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Judge: Defendant can cross-examine adverse witnesses at preliminary examination hearing

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SUPERIOR Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho has granted the request of a defendant in a sexual abuse of a minor case to have access to “the tangible materials in possession of the Commonwealth that relate to [its] determination of probable cause so that the defendant can fully and properly cross-examine the government witness.”

Judge Camacho said Rudolph Rudolph has the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses at a preliminary examination hearing to weed out groundless claims.

A Federated States of Micronesia national, Rudolph was charged on Aug. 5, 2020 with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and four counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.

In his order, Judge Camacho noted that the affidavit of probable cause  did not indicate the number of individual counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

“It is worth noting that it is common practice for law enforcement officers to only generally list in the arrest warrant the charges the Commonwealth intends to bring against a defendant. It is only after the Office of the Attorney General reviews the police reports/statements, video, etc., that the Office of the Attorney General specifies the particular individual charges to be brought against a defendant in the information, the charging document,” the judge said.

“This is because the Office of the Attorney General typically reviews the police reports/statements, video, etc., several days after the defendant is arrested.”

Typically, the judge said, information is filed and provided to the defendant near or on the day of the preliminary examination hearing.

However, although the AG’s office may have access to the police report/statements, video, etc. used to make a detailed review and determination of which criminal charges to file against a defendant, the defendant does not have the same access to this material, the judge said.

“Therefore, the defendant cannot determine how the Office of the Attorney General arrived at its determination of which criminal charges to file against a defendant,” the judge added.

For its part, the government, represented by Assistant Attorney General Samantha Vickery, has requested Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja to reassign the preliminary hearing rather than reset the date for a third time.

Vickery also opposed the defense’s request to review tangible materials in government possession.

She cited the preliminary hearing’s lack of jurisdiction to entertain motions to compel discovery as the basis for her opposition.

The court has appointed private attorney Vincent Seman to represent Rudolph, and set a preliminary hearing for Oct.14, 2020 at 10 a.m.

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