Man’s bid for disturbing the peace charges to be dismissed is denied


Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman denied yesterday a motion to dismiss the charges against a man who allegedly insisted on seeing his children at the home of his former girlfriend in San Roque.

Wiseman deferred ruling on Joseph Jones Villagomez’s constitutional challenges to the information charging him with two counts of disturbing the peace until the matter goes to trial on March 4, 2015.

In considering the parties’ arguments, Wiseman said he finds that additional facts are necessary to properly rule on Villagomez’s vague-as-applied constitutional challenges.

The Office of the Attorney General charged Villagomez with two counts of disturbing the peace.

The OAG alleged that the defendant came to the residence of his former girlfriend during the early morning hours of Aug. 30, 2014, and knocked on her front door, causing her to be scared.

The OAG alleged that on the same day, Villagomez yelled profanities at his former girlfriend’s brother.

Villagomez, through assistant public defender Eden Schwartz, moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that the charge is vague when applied to the facts of the case.

Schwartz argued that a reasonable person in Villagomez’s position would not have known that arriving at a household member’s residence at an “inconvenient hour” and knocking on the door would result in criminal consequences.

Schwartz also argued that a reasonable person would not have known that yelling profanities and causing people to become angry would result in criminal consequences.

Schwartz also challenged the constitutionality of the disturbing the peace statute, saying the law is overbroad when speech—including political and symbolic speech—can result in a criminal conviction if it annoys another a person.

The government, through assistant attorney general Shannon Foley, argued that consideration of additional facts would cure any alleged due process violations.

Foley also pointed out that Villagomez was drunk and aggressively used an offensive term against the male victim.

Foley argued that the court should uphold the disturbing the peace law as constitutional because “this court has not experienced great difficulty applying the statute in the past…”

In denying Villagomez’s motion, Wiseman said the court, for good cause, may defer ruling on such a motion to dismiss until after a trial or until after the verdict so long as a party’s right to appeal is not adversely affected.

Wiseman also ruled that he is not persuaded by Villagomez’s argument that the statute is overbroad on its face.

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

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