Yona Mayor Jesse Blas will remain behind bars at least for now as District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has ordered a new detention hearing to address his pre-trial detention.
In her order, the judge points out that there was no written order by Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan when Blas was remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals.
The mayor’s attorney, Joseph Razzano, has argued that a failure by the magistrate judge to issue a written detention order “alone can result in reversal and an order for release,” adding that the mayor’s 8th Amendment rights and the Bail Reform Act are being violated with the mayor’s continued detention.
“While the court was able to glean from the transcript the findings of fact and the reasons for the detention, it appears from the unredacted transcript that the U.S. Magistrate Judge failed to consider whether there was no condition or combination of conditions [that] will reasonably assure . . . the safety of any other person and the community,” the Chief Judge said.
To ensure fairness, Tydingco-Gatewood has set a new detention hearing for October 29, 2019.
Blas has been behind bars for 30 days. He was arrested on September 25, 2019, on drug-related extortion charges.
The Yona mayor 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 U.S. Postal Service are overseen by the Yona mayor who is designated to provide the mailboxes to Yona residents at no charge.
Blas remains the mayor of Yona and has been placed on annual leave. Mayors Council of Guam Executive Director Angel Sablan said once that annual leave expires, he will be placed on leave without pay.