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ASG DISMISSES DUI CHARGE AGAINST SAIPAN DELEGATE

Francis Castro, a Saipan Delegate in the territory for the 28th meeting of the US Coral Reef Task Force made her initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning. Ms. Castro was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding. She was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning when leaving Sadies by the Sea.

Castro paid $500 bail and was released from police custody. In a plea agreement with the government, Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde initially moved to amend the DUI charge to reckless driving.

However Acting Chief Justice John Ward told the government that DUI cannot be amended, it can be dismissed. Assistant AG Hyde then moved for the court to dismiss the DUI charge and amend the speeding charge to reckless driving, which is a much higher penalty than speeding.

Castro entered her guilty plea to the reckless driving charge, which is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. Ward accepted the plea agreement and noted  the government feels that they cannot go forward with the DUI charge in this matter.

He asked the prosecutor, if she feels that this plea agreement is in the best interest of the justice. Hyde replied, yes it is. Castro told the court that she had dinner at Sadies by the Sea and she had drank an alcoholic beverage and was on her way back to her hotel, when she was pulled over by police officers who noted her speed was over the limit. She explained that she’s not use to the speed limit on the island.

Ward sentenced Castro to nine months probation under several conditions that she must abide with while in the territory. Ward ordered the defendant to remain a law abiding citizen, refrain from operating a vehicle for 30 days, and not consume any alcoholic beverage while on probation.

“You will be subjected to random testing for any alcohol in your system,” Ward told Castro. The defendant was also told if she returns to the territory within the nine months she must visit the probation office.

Castro was ordered to pay a fine of $500, however Ward moved to defer $490 on her good behavior and the remaining fine will be taken out of the $500 bond she posted earlier.

According to the government’s case the defendant was pulled over for speeding and police officers suspected she was driving while under the influence. They conducted field sobriety tests, which she failed. Castro was represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley.

TEACHER AND PILOT DENY CHARGES OF DUI AGAINST THEM  

A teacher, Mailo Fa’apouli is facing his third DUI charge, and he made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning.

Acting Chief Justice John Ward noted the defendant has two previous DUI convictions, which occurred in 2003 and 2004.

Ward also noted the defendant has several traffic citations between October 2011 to February 2012 for which he failed to appear in court and there are outstanding fines up to $300.

The traffic citations include not wearing seat belts, traffic obstruction and failure to stop at a stop sign. Ward told the teacher that the fine from the previous tickets will be deducted from the $500 bond he posted earlier.

Fa’apouli was pulled over by police Saturday evening near a Tafuna main road when he failed to stop at a stop sign.

Fa’apouli denied the DUI charge against him and his next appearance in the District Court for his pre-trial conference is  September 11, 2012. Ward ordered the teacher not to consume alcohol while this matter is pending and he’s subject to random testing for alcohol in his system.

Inter Island Airways Pilot Stanley Malae also denied the DUI charge against him at his initial appearance. Marcellus Tala Uiagalelei is representing the defendant in this matter.

According to the government’s case, on Saturday evening, the defendant ran a stop sign and was driving without a valid driver’s license. Malae underwent a field sobriety test, which he failed and was arrested.

The next day, Malae posted bond and was released from the Tafuna Correctional facility. Malae’s pre-trial conference has been scheduled for September 11, 2012. Prosecuting this matter is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.

MIKA A’ASA FACES FELONY ASSAULT FOLLOWING STONING INCIDENT

A man accused of throwing a rock which hit another man’s head has been charged with second degree assault and public peace disturbance.

A’asa, who’s held on bail of $10,000 will be arraigned in the High Court today. His bail was initially set at $20,000 and later reduced to $10,000.

The second degree assault charge is a class D felony punishable with up to five years in jail, a fine of $5,000 or both.

According to the government’s case, police received a call regarding a public peace disturbance in Petesa, and when they responded, they found the victim lying on top of a grave in front of his house. The victim’s face was swollen and covered with blood. Emergency Medical Services were called and the victim was taken to LBJ hospital where he was treated and admitted for further observation and treatment.

Witnesses told police the reason the defendant threw a rock at the victim was because the victim assaulted the defendant’s younger brother. The defendant admitted that he threw the rock at the victim head’s after he punched him.

A’asa yesterday waived his rights to a preliminary examination in the District Court. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.



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