A POOR REFLECTION ON GUAM’S PETTY JUDICIARY

Editorial

Pacific Daily News

HAGATNA, Guam (Jan. 5) - The battle between the Office of the Attorney General and the Judiciary of Guam has reached new lows.

In late December, Superior Court of Guam Judge Michael Bordallo issued an order that the Office of the Attorney General be evicted from the Guam Judicial Center. Attorney General Douglas Moylan said he will continue to fight the eviction, but on Tuesday, the attorney general's office received an unsigned final judgment that requires the AG's office to vacate the premises by 5 p.m. on February 28.

However, the Judiciary has prematurely chosen to revoke, effective yesterday, the parking spaces of the AG's office at the Judicial Center, and said it will not allow Moylan to enter the building through a secured side door. Instead, the attorney general will have to use the public entrances. This was done "in the interest of security," said Perry C. Taitano, administrator of the courts.

These two actions are just plain petty and childish. If the AG cleared security before, what's changed? If the office doesn't have to be out until the end of February, why take away the office's parking spaces now?

The AG's office still will have to prosecute cases at the court. In fact, even if the office has to relocate, its staff of attorneys will require parking for whenever they have hearings or trials. Removing reserved parking for the government of Guam's legal team is absurd.

And how, exactly, does forcing the attorney general to use the public entrances improve security at the Judicial Center? In fact, it appears as if it would be safer for Moylan to enter from the side. If the public entrances were so much safer, then shouldn't the court employees who use the side entrance also use the public entrances "in the interest of security?"

This pettiness reflects poorly on our judiciary's judgment and on the system, and it exacerbates an already tense situation between the AG's office and the Judiciary of Guam, two parts of the government that must work closely on a daily basis.

The Judiciary of Guam needs to rethink this apparent snap decision and restore the parking slots, as well as the attorney general's access to the Judicial Center through the side door.

Also, in the event the AG's office is evicted, the Legislature must be prepared to appropriate additional money. And senators need to consider giving the elected attorney general more effective control of his office's budget, so he can better manages money during future unanticipated developments.

January 6, 2005

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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