San Nicolas withdraws request for evidentiary hearing

Former Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board member Eric Henry Cruz San Nicolas has withdrawn his request for an evidentiary hearing in his traffic case.

According to court documents, San Nicolas filed a motion to compel discovery and asked for an evidentiary hearing last Dec. 18, 2018.

On Feb. 5, 2019, San Nicolas, through his lawyer, Jean Pierre Nogues, withdrew the motion and the request but maintained the motion to suppress evidence resulting from what he contends was an “illegal” traffic stop.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, San Nicolas, through his lawyer, cited the 4th Amendment and 14th Amendment of the U.S. and CNMI Constitutions to ask the Superior Court to suppress all evidence arising from the traffic stop in Koblerville.

Police officer Rudolpho Hermosilla Jr. had cited San Nicolas for driving while under the influence of alcohol and refusing to submit to a breath test.

In San Nicolas’ motion to suppress, Nogues said that, according to a report by Hermosilla himself, Stephanie Borja told the Department of Public Safety on July 28, 2018, at 1:30am that her cell phone and car keys had been stolen by her boyfriend, San Nicolas.

Nogues said Borja also alleged that San Nicolas was drunk at the time, gave a license plate for her car, and indicated she lives along Tinaktak Drive in Koblerville.

Nogues said that, according to Hermosilla, he was parked on or near Tinaktak Drive at 3:24am that same day when he saw the vehicle that Borja had reported.

Nogues said the vehicle was moving along Tinaktak Drive.

Nogues said the officer made a violation stop of the vehicle. It appears, the lawyer said, that the sole basis for the “violation stop” was Borja’s allegations made two hours earlier that San Nicolas had “stolen” her car keys and “was intoxicated.”

After San Nicolas was stopped, he was then arrested for DUI.

Nogues said the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The defense counsel said the CNMI has incorporated these same rights through Article I, Section 3 of the CNMI Constitution.

Nogues said the officer cited San Nicolas only for traffic violations and not for theft, nor did the officer’s report indicate seeing San Nicolas drunk or driving recklessly.

“The sole basis for the stop appears to be the accusations allegedly made by Stephanie Borja two hours earlier,” Nogues said.

He said a hearsay allegation that a person was drunk is not a basis to pull over a vehicle.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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