High Court denies new motion to release Siaumau's $100K bond
The trial division of the High Court has denied Eliota Siaumau’s Sr reconsideration motion to release his $100,000 bond. His non-compliance with all conditions of his release when he was charged following an April 2009 incident is the reason given. The defendant is represented by Sharron Rancourt while prosecuting is Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop.
The order was signed by Chief Justice Michael Kruse and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.
According to the order, Siaumau Sr, was charged with several counts, including assault, property damage and public peace disturbance, and he was released on a $100,000 bail with conditions that he remain a law abiding citizen, make all court appearances, maintain contact with counsel, not leave or attempt to leave the territory without court approval, surrender Certificate of Identity prior to release to counsel, and not initiate any contact with witnesses. Additionally, he was not to possess any firearms or deadly weapons.
During Siaumau’s release, he violated his release condition to remain a law abiding citizen and circumvented another condition (to surrender his CI) when he left the territory on six occasions. The government filed a motion to revoke bail for Siaumau on April 21, 2011 which the court granted. Subsequently Siaumau Sr. moved for the court to set aside forfeiture and exonerate bond, which the court denied and the defendant filed a motion to reconsider the order denying the motion.
Siaumau argues the court should give more weight to the fact that the defendant voluntarily appeared at all of his hearings, and asserts that limits forfeiture to condition of non-appearance.
“However, defendant’s interpretation is misleading,” said the court. The statute only provides language requiring the court to declare a bond forfeiture for non-appearance, but it does not limit forfeiture to non-appearance in any way.
Nevertheless, the court states, this statute is irrelevant in this instance because defendant appeared at his hearings and the court denied defendant’s motion on other grounds.
Siaumau argues that the court should have given more weight to the fact that government suffered no delay, prejudice, or costs as a result of defendant’s breach.
“However, defendant is sorely mistaken to assume that the government suffered no harm from defendant’s actions,” says the court.
“Not only was the government inconvenienced by having to request a bail revocation hearing, subpoena witnesses, and conduct six different movement profiles, the court was also inconvenienced by defendant’s inability to comply with its order”.
Furthermore, defendant argues that the court erred in determining that it was not in the interest of justice to set aside forfeiture.
“Specifically, defendant argues that the court did not address the cases raised by defendant and instead focuses on deterrence factors, in particular, defendant states that the cases cited in a footnote of the court’s order denying defendant’s motion are not applicable to the instant case.”
In reply the court said,“As mentioned in our prior order, we believe it is in the interest of justice to prevent injury to the public in cases where the defendant is charged with multiple serious crimes and to make reasonably certain that such individuals are released into society with an incentive to comply with the terms of release.
“Thus voluntary appearance is not enough for the court to set aside bond forfeiture and exonerate bond in light of defendant’s flagrant disregard for bond conditions. _
“In addition defendant argues the court erred by comparing his release order to a bond contract because there was no language in the release order saying that the bond would be forfeited if defendant breached conditions,” says the court order.
Finally the defendant argues that he was not put on notice that the bond would be forfeited if any of the terms and conditions of his release were violated.
The court says that “such arguments are rather peculiar since making all court appearances was just one of seven conditions of defendant’s release, this posits the question of whether the defendant truly believed that the court recited the other six conditions arbitrarily, as it seems rather axiomatic that bonds do not apply exclusively to the term of appearance.”
In conclusion, the court notes that if the concept of a bond was too difficult for defendant to understand “it was his counsel’s responsibility to make certain that he understood the conditions of his release before he walked out into society otherwise unrestricted.
“However it seems that defendant’s counsel failed to do so judging by the arguments posited in the motion to reconsider,” says the seven-page order.
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