Woman gets 5-year sentence in death of 3-year-old

A Corrections officer leads Stacey Laniyo from the court after a sentencing last Friday

A Corrections officer leads Stacey Laniyo from the court after a sentencing last Friday at the Guma Hustisia. (KIMBERLY BAUTISTA)

A woman found guilty of child abuse back in July for the death of a 3-year-old boy was sentenced Friday to five years in prison, all suspended except for time she has already served, which meant she was immediately freed after her sentencing hearing at the Superior Court.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho sentenced 37-year-old Stacey Laniyo to a five-year imprisonment term, all suspended except for the four months and five days she has already served. This means Laniyo was released from Department of Corrections custody following her sentencing.

“To the offense of child abuse as related to hitting the minor child with a broom, the court imposes the maximum sentence of five years. The first four months and five days to be served, with the remaining sentence suspended. Defendant is given credit for four months and five days already served,” Camacho said.

Aside from her imprisonment sentence, Laniyo was also sentenced to a term of probation for five years effective last Friday. If Laniyo violates any laws or rules while on probation, the court warns that her suspended sentence may be imposed in whole or in part.

In addition, Laniyo was ordered to serve 200 hours of community service, to submit herself to an evaluation by the Community Guidance Center, and was ordered not to be alone or unsupervised with any minor child under the age of 13 during her probation.

Camacho said the sentence imposed on Laniyo is appropriate for a number of reasons, including; deterrence, retribution, incapacitation, and rehabilitation, and that the sentence ensures that Laniyo will be deterred from committing a similar crime again.

“It is a specific deterrent as defendant will know not to commit any future crime. It is also a general deterrence as others will see this as a serious offense and will be deterred from such criminal activity,” he said.

As for retribution, Camacho said the sentence imposed was ample punishment for the crime and justice for the child has been served.

“Retribution is punishment for the sake of punishment. The sentence restores justice and balance in the CNMI community. The people of the CNMI will know and see that criminals are held accountable.

Lastly, Camacho said, the sentence allows rehabilitation for Laniyo, ensuring that she has and will continue to reflect on her crime. “After serving her sentence, the court recommended counseling and other conditions. The defendant will have the time to reflect and to be rehabilitated. The court weights all these factors and finds that with these particular set of facts and information that defendant is candidate for rehabilitation,” Camacho said.

Camacho allowed members of the child’s family to address the court during the sentencing hearing. The child’s family, in a compiled statement to court, said all they want was an apology from Laniyo following her sentence.

“We don’t wish anything bad for her. We actually wish the best for her. All we want is an apology from her. We forgive her,” the family said.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores 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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