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Court dismisses businessman’s complaint regarding his imprisonment at Corrections

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DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has dismissed the complaint of businessman David Trung Quoc Phan regarding his incarceration at the Department of Corrections.

Phan is serving an eight-month prison term after being convicted of his involvement in an illegal labor recruitment scheme in 2017.

Phan sent a letter to the court, dated April 30, 2020, complaining about his placement in Corrections rather than in a federal prison in the U.S. mainland.

Phan also complained about the failure of Corrections to provide him access to privileges he believes he would be given in a federal facility.

In addition, Phan asked the court to allow him to travel to Guam to pay his last respects to his mother who recently passed away.

Judge Manglona said she construed Phan’s letter as a civil rights complaint challenging the conditions of his confinement.

In her order on Wednesday, the judge said Phan failed to state “a cognizable and non-frivolous claim” for a violation of a constitutional right.

“Prisoners do not have a due process right to be incarcerated in a particular facility,” Judge Manglona added.

As for Phan’s request for compassionate leave to attend a memorial service for his mother, the judge said his letter did not indicate whether his family has scheduled a memorial service.

Moreover, Phan has not made any complaint that the Bureau of Prisons or Corrections wrongly denied his request for temporary leave.

According to the judge, prisoners have “no constitutional or statutory right to attend a family member’s funeral.”

As for good behavior privileges, the judge said credits towards the service of a sentence for satisfactory behavior are only available to prisoners serving a term of imprisonment for more than one year.

“Because Phan was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, he is not eligible for any credit towards his sentence that would allow for his early release,” Judge Manglona said.

The Bureau of Prisons is also well within its authority to designate Corrections as Phan’s place of incarceration, the judge said, adding that “this designation is beyond the jurisdiction of this court.”

Although Phan believes that the conditions of incarceration would be preferable at a federal prison in the mainland U.S., the judge said he does not have a constitutional right to rehabilitation or educational programs.

In Oct. 2017, a federal jury found Phan guilty of two counts of mail fraud, three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting, and one count of fraud and misuse of visas and permits.

In March 2018, Phan was sentenced to eight months in prison. He then appealed his conviction and sentence to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking it to reverse his conviction. He said evidence was insufficient to show fraudulent intent.

But in June 2019, the Ninth Circuit affirmed his conviction, saying the evidence supported a permissible inference of fraudulent intent.

Phan’s co-defendant Muksedur Rahman was also convicted and sentenced to 48 months in prison. Another defendant, Rafiqul Islam, was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

 

 

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