The Supreme Court upheld a trial court order last July 22 denying defendant Ambrosio T. Ogumoro’s motion for release pending the outcome of his appeal.
Ogumuro was convicted of theft of services, conspiracy to commit theft of services, obstructing justice, criminal coercion, and five counts of misconduct in public office. He was sentenced to serve one year in prison.
Ogumoro argued he is entitled to release because there was insufficient evidence supporting his convictions for theft of services and conspiracy to commit theft of services and that several hearsay statements were not admissible as coconspirator statements.
Furthermore, he asserted the Commonwealth failed to establish that an investigator for the Office of the Public Auditor was a law enforcement officer and his failure to assist OPA in serving penal summons did not constitute misconduct in public office.
In his motion for review, Ogumoro asserted the trial court incorrectly denied his motion for release because he raised substantial questions that would result in reversal or a new trial.
Additionally, he claimed the trial court should have considered the potential that he may serve his short unsuspended sentence before the appeal is decided, effectively rendering his appeal moot.
The Supreme Court concluded that Ogumoro failed to raise substantial questions likely to result in reversal regarding his sufficiency of the evidence and hearsay arguments. As to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions for theft of services and conspiracy to commit theft of services, Ogumoro claimed that the testifying OPA investigator failed to adequately support her conclusion that the value of the armed escort Ogumoro allegedly appropriated exceeded $250.
The court disagreed, noting that the investigator clearly articulated the values, the defense did not challenge the bases of the estimated value on cross-examination, and the jury’s ultimate conclusion would be due deference on appeal.
Next, the court concluded Ogumoro’s hearsay argument failed to identify how the alleged hearsay statements related to any of his convictions. Thus, he did not establish he would be entitled to reversal of any of his convictions as a result of the error. The court determined the potential for mootness would not tip the balance in favor of granting release. The court noted that Ogumoro must demonstrate reversal would be likely for each of his nine convictions, but he failed to demonstrate substantial questions likely to result in reversal as to at least six.
Consequently, the court concluded Ogumoro did not meet his burden to establish he was entitled to release. The court’s full opinion is available at http://www.cnmilaw.org/supreme16.html.