Commonwealth v. Ahn – Case Brief Summary (N.Mariana Islands)

In Commonwealth v. Ahn, 3 CR 35, 41 (D.N.M.I. App. Div. 1987), the defendant was convicted of several misdemeanors following a four-day trial. Id. Because the convictions were only misdemeanors, the trial court chose not to order a PSI. Id.

The Appellate Division affirmed because while it is "better practice to order that a report be prepared prior to sentencing," id. at 42, the trial court had a meaningful record to review. Id. at 43.

In reaching that result, the Appellate Division stated that presentence reports contain four things:

(1) the defendant's prior criminal record;

(2) a statement regarding the circumstances of the offense and the defendant's behavior;

(3) a victim-impact statement;

(4) any other information relevant to sentencing. Id. at 42.

The Appellate Division then noted that the record contained information regarding each of the four categories. Id. at 43.

First, testimony at trial showed the defendant had no criminal record. Id.

Second, the trial itself "showed the circumstances surrounding the offense and, presumably, anything affecting the defendant's behavior." Id.

Third, the trial court knew the impact of the crime on the victims. Id.

And, finally, the trial court heard from the defendant and several character witnesses. Id. This testimony covered the "defendant's education and family background, as well as his business, social, and religious activities." Id.

In short, the trial court did not abuse its discretion because the record already contained the information a PSI would have revealed.