Prison News

March 9, 2010

Governor Fitial announced that the federal government is seeking to pay the CNMI government a lower rate for use of the $20.9 million adult prison facility that was funded in part by federal funds. The current informal agreement between the federal and CNMI governments expires in April and calls for the federal government to pay $77 a day to house federal prisoners.

The Saipan Tribune reported:
Fitial came back to Saipan on Monday from Washington, D.C., where he attended the National Governors Association and met with federal officials on a host of issues.

He said Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs Tony Babauta also expressed concern about the negotiation with ICE, but he said he will try his best to expedite the execution of the agreement.

“My concern is only the rate. If they agree to the rate that we offered, then we will have a contract,” Fitial said in an interview right after the ribbon cutting ceremony for two new buildings at the Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School in San Roque yesterday morning.

ICE could not be immediately reached for comment.

Fitial referred additional questions about the negotiations to acting Corrections Commissioner Ray Mafnas. As of press time, Mafnas had yet to respond to specific questions, including the amount currently being paid by ICE to the CNMI government for the use of the prison, and the new rate they want to pay.
Why wouldn't the federal officials want a lower rate? In January a federal prisoner who was ordered by the judge to be held without bail was released from the facility to give the governor a massage. They should negotiate more than the fee. They should also set new policies to ensure that the rights of prisoners are protected.

Villagomez and Santos Couple Want to be Released on Bail
Former Lt. Governor Timothy Villagomez, his sister Joaquina Santos and her husband James have filed documents requesting to be released from federal prison pending their appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court.

The 14-page Request for Release Pending Appeal and Exhibit A were filed March 2, 2010. From the document:
This motion is based on 1) clear and convincing evidence that defendants are neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community; and 2) the existence of a substantial appellate issue —
The motion was Filed by Attorney Dennis Riordin on behalf of all defendants.

In October 2009 U.S. District Court Judge Alex Munson ruled that convicted felons former Lt. Governor Timothy Villagomez , his sister Joaquina Santos and her husband James should not be released from prison pending their appeals.

From the order denying the motion:
Defendants argue that the following issues on appeal present fairly debatable questions of law or fact that will result in a reversal or an order for a new trial: (1) whether the jurors in this case were biased; and (2) whether the Court erred when it did not conduct an evidentiary hearing regarding the alleged biases. The Court considered both issues in depth when it entertained Defendants’ motion for a new trial and found that Defendants failed to fulfill their burden of proof to show either: (1) actual or implied bias of any of the seven or more allegedly biased jurors; or (2) that there was any credible support for the alleged dishonesty of the allegedly biased jurors to support the need for an evidentiary hearing. (See Order Denying Defendants’ Motion for a New Trial, Docket # 297.)

Defendants present no new evidence or arguments and have asked for an expedited ruling on the instant motion. Accordingly, having already thoroughly investigated the law and facts, the Court finds that there is not a “substantial question of law or fact” on appeal and hereby adopts and incorporates the analysis and findings in its order denying Defendants’ motion for a new trial in support thereof.
Timothy Villagomez was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for his involvement in the Rydlyme corruption scandal. His sister, Joaquina Santos and her husband, James Santos were sentenced to six years and six months in prison each for their involvement in defrauding CUC and the federal government.

Former Lt. Governor, Timothy Villagomez, remains incarcerated in the United States Penitentiary in Tuscon, Arizona until December 17, 2015. That is a high security facility. He was initially assigned to the Federal Corrections Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Joaquina Santos will spend the next six years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, which is a low security facility for female prisoners. Their web-site says the facility is located 20 miles southeast of Oakland on the Camp Parks Army Reserve Forces Training Area Military Base.

James Santos, husband of Joaquina Santos, was originally assigned to Victorville Federal Penitentiary in Adelanto, California, then was confined at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is now at the Atwater, California Federal Penitentiary.


Anonymous said...

I see FCI Dublin, CA is hiring. Some of our younger Department of Corrections offficers may want to consider applying to work there for the BoP.

The cost of living in that area is high, but one can commute from Stockton, CA or Hayward, CA.

If some of our foreign national workers get status, maybe they could apply, too.