OAG wants $100K bail for Murphy


The Office of the Attorney General wants a $100,000 cash bail for retired Army reservist Michael Barry Murphy if the Superior Court grants Murphy’s request to hold a preliminary hearing in his second sexual abuse of a minor case.

Assistant attorney general Betsy Weintraub wants Murphy’s bid for a preliminary examination be denied “as the case does not substantially deprive” the 54-year-old Murphy of his liberty.

If not, the court should set a $100,000 bail on Murphy so that he has a legitimate right to a preliminary examination, Weintraub said.

Defense counsel Janet H. King asked the court for a preliminary hearing so that Murphy can obtain information regarding the charges against him and file a bill of particulars—a list of written statements made by a party to a court proceeding, upon demand of another party in the case that seeks for more details of a claim or defense.

Murphy is currently out in the other criminal case after posting a $50,000 bond. In that case, the government accused him with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, for allegedly sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl on Aug. 6, 2016.

The government summoned Murphy to appear in court and answer the charges in the second case. King then requested the court for a preliminary hearing in the second case.

Preliminary hearing refers to a court proceeding to determine if a defendant should be tried for the crime charged based on whether there is substantial evidence that he/she committed the offense.

In opposing the motion for preliminary examination, Weintraub said the court should deny the request because Murphy is not “substantially deprived of his liberty.”

Weintraub said in the second case, Murphy was never arrested as the government served him only with penal summons.

Weintraub said neither the U.S. Constitution nor the CNMI Constitution provide the right to a preliminary examination to an individual who has been charged through penal summons and information.

The prosecutor said the purpose of a preliminary examination is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused committed it.

Weintraub said the case has had no effect on Murphy’s liberty as he was never arrested and is not under any bail conditions for these charges.

In this second case, the government charged the defendant with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, and one count of indecent exposure in the first degree. The incident allegedly happened from 1994 to 2004 when the victim was a minor. The victim is now 26 years old, according to court documents.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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