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US court will not reopen detention hearing in birth-tourism case

DISTRICT Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy on Thursday denied Sen Sun’s motion for reconsideration of her previous order setting conditions for his pretrial release.

Sun was indicted on charges of harboring aliens, unlawfully employing aliens, and money laundering.

The defendant, who is represented by court-appointed attorney Benjamin Petersburg, asked the court to convert the secured bond set in the amount of $8,500 to an unsecured bond or, in the alternative, amend the defendant’s conditions of release. The U.S. government opposes an unsecured bond, but does not oppose reopening the detention hearing.

Heather Kennedy

In her order, Judge Kennedy said the defendant “presents information that was arguably not known to him at the time of the [detention] hearing that the $8,500 seized from the defendant at the time of his arrest is not available to post as the secured bond. However, this fact does not alter the court’s decision to impose the secured bond in that amount. During the detention hearing, the court found that release on personal recognizance or on an unsecured bond would not reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance and imposed the least restrictive combination of conditions to reasonably assure his appearance….”

She said these “conditions included a secured bond in the amount of $8,500, release to a third-party custodian, and location monitoring. While the amount set by the court equaled the amount seized from the defendant upon his arrest, the defendant’s other, unexplained financial resources, his delay in submitting his passport and his ties to a foreign nation warrant the conditions imposed, including the secured bond, irrespective of the availability of the $8,500 seized upon arrest.”

The judge said “without new information, the defendant will be released when the court’s imposed conditions are met, as ordered during the detention hearing on Nov. 15, 2017.”

Also on Thursday, U.S. Probation Officer Gregory Arriola submitted a location monitoring status report as instructed by the court.

He said he conducted an inspection of the propose third-party custodian’s residence on Nov. 24, 2017 and found that a secondary telephone landline connection had been installed in the defendant’s bedroom. He said a DSL modem for internet service was also shared with the connection.

Arriola said he told the third-party custodian that the connection did not meet the monitoring-program requirements.

He was later contacted by the proposed third-party custodian who told him that the internet connection had been removed by the telephone company.

Arriola contacted the phone company to verify the proposed third-party custodian’s claim, but the verification process was not completed until Nov. 29, 2017.

Arriola likewise informed the court that on Nov. 20, 2017, an immigration detainer and an arrest warrant had been issued for Sun by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/100510-us-court-will-not-reopen-detention-hearing-in-birth-tourism-case

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