Yona mayor says his detention is illegal

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Mayor Jesse Blas was escorted by federal authorities in handcuffs into the District Court of Guam where he has been named in an indictment on charges of extortion and bribery.

Yona Mayor Jesse Blas was deemed a danger to the community following his arrest on drug-related extortion charges and now he wants out citing that he is being wrongfully detained.

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In a motion for revocation of detention order, Blas argues that the justification for his pretrial detention urged by the Government and accepted by the magistrate court is not a justification for detention allowed by Congress in the Bail Reform Act of 1984.

The motion states that the government’s flawed argument led to a wrongful detention order that has deprived the Yona Mayor of his rights under the Eighth and Fifth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Blas was indicted on multiple counts related to three different alleged violations of law.

He stands accused of using his official capacity as Yona Mayor for his personal gain by selling cluster boxes to an FBI informant who posed as a drug trafficker. The Yona cluster boxes owned by the United States Postal Service are overseen by the Yona mayor who is designated to provide the mailboxes to Yona residents at no charge.

In the motion, his attorney Joseph Razzano points out that Blas has no significant criminal record but District Court Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan agreed with the prosecution that Blas was a danger to the community after FBI Agent Fernandez made statements to the court indicating that Blas used his connections with the Guam Police Department and the Judiciary of Guam Marshals to intimidate and threaten the FBI informant as well as a woman he was romantically involved with in 2018.

The motion argues quote “The Court committed error by commanding the detention, since Mr. Blas’s purported ‘danger to the community’ is not an enumerated reason to allow for his continued imprisonment pending trial. Both the plain language set down from Congress, and precedent from federal courts that have previously reviewed this direct issue, confirm that the magistrate judge was wrong to order the detention of Mr. Blas pending his trial. The District Court of Guam should correct this error, and release Mr. Blas with whatever conditions of release the Court deems appropriate.”

The motion further arguing that the mayor’s pre-trial detention was pursuant to a “flawed legal analysis that was presented by the government,” citing “the record is clear that the Judge’s justification for detention matched the same flawed reasoning provided by the Government. TheJudge, in ordering the detention, made it clear that he was ordering Mr. Blas to pretrial imprisonment because he posed a danger to the community.”

Razzano also argues that the “generalized danger to the community” cannot be used in the case to justify the detention and that Blas’ detention is in direct violation of the law.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.