The Government notes that the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands filed the present motion solely on behalf of employee Dolores M. Aldan, presumably because she acted in her official capacity and her interests may conflict with those of the other witnesses. To the Government’s knowledge, no counsel has entered an appearance on behalf of the other witnesses. Because the Attorney General filed the initial motion to extend in the name of the C.N.M.I., presumably on behalf of all subpoenaed witnesses, the Government relies upon the Attorney General as the only known counsel of record for service of this response on the remaining witnesses, in accord with Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(b), and Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(b)(1).
The evidentiary hearing now set for February 17, 2010 is an acceptable use of this power as it is necessary and appropriate in aid of the Court’s jurisdiction, specifically its authority to detain persons charged with federal crimes and to prevent unauthorized contacts with those detainees.
The purpose of the evidentiary hearing is to discover and record the existence, or non-existence, of prejudice to the Government’s case. It will also serve to disclose and record the existence, or non-existence, of prejudice to defendant Cheng’s due process and/or civil rights. In short, it will either provide a clean record upon which the prosecution of Cheng may proceed without obstacle, or it will provide a basis for motions or actions brought by Cheng. As of the date of this filing, there is no evidence on the record – only unsupported assertions of counsel. There is no testimony, no sworn statements, no physical evidence. The Government believes an evidentiary hearing is an appropriately cautious measure to make such a record.
Granted, information revealed during the evidentiary hearing may conceivably prompt the Court, the Government, or an interested third-party, to initiate contempt proceedings. Such proceedings may be criminal in nature, to vindicate disobedience to the Court’s lawful order, or civil, to compel obedience to its orders going forward. In either case, witness Aldan’s concerns regarding judicial involvement in a criminal investigation are not relevant. Indeed, in contempt proceedings it is the judiciary that requests appointment of government attorneys (or outside counsel if the interests of justice require) to prosecute in aid of enforcing judicial orders. Fed. R. Crim. P. 42(a)(2). Nor do protections afforded by a grand jury necessarily apply to contempt proceedings. United States v. Marthaler, 571 F.2d 1104, 1105 (9th Cir. 1978). Importantly, however, in either an evidentiary hearing or a contempt proceeding, the witnesses will have the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self incrimination.
The response requests that the motion to vacate the evidentiary hearing and quash subpoenas be denied.
I assume that the Court could, and hopefully will, find those involved in removing a prisoner against the Court's order of jailing the prisoner without bail, in contempt. If the incident is determined to have violated federal law, hopefully criminal charges will be brought to hold those involved accountable, and to set an example to the community that laws are meant to be followed. To date no apology or statement of acceptance that the incident was a breach of public trust or abuse of office has been issued.
One of the arresting officers who asked not to be identified, said Qingmei Cheng, the 28-year-old masseuse at YuYu Spa, was booked for solicitation of customers sometime between March and June 2009.
The source said Cheng was ordered released even before she could be brought to the police station for questioning.
“It’s frustrating for politics to come into [our line of work]. One phone call and she was released even before she could be interviewed by an investigator. We were told she was going to massage the governor,” the source said.
Cheng’s arrest for solicitation should have been recorded by the Department of Corrections but the source said he wouldn’t be surprised if the incident was expunged from official documents.The comments made by Commissioner Aldan to the Saipan Tribune yesterday indicate that she may not be capable of making sound decisions regarding the operations of the jail. The fact that her husband is given furlough is questionable. I am surprised that the AG didn't ask her to remain silent. Her remarks and flippant attitude appear to have only damaged her further.