Legal News

June 21, 2010

More Moves at the OAG
Assistant Attorney General William Downer is leaving the Office of the Attorney General to return to California. There will be only four prosecutors left in the office.

Rosemond Santos, who resigned as chief prosecutor last Friday, said that she will be working at Captial Hill, but still within the OAG.

New U.S. Attorney for Guam and the NMI
Alicia Limtiaco was sworn in at the District Court of Guam as the new U.S. Attorney for Guam and the NMI replacing Leonardo Rapadas.  She is the first Chamorro female U.S. Attorney for Guam and the NMI.

From the Pacific News Center:

Rapist Caught 

It seems like every few days there is news of another child abduction or rape in Saipan, and this horrible crime seems to be reaching epidemic levels. What's going on and why hasn't the chief of police, the AG, or the governor made a statement about the increase in violent crimes?

 A 16 year old girl was raped by three men while on her way to school. Angel Jess Santos confessed and was arrested for for rape, kidnapping, sexual abuse of a minor, aggravated assault and battery, and disturbing the peace charges. He is being held on $100,000 cash bail.

The Marianas Variety reported:
The victim told police she left home at about 6 a.m. and walked to her aunt’s house across from the Kagman Community Center to get her baseball cap.

She then walked to CYC Store and bought a drink before proceeding toward the highway that connects to the main road leading to KagHS.

Detective Reyes said it was along the secondary paved highway when the three suspects on the pick-up truck approached the victim and asked for her bag. The victim continued walking.

The suspects then jumped off the vehicle, held the victim, covered her mouth and nose, preventing her from screaming and breathing, according to Reyes.

“[The victim] struggled but was unable to breathe and felt weakened. A sudden hit on her head knocked her unconscious,” Detective Reyes said.

When the victim later regained consciousness, she had a bloody nose, and found herself inside an abandoned concrete house several houses behind CYC Store, police said.
Meanwhile the DPS still has not published a sexual offender registry that it is required to publish by law. From the DPS Website:
It is the policy of the Department of Public Safety to ensure that any person convicted of a criminal offense against victim(s) who are minor(s) or are convicted of sexually violent offense(s) as defined under Title 6 Crimes and Criminal Procedure/Division 1. Crimes Against Persons and Property ss1101/Part 1 Crimes Against the Person/Chapter 3. Sexual Offenses. § 1201/Article 4. Sex Offender Registration and Notifications. §1361/ss1362. Registration: Shall be registered as a Sex Offender in the CNMI.

...The Sex Offenders Registration & Notification Act (SORNA) requirements for disclosure and sharing of information about registrants appear primarily in section 118, which is concerned with sex offender websites, and section 121, which is concerned with community notification in a broader sense and with some more targeted type of disclosures.

Section 118(a) of SORNA state a general rule that jurisdictions are to "make available on the Internet, in a manner that is readily accessible to all jurisdictions and to the public, all information about each sex offender in the registry."

The list of informational items that jurisdictions must include on their public sex offender websites is as follows:

a. The name of the sex offender, including any aliases.
b. The address of each residence at which the sex offender resides or will
c. The address of any place where the sex offender is an employee or will
be an employee and, if the sex offender is employed but does not have a
definite employment address, other information about where the sex
offender works.
d. The address of any place where the sex offender is a student or will be a
e. The license plate number and a description of any vehicle owned or
operated by the sex offender.
f. A physical description of the sex offender.
g. The sex offense for which the sex offender is registered an any other sex
offense for which the sex offender has been convicted.
h. A current photograph of the sex offender.

The DPS Sex Offender Registry Office will be posting CNMI registered sex offender information on this website soon.

Contact the DPS Sex Offender Registry Office at 664-9026 or 664-9001 for information on registered sex offenders in the CNMI or call CRIME STOPPERS at 234-7272 to report a crime. Your name is not needed, just your information. 
Last Updated on Monday, 14 July 2008 00:40
Will be updated soon? The site was updated on July 14, 2008, almost two years ago.

I researched this law, SORNA, and it is a federal law.  A description and overview of the law confirms that every state and territory is tasked with maintaining a sexual offender registry.  From the Office of Justice Programs of the US DoJ:
What jurisdictions are included under SORNA?
The 50 states, the District of Columbia, the five principal U.S. territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes that elect to function as registration jurisdictions are all considered jurisdictions under SORNA. Each of these jurisdictions must comply with the provisions of SORNA as explained in the Guidelines in order to substantially implement SORNA.
When is the deadline for substantial implementation?
The deadline for substantial implementation is July 27, 2009. Submissions establishing compliance with the SORNA requirements or requesting extensions should be made to the SMART Office by April 27, 2009. If a jurisdiction is requesting an extension of time, the submission to the SMART Office should include a description of the jurisdiction’s implementation efforts, and an explanation as to why an extension is needed. Up to two 1-year extensions may be allowed. 
What are the consequences for jurisdictions that fail to substantially implement SORNA by July 27, 2009?
Jurisdictions that fail to substantially implement SORNA by July 27, 2009 are subject to a mandatory 10% reduction in funding under 42 U.S.C. 3750 et seq. (“Byrne Justice Assistance Grant” funding).
Shouldn't the U.S. Department of Justice ensure that this law is followed? Did the CNMI request an extension? If so, for what reason, and if not is the CNMI jeopardize funding?


Anonymous said...

Wendy, thank you for posting this. It is a crime in itself that there is no sex offenders registry available online in the CNMI. I will admit it is not an easy project to complete, but what has been done? And how long will it take to complete? The AG's office is understaffed and it will difficult for them alone to complete this project. I really think we could be looking at another 12 months (at least) of no registry. I like the job that "ISA DR" did with their "list", but it is not official and should only be used as a guide. But I applaude the effort and understand the frustration. The government is not working so people have to take some things in their own hands. I am sure that this person would prefer not to create the list, but the CNMI needs some information. The old saying " 'Nature abhors a vacuum' applies here.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes have to laugh at the tendency of this blog and its commenters to blindly attack or castigate the CNMI or its politicians on the basis of incomplete, outdated, or incorrect information.

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, granted a one-year extension of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) compliance deadline from 2009 to July 27, 2010.

Thus far, only five jurisdictions in the entire United States have substantially implemented the SORNA requirement.

The first two were the State of Ohio and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (located in Oregon), as pointed out in a USDOJ press release on September 23, 2009. The third and fourth jurisdictions were the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (located in Washington) and the State of Delaware, respectively.

The fifth and most recent jurisdiction to attain substantial implementation was the State of Florida, as announced on May 18, 2010.

That makes three states out of 50, and two tribes out of who knows how many. Jurisdictions may obtain an additional one-year extension by submitting an extension request form to the USDOJ, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART).

Within the CNMI, “Byrne Justice Assistance Grant” funding is administered by the Criminal Justice Planning Agency (CJPA), whose executive director is Jerome Ierome -- married to the sister of Judge Ramona V. Manglona -- who will undoubtedly file the SORNA extension request if warranted. The CJPA Supervisory Council and other staff members include such professionals as Tracy Guerrero, MBA, Director of Courts, daughter of Juan Pan.

It is undoubtedly correct that a shortage of resources is hindering completion of the project.

Wendy said...

"I sometimes have to laugh at the tendency of this blog and its commenters to blindly attack or castigate the CNMI or its politicians on the basis of incomplete, outdated, or incorrect information." This blog asked if anyone knew about this information, if that is funny to you, laugh away!

These are legitimate questions: "Shouldn't the U.S. Department of Justice ensure that this law is followed? Did the CNMI request an extension? If so, for what reason, and if not is the CNMI jeopardize funding?" Thanks for the information!

Anonymous said...

"Tracy Guerrero, MBA"

Only in the CNMI!

Anonymous said...

Not only in the CNMI. "From 2002 to 2008, she worked as a senior analyst for the U.S. Government Accountability Office in San Francisco, California," according to the Marianas Variety. The GAO is an arm of Congress and does reports such as the various analyses of federalization.

Anonymous said...

Aon 10:21

I am sure they were granted an extension. I can also show you how they were supposed to comply with the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act . Of course, they got out of that one to.
You can get out of just about anything you want to. I am sure they will work on getting another extension, and another one, and another one while sexual predators rape and molest another one, and another one, and another one...
Also, don't justify their lack of progress by saying that not everyone has done it. Guam has a Sex Offenders registry ONLINE as EVERY OTHER STATE DOES. We have nothing here.

Anonymous said...

With one of the highest per capita sexual offense rates in the world, it's hard to keep track!

The Saipan Blogger said...

The sexual offense rates are lower in CNMI than in the mainland, I think.

Anonymous said...

What I meant is that putting "MBA" after one's name is something done only in the CNMI.

Is her degree of the print-it-yourself variety, like "Doctor" Borja's?

Anonymous said...

> The sexual offense reporting rates > are lower in CNMI than in the
> mainland, I think.

Angelo, I corrected your comment for you.