FSM Information Services
FSM Supreme Court Orders Dismissal of All Charges with Prejudice in Criminal Case 2022-502; Defendants Christina Elnei, Norleen Oliver DeOrio, Patrick Carl, Peterson Sam, & Patrick Pedrus Fully Exonerated
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On March 21st, 2023, the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) ordered the dismissal, with prejudice, of all criminal charges in case number 2022-502 (FSM v. Christina Elnei, Norleen Oliver DeOrio, Patrick Carl, Peterson Sam, and Patrick Pedrus). The Supreme Court’s decision fully exonerates each of the persons the FSM Government charged who, at the time of charging in June 2022, were the Acting Governor of Pohnpei State, the Chair of the Pohnpei State COVID-19 Task Force, the Director of Public Safety, the Commissioner for the Pohnpei Public Broadcasting Corporation, and the Pohnpei State Public Information Officer respectively.
In June 2022, the FSM Government arrested and criminally charged the defendants—who were, and remain at the time of this writing, Pohnpei State Government officials—for allegedly breaching civil rights, false imprisonment, multiple violations of emergency decrees, and Standard Operating Procedures for COVID-19-related quarantine. The Supreme Court’s order to dismiss all charges with prejudice fully exonerates Christina Elnei, Norleen Oliver DeOrio, Patrick Carl, Peterson Sam, and Patrick Pedrus. The Press Release describing the charges that have since been dismissed with prejudice can be found here: https://gov.fm/index.php/component/content/article/35-pio-articles/news-and-updates/614-fsm-files-criminal-charges-against-pohnpei-state-officials-for-alleged-violations-of-civil-rights-conspiracy-obstruction-breaches-of-quarantine-standard-operating-procedures?Itemid=177
“This case was the result of misplaced hopes,” the Supreme Court wrote in its order dismissing with prejudice all charges. “Pohnpei COVID officials were hoping that the June 11-12, 2022, repatriation flight would either be postponed to the June 15th flight from Guam when both the Emergency Medical Unit (EMU) and the Medical Monitoring Area (MMA) would be cleaned and available, or that the June 12th flight would be limited to only 38 passengers, for which the EMU could be made ready to accommodate. And the national COVID officials were hoping that the MMA would be cleaned and made ready for the 71 passengers that had been quarantined at its expense on Guam for three days.”
“In what may have been an ill-advised contest of wills,” the Supreme Court wrote, “neither’s hopes were realized. Accordingly, the Counts…are all dismissed with prejudice. This case is closed.”