Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 12am







    Wednesday, September 18, 2019-5:33:39A.M.






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Defense lawyer seeks 7 police officers’ personnel files

THE lawyer of a man accused of stabbing a store employee in Garapan in October 2018 has asked the court to order the prosecution to provide the personnel files of the police officers involved in the case.

Assistant Public Defender, Stephanie Boutsicaris, who represents Ken Matzue (whose name was earlier spelled Matsue), said the defense needs the materials to properly question the officers and also to call into question the integrity of the police investigation as a whole.

Boutsicaris also requested the Superior Court to direct the CNMI government to produce any documentation of the chain of custody of physical evidence in the case. She said the documentation has not been presented to the defense.

Boutsicaris said “during the investigation, physical evidence was collected including a kitchen knife that was allegedly in Matzue’s possession at the time of his arrest.”

The physical evidence was checked into evidence storage two days after the incident, Boutsicaris said, adding that “there is no explanation or documentation of what happened with the physical evidence in the two days following the incident.”

Boutsicaris asked the court to conduct a hearing to determine the existence of any outstanding discovery.

But Assistant Attorney General Robert Charles Lee said defense request is “moot” because “the materials asked for has been already been provided.”

“It is unclear what the defense wishes to address at the evidentiary hearing,” Lee added.

“Nevertheless,” he said, “the Commonwealth is asking the court to follow the majority of federal jurisdictions — and the Supreme Court of Guam — and require the defendant to show that the requested police personnel file has information material to their defense.”

As for the chain of custody report, Lee said the government has provided the defendant with all the chain of custody records that exist in the case. “Defendant’s counsel has even been to Department of Public Safety evidence room and viewed all the evidence that was collected in the case.”

The defendant is only entitled to documents that are material to the preparation of his defense, Lee added.

Regarding DPS police vehicle usage record which the defense also wants to see, Lee said,” the defense cannot explain if the documents she sought contained information about the storing and handling of evidence.”

Lee said the defense motion to compel “is nothing more than a speculative fishing expedition.”

Judge Joseph N. Camacho on Wednesday, May 15, held an evidentiary hearing with Matzue appearing in custody of the Department of Corrections.

Matsue was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. His trial will begin on June 24, 2019 at 9 a.m.

Matsue was arrested for stabbing a store employee in Chang Ming Market in Garapan in October, police said. The store clerk accused Matsue of not paying beer that he put inside his bag.