Supreme Court of Guam

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Supreme Court of Guam
Guam Judicial Center2.JPG
The Guam Judicial Center; the Supreme Court of Guam is on the third floor of the building
Established 1996 (18 years ago)
Country Guam Guam, United States United States
Location Hagatna, Guam
Authorized by Organic Act of Guam
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Number of positions 3
Website Supreme Court of Guam
Chief Justice of Guam
Currently Robert J. Torres, Jr.
Since January 21, 2014

The Supreme Court of Guam is the highest judicial body of the United States territory of Guam. The Court hears all appeals from the Superior Court of Guam and is subject to original jurisdiction only in cases where a certified question is submitted to it by a U.S. Federal Court, the Governor of Guam, or the Guam Legislature. The Supreme Court of Guam is the ultimate judicial authority on local matters, and an appeal of its decisions can only be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.[citation needed] The Court sits in the Monessa G. Lujan Memorial Courtroom, which is on the third floor of the Guam Judicial Center in Hagatna, Guam

Structure[edit]

The Court is composed of three justices who are appointed by the Governor of Guam and confirmed by the Guam Legislature. Justices serve for terms of good behavior, subject to a retention election every ten years after his/her appointment. The three justices issue judgment on all cases brought before them. They all sit on the Judicial Council of Guam, which is ultimately in charge of the administration of the Guam Judiciary.

Current Justices[edit]

The current justices of the Supreme Court of Guam are:

  • The Honorable Robert J. Torres, Jr. – Chief Justice (also served as Chief Justice from January 2008 to January 2011)
  • The Honorable Katherine A. Maraman – Associate Justice
  • The Honorable F. Philip Carbullido – Associate Justice (served as Chief Justice from January 2003 to January 2008, and from January 2011 to January 2014)

The justice's full biographies can be found at the Supreme Court's website

List of Chief Justices[edit]

Name Term Start Term End
Peter C. Siguenza, Jr. April 21, 1996 April 21, 1999
September 1, 2001 January 23, 2003
Benjamin J.F. Cruz April 21, 1999 August 31, 2001
F. Philip Carbullido January 23, 2003 January 15, 2008
January 18, 2011 January 21, 2014
Robert J. Torres, Jr. January 15, 2008 January 18, 2011
January 21, 2014 present

Retired Justices[edit]

Name Sworn in Appointed by Retired Judicial Positions Currently
Hon. Peter Charles Siguenza, Jr. April 21, 1996 Carl T.C. Gutierrez August 31, 2001 Chief Justice of Guam (1996–1999; 2001–2003); Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam (1999–2001); Judge of the Superior Court of Guam (1984–1996) Retired
Hon. Janet Healey Weeks April 21, 1996 Carl T.C. Gutierrez April 30, 1999 Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam (1996–1999); Judge of the Superior Court of Guam (1975–1996) Retired
†Hon. Monessa G. Lujan April 21, 1996 Carl T.C. Gutierrez †March 15, 1997 Associate Justice (1996–1997) In Memorium
Hon. Benjamin J.F. Cruz October 13, 1997 Carl T.C. Gutierrez August 31, 2001 Chief Justice of Guam (1999–2001); Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam (1997–1999); Judge of the Superior Court of Guam (1984–1997) Vice Speaker, I Mina' Trentai Dos Na Lihislaturan Guahan
Hon. Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood February 8, 2002 Felix P. Camacho October 29, 2006 Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam (2002–2006); Judge of the Superior Court of Guam (1994–2001) Chief Judge, United States District Court of Guam

The Superior Court of Guam[edit]

Judges of the Superior Court are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Legislature for a term of eight years. If they wish to continue in office, their names are placed on the ballot at a general election. They must garner at least 50 percent plus one favorable vote of the number of cast ballots to remain in office. Judge Richard Benson and Judge Joaquin E. Manibusan were the first to be placed on a ballot. They both received the overwhelming approval of the voters.

The Superior Court is a court of general jurisdiction, and its seven judges preside over criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, small claims, traffic and child support cases brought before them. The hearing officer generally does not preside over all of these subjects, but is utilized predominantly in small claims, family, and traffic matters. In December 2005, the Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts were recognized as courts of record of the Judiciary of Guam. These programs are examples of "therapeutic justice" which focuses on rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into society. Judges are assigned to cases on a rotating basis, though one is rotated into assignment as designated Drug Court judge exclusively for a specified period (currently yearly). The Presiding Judge's additional responsibility is primarily procedural and administrative concerns, though formerly the "PJ," as the position is commonly referred to, assigned cases to the various judges.

The current Judges of the Superior Court of Guam are:

  • The Hon. Alberto C. Lamorena III (Presiding Judge)
  • The Hon. James L. Canto II
  • The Hon. Maria T. Cenzon
  • The Hon. Michael J. Bordallo
  • The Hon. Vernon P. Perez
  • The Hon. Anita A. Sukola
  • The Hon. Arthur R. Barcinas

Former Judges include:

  • The Hon. Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson
  • The Hon. Joaquin C. Perez (Guam’s first Presiding Judge)
  • The Hon. Vicente C. Reyes (Guam's first island attorney)
  • The Hon. Joaquin V.E. Manibusan
  • The Hon. Paul J. Abbate, Jr. (Presiding Judge)
  • The Hon. Janet Healy-Weeks (Elevated to Guam Supreme Court)
  • The Hon. John Raker
  • The Hon. Richard Benson
  • The Hon. Judge Ramon Diaz
  • The Hon. Peter C. Siguenza, Jr. (Elevated to Guam Supreme Court)
  • The Hon. Benjamin J. Cruz. (Elevated to Guam Supreme Court)
  • The Hon. Frances Marie Tydingco-Gatewood (Elevated to Guam Supreme Court. Appointed Chief Judge for Guam/CNMI Federal District Court)
  • The Hon. Joaquin V.E. Manibusan Jr. (Appointed Magistrate for Guam/CNMI Federal District Court)
  • The Hon. Katherine A. Maraman
  • The Hon. Steven S. Unpingco

See also[edit]

External links[edit]