Court denies rape defendant’s habeas corpus petition

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo has denied a rape defendant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Romeo Aquino Saimon’s petition has been denied without prejudice, which means he can re-file it.

 â€œIt is clear that petitioner failed to exhaust all procedures and potential remedies before filing an application for writ of habeas corpus,â€� the judge said.

 Saimon failed to file an appeal of his bail orders directly to the CNMI Supreme Court, the judge added. “The Supreme Court clearly considers a bail order a final decision that is ripe for appeal.â€�

Judge Govendo said, “Petitioner is simply incorrect and clearly does not realize that a bail order creates a sufficient appealable record, neglecting to pursue a readily available remedy.�

Saimon, who is represented by attorney Robert Myers Jr., was charged with two counts of sexual assault in the second degree.

 Saimon and three other co-defendants are accused of raping a very intoxicated woman.

 In Aug. 2018, Saimon  asked the Superior Court to modify his cash bail of $50,000 and to release him to a third-party custodian.

 Associate Judge Kim-Tenorio denied the request but stated that she would allow the defendant to be released if he would post a property bond or 10 percent of the $50,000 bail.

 Myers said although his client has no prior criminal record, the bail was set at an amount he cannot afford.

Saimon then sought habeas corpus relief and his release from detention “to cure the constitutional violations.�

 In his order, Judge Govendo said Saimon failed to file a motion to reconsider the original court’s decision to deny petitioner’s motion for detention revocation.

 â€œBy choosing to not file a motion to reconsider, petitioner again left a readily available procedure unexhausted,â€� the judge added.

 The court also noted that Saimon overlooked another option under the Commonwealth Rules of Criminal Procedure, which allows a defendant to request a review of the bail conditions imposed 24 hours after his initial release hearing.

The Office of the Attorney General earlier said the habeas corpus petition was deficient.

 â€œPetitioner seeks an extraordinary remedy without first exhausting numerous remedies available in his criminal proceeding,â€� Assistant Attorney General Robert J. Pickett told the court in his opposition to the petition.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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