMI Supreme Court rules, a party has 30 days to file a petition for a rehearing if the party wishes for the high court to reconsider its ruling.
“The 30-day deadline has passed and no petition for rehearing has been filed with the CNMI Supreme Court,” Camacho pointed out.
The judge noted that the failure of the case at the preliminary hearing stems from the OAG filing one type of sex crime and then calling witnesses to testify about another type of crime.
Camacho said the OAG does not know the necessary elements to prove probable cause for the crime of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree.
Camacho said OAG’s first failure is that there was no testimony that the alleged victim knew the defendants were police officers, or that they used their position of authority to force or pressure the alleged victim to having sex.
In a nutshell, the judge said sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree requires the element of position of authority in relation to the victim.
Camacho said it means that the government must show that Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion used their position of authority to accomplish the sexual abuse.
Camacho said three witnesses testified, and not one witness gave any testimony that the alleged victim knew that Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion were police officers.
The judge said if the allege victim did not know that Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion were police officers, that position of authority cannot be used in relation to the girl.
Camacho also noted that there was no testimony of any other indication of position of authority as police officers.
“For example, no police vehicles were used, no police uniform, no police radio, no other type of identification that would have been at a minimum an indication of position of authority as police officers,” the judge said.
Camacho said that during the 2016 preliminary hearing, he asked if the prosecutor was proceeding with any charges of prostitution, but the prosecutor stated that OAG did not wish to file any prostitution charges.
Camacho said OAG’s failure is their strange and bizarre flawed logic of “transferred babysitter” status to customers of prostitution.
The judge said because the OAG filed incorrect charges not supported by the testimony of three witnesses, OAG resorted to using a strange and bizarre flawed logic.
He said the prosecutor argued that Annette Basa, the madam/procurer of prostitution, was acting like a babysitter.
He said the prosecutor argued that when Basa dropped off the girl to Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion for purposes of prostitution, somehow Basa “transferred her babysitter status” to the two customers.
Camacho said Webster defines babysitter as one who babysits, which is defined as caring for children usually during a short absence of the parents.
He said babysitters are typically family or family friends, who look after and supervise younger siblings or other children.
He said babysitters can also be people paid to care for children.
Camacho said Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion are customers who allegedly paid Basa to have sex with a prostitute, the alleged victim.
“The defendants are not babysitters,” the judge pointed out.