AG gets tough on rapists and sex offenders



By Troy Torres

troy@kanditnews.com


Attorney General Leevin Camacho believes repeat sex offenders should not be given second chances. In testimony his office submitted on three legislative measures that toughen sentencing guidelines for repeat rapists and sex offenders, Mr. Camacho says that if you're found guilty of first or second degree criminal sexual conduct, there should be no room to wriggle outside the law's mandatory minimum sentence.


"We support the intent of Bill 8 to treat criminal sexual conduct crimes (CSC) more severely by prohibiting a court from departing from the mandatory minimum sentences identified for each crime but take no position on specific penalties," Mr. Camacho testified. Bill No. 8 was sponsored by Sen. Tony Ada.


He also sided with rape victims, agreeing that plea agreements in CSC cases should be outlawed unless victims are notified, consulted, and advised about the plea bargaining. His office did offer to help strengthen language on that bill, sponsored by Sen. Jose "Pedo" Terlaje, related to nuances of the proposed policy.


"The [Office of the Attorney General] stated that these requirements already exist in the law and its team of advocates work hard to ensure compliance, but identified circumstances where a victim is unreachable such as a victim moving off-island, not having a reliable phone, or choosing not to be involved," a news release from the OAG. "The OAG identified some indirect consequences if courts were completely prohibited from accepting a plea agreement in cases where the victim is unreachable despite the due diligence of the government, such as being forced into trial with a weak case or, more likely, dismissing a case. The OAG agreed to work with Senators Pedo Terlaje, Barnes, and Torres, the sponsors of the bill."


"Each year, our office provides services to more than 1,200 victims. Unfortunately, there are cases where even after the exercise of due diligence, our office is unable to establish contact with a victim," Mr. Camacho said in his testimony on the Terlaje bill. "Some reasons are phone numbers are no longer valid or victims’ use prepaid phones but have no minutes; sometimes victims have moved off-island or out of the country; and in some cases victims choose not to be involved. Where a victim has not been contacted, the court requires the government to provide documented efforts of exercising due diligence in attempting contact-- including the number of times a victim is called or emailed, the date and time of phone calls and emails, the number of field visits made and the outcome of those visits."


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