Ogumoro’s motion to quash charges is denied once more


Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman yesterday denied former Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner Ambrosio T. Ogumoro’s motion to reconsider the court’s previous order that dismissed five of the eight corruption charges filed against him.

Wiseman ruled that Ogumoro has not met his burden to show that the court is compelled to rule on the merits on his pre-trial motion to dismiss.

“The court does not find good cause to depart from its previous rulings on his statute of limitations defense,” the judge said.

In his motion to dismiss, Ogumoro, through counsel Mark B. Hanson and Benjamin Petersburg, objected to the criminal charges contained in the two counts of removal of government property, alleging that prosecution of these misdemeanor charges did not commence within one year under the statute.

Ogumoro also argued that prosecution of the criminal charges in one count of conspiracy to commit theft by deception, and two counts of removal of government property must be dismissed because simultaneous prosecution of these charges violate the Double Jeopardy Clause.

The Double Jeopardy Clause protects an individual against multiple punishments for the same offense.

Last June 23, Wiseman denied the motion to dismiss in its entirety the three charges of misconduct in public office, and two counts of removal of government property.

The three other charges are theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, and theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

In the June 23 order, Wiseman noted that the government’s prosecution of Ogumoro’s case commenced on March 23, 2015, when an arrest was executed.

Ogumoro then sought reconsideration of Wiseman’s ruling that his statute of limitations defense was not decided on its merits at the pre-trial stages of the criminal prosecution.

Hanson and Petersburg argued that the court erred in ruling that the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense.

Hanson and Petersburg also argued that contrary to its ruling citing Lundstedt case, the court may segregate the evidence for determining whether the statute of limitations bars prosecution of those counts other than the three counts of the second amended information.

In denying Ogumoro’s motion for reconsideration, Wiseman noted that in his Nov. 23 ruling, he cited a precedent case for the proposition that the court may not grant a motion to dismiss on an indictment if the motion is “substantially founded upon and intertwined with evidence concerning the alleged offense.”

Wiseman cited two reasons why Ogumoro’s argument does not meet the Eguia standard.

In Eguia’s case, the CNMI Supreme Court held that the standard for a motion to reconsider in a criminal case is equivalent to Rule 59(e) of the Commonwealth Rules of Civil Procedure: “an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.”

First, the judge said, Rule 12(e) of the Commonwealth Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that the court, for good cause, may order that a motion made before trial be deferred for determination on the general issue or until after the verdict, so long as it does not impair a party’s right to appeal.

Second, Wiseman said, Ogumoro has not shown that the evidence necessary to determine whether the statute’s tolling provision is entirely segregable from the evidence to be introduced at trial.

He said he found that it was necessary for the government to show that Ogumoro was a public official as an element of the charges contained in the three counts of the second amended information.

Assistant attorney general Matthew C. Baisley served as counsel for the government.

A second amended information charged the 57-year-old Ogumoro with eight counts relating to theft by deception, misconduct in public office, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, removal of government property, and theft by unlawful taking.

The second amended information also charged Ogumoro’s co-defendant, Herman M. Manglona, with conspiracy to commit theft by deception and receiving stolen property.

The trial will be on March 14, 2016.

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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