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Assistant AG: Deficient habeas corpus application should be denied

ROMEO Aquino Saimon’s habeas corpus petition is deficient, according to Assistant Attorney General Robert J. Pickett.

Picket asked the Superior Court to deny Saimon’s application for habeas corpus petition, arguing that the defendant is seeking an extraordinary remedy without first exhausting other legal options available in his criminal proceeding.

Saimon, who is represented by attorney Robert H. Myers Jr., was charged with two counts of sexual assault in the second degree.  Saimon and three other men were accused of raping a very intoxicated woman.

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

Judge Kim-Tenorio denied the request but said 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, his bail was set at an amount he cannot afford.

Myers said the mandate that Saimon be incarcerated was imposed without any exploration of his ability to pay the amount of bail that was set or of any lesser amount that would have secured his appearance at subsequent proceedings without resulting in his pretrial incarceration.

He said his client seeks habeas corpus relief and his release from detention to cure the constitutional violations.

In his reply, Assistant AG Pickett said Saimon has not appealed any of the bail orders to the Supreme Court.

“While bail orders are not final judgments, the collateral order doctrine allows the Supreme Court to review bail orders of the Superior Court,” Pickett added.

Appellate review of bail decisions is appropriate, he said, because the trial court’s denial of bail is a final rejection of the defendant’s claimed right.

Pickett said the decision on bail is collateral to and separate from the decision of guilt or innocence, and the defendant’s claimed right to pre-trial release would be significantly undermined if it were not reviewed until after trial.

“Failing to appeal his bail determination is a failure to exhaust his remedies; therefore the petition should be summarily denied,” he said.

Pickett said the court criminal procedure “allows a defendant to make application for a review of conditions of release if the defendant remains in custody for 24 hours after the conditions of release are imposed.”

He added, “Petitioner has made no application. Petitioner has made no motion to reconsider since Aug. 28, 2018. Petitioner has not filed a motion requesting written findings of facts and conclusions of law with regards to any bail hearing. Petitioner has made no effort to offer or inform the trial court of the $9,000 piece of property available as surety of his appearance.”

Pickett said Saimon did nothing at the Oct. 9, 2018 hearing in the criminal case to challenge his confinement.

He said the defendant tried to raise this application for writ of habeas corpus before the criminal trial court, but Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio “correctly stated she could not address the petition, because it was a collateral proceeding separate being handled by a different judge.”

Pickett said either Saimon has failed to exhaust his remedies before the trial court or he has the ability to appeal and has not. Either way, Saimon has failed to exhaust his remedies, Picket said.

In a recent ruling, Judge Joseph Camacho, who imposed eh $50,000 bail on Saimon, disqualified himself from hearing the petition.