SUPERIOR Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho on Wednesday directed the Public Defender’s Office to look into a detainee’s allegation that she was threatened by a Corrections officer with a knife.

During the hearing, the detainee, Queena Ogumoro Fitial, 37, started screaming and was “out of control.” Court Marshals had to calm her down.

She said, “The island of Saipan belongs to her and everyone owes her money for being on her land.”

Fitial’s counsel, Assistant Public Defender Karie Comstock recently requested the court to dismiss the criminal case against the defendant whose right to speedy trial and due process was violated, the lawyer said.

The hearing on April 28 was for determining the defendant’s competency under 6 CMC §6604.

Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja was supposed to hear the case, but he reassigned it to Judge Camacho for a limited purpose.

The reassignment order stated that once the competency hearing is completed and competency is determined, the case will be reassigned to the original sitting judge.

Fitial was arrested on Oct. 31, 2020 and charged with burglary, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault, and disturbing the peace.

According to police, Fitial accused another woman, a neighbor, of stealing her $50 after drinking beer with her.

Police said Fitial, while wielding a machete, confronted her neighbor and demanded that the neighbor return the defendant’s money.

Fitial forcefully entered the apartment of the victim and managed to grab her cell phone while the victim was calling the police.

Through her public defender, Fitial filed a demand for speedy trial on Dec. 28, 2020.

On Jan. 28, 2021, the Office of the Attorney General made an oral motion for competency evaluation.

On Feb. 9, 2021, Judge Camacho stayed the criminal proceedings and ordered a psychiatric examination to determine the competency of Fitial within 60 days.

But according to Comstock, “As of this date, no such psychiatric examination has occurred. No such psychiatric examination is even scheduled at this point.”

Judge Camacho has scheduled an evidentiary hearing regarding Fitial’s motion for June 2, 2021 at 10 a.m.

Reporter

Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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