Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chief judge concerned about nature of Guard recruiting case

Still no sentence has been handed down against Guam Army National Guard Specialist Denille Calvo. In federal court on Wednesday, the chief judge continued to raise concerns over the circumstances of the case - that the defendant may have been intimidated or threatened by her supervisor to commit the crimes.
Parties agreed to no jail time - only probation - for Calvo, but Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood refused to continue with sentencing.
"I just don't have a good feeling about this case...I've never tried to abort a sentence", she said as she contemplated if the defendant was in a culpable mental state at the time of the crime. Calvo previously pleaded guilty to theft of government property but it was later disclosed to the court that Calvo's supervisor, a higher ranking officer, allegedly sexually harassed and intimidated her as he stood behind her at the computer instructing her what data to input in order to collect the bonuses so he could take a cut.

In total, Calvo collected over $16,000 through the Guard Recruitment Assistance Program for identifying eight potential soldiers. The chief judge was deeply concerned the man has yet to be indicted in the GRAP case, questioning, "He hasn't been prosecuted? What's taking so long?" the u.s. Attorney's office could only confirm his case remains under investigation.
Calvo's military counsel, Major Michael Sweetman, advised the court that following Calvo's felony conviction, she potentially faces further disciplinary action in the guard - which the court hadn't considered prior to today. Major Sweetman also disclosed the officer's last name as "Chargualaf" and indicated he was removed from the Guard for an other than honorable discharge. As a result, he was stripped of all his benefits.
Defense further identified the officer as "B. Chargualaf", who is easily searchable on the Internet.
KUAM News spoke with Guam National Guard public affairs officer Major Josephine Blas, who confirmed Blaine Chargualaf was discharged in 2013 but could not provide further information on the reason that led to the discharge.
The chief judge continued to express disappointment over the handling of GRAP cases not just locally but nationally calling it a "disparity in treatment." after the hearing, defense counsel Jay Arriola spoke with media thanking the judge for recognizing the bigger picture.
Arriola said, "The whole GRAP incident has brought forth to light a myriad of issues affecting the Guard, affecting the US Government, affecting the employees there, whether its sexual harassment or GRAP violations. The question is about how the united states government chooses to pursue these cases, whether they are court marshaling the officers or whether they're discharging them from their responsibilities, or whether they're bringing them into court and facing felony convictions. That's certainly within their discretion. And I think the court has just expressed its concern, that a lot of the legal community has as well regarding the disparate treatment of all these cases.
Everybody's case should stand on its own, and it really is about justice, and I applaud the court for making sure that justice is served."
Parties will return to court on January 19.

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