Guam Assistant AGs Frustrate Superior Court Judge

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Prosecutors fail to attend assigned cases, turn over evidence

By Dance Aoki

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 7, 2013) – During several hearings in her courtroom yesterday, Superior Court of Guam Judge Anita Sukola expressed her frustration with inconsistency and delays by prosecutors in turning over discovery, or evidence, to defense attorneys.

Two assistant attorney generals, Jesse Nasis and Rochelle Yu, weren't in court for their assigned cases yesterday.

Representing the Office of the Attorney General in their stead, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Hack endured Sukola's grilling as public defenders from several cases noted they have been waiting weeks for discovery to be delivered to them, despite multiple requests.

Sukola questioned why evidence is not being turned over by prosecutors and why the court hearings she set are having to be rescheduled.

She also said she wants Nassis to attend his next hearing.

During a hearing for Kahealani Santos and Albert Babauta Santos -- both charged with disorderly conduct and harassment as petty misdemeanors -- their attorney, Joaquin Arriol, Jr., said he asked Assistant Attorney General Yu for police reports three times and still hadn't received them before yesterday's hearing.

"These should have all been compiled before the cases even started," said Arriola. All four of his clients appearing in court today had to reschedule dates with Judge Sukola because they were awaiting discovery from prosecutors.

"The problem is, in the end, the government's failure to turn this information over in a timely matter can lead to a dismissal of the case," he added.

The AG's office said it gets about 2,000 adult cases and about 500 juvenile delinquency cases filed per year, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Phillip Tydingco recently said the office has 8,296 open cases that are being handled by 18 prosecutors.

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