The Office of the Attorney General remains mum about the CNMI Supreme Court’s denial of the government’s petition to order the Superior Court to reinstate the charge of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree against former Department of Public Safety commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero and former police officer Jesse Salas Concepcion.
When asked about the government’s next move in this case following the high court’s decision, OAG’s public information officer Carla Torres said that Attorney General Edward Manibusan does not have any comments at this time.
Former assistant attorney general Matthew Baisley, who argued the case before the high court, have expressed disappointment with the ruling but more about why it took the high court so long to decide on the case.
“Really the most disappointing thing about the opinion is how long it took to issue,” said Baisley, who is now an associate at the BakerHostetler law firm in Denver.
Baisley recalled that the Office of the Attorney General filed the original petition in June 2016 and the high court issued its opinion only last Thursday.
“A two-plus year delay is hard to understand,” said Baisley.
In its ruling issued last Thursday, the CNMI high court also denied the government’s request for the justices to order Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja to recuse Associate Judge Joseph N. 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 found no probable cause as to the charges of conspiracy to commit sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree as the government has produced no evidence that Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion conspired to have sex with a minor.
Camacho also found no probable cause for the two counts of misconduct in public office as the government has presented no evidence that the alleged offense occurred.
The judge earlier also dismissed without prejudice the charges of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree filed each against Deleon Guerrero and Concepcion. He found that the government failed to prove essential element of the offense.
With Camacho’s ruling, the government then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus before the CNMI Supreme Court.