Guam Police Officers In Prostitution Case To Be Resentenced

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Court vacates some charges for notorious Blue House case

By Kyle Daly

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 1, 2016) – Two former Guam police officers convicted in cases involving prostitution at a Tamuning karaoke lounge will be resentenced after the Supreme Court of Guam issued opinions Thursday ordering that some of their convictions be vacated.

Guam’s high court issued opinions for appeals in the cases of Anthony Quenga and David Manila. In 2013, both were found guilty of kidnapping, rape and promoting prostitution, among other crimes.

Following a police raid at the Blue House karaoke lounge in 2008, investigators found evidence of prostitution. In 2011, the owner of the lounge, Song Ja Cha, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of federal crimes related to human trafficking and prostitution.

An investigation by Pacific Daily News, later revealed that three Guam police officers frequented the brothel. This prompted the case to be reopened.

Quenga and Manila were two of three police officers that were later indicted in the Blue House case.

The third officer, Mario Laxamana, pleaded guilty to charges of felonious restraint and official misconduct, and agreed to testify against Quenga and Manila as part of a plea deal.

According to the opinions issued Thursday, the Supreme Court determined that some offenses the two former officers were found guilty of were the same, and would therefore be considered double jeopardy violations. The court also found insufficient evidence for other crimes and ordered the convictions for those offenses be vacated as well.

The two cases will be sent back to the Superior Court of Guam where the two men will be resentenced with a reduced number of convictions.

The Supreme Court upheld other convictions in the two men’s cases, including those of first-degree kidnapping and compelling prostitution.

The double jeopardy violations relate to Quenga’s and Manila’s convictions of "promoting prostitution" and "compelling prostitution." The Supreme Court found that these convictions represented the same offense.

The court also found that Quenga’s and Manila’s convictions of "criminal intimidation" were duplicitous, meaning one charge combined two or more offenses. Guam law requires a jury’s verdict to be unanimous, and since duplicity doesn’t make the exact offense clear, the Supreme Court concluded it also wasn’t clear if every member of the jury made his or her decision based on the same offense. Those convictions also were vacated.

In addition, the two men were convicted of multiple conspiracy offenses related to their various crimes, such as kidnapping and felonious restraint. However, the Supreme Court concluded there was only enough evidence to convict the men of "a single conspiratorial relationship encompassing all of the crimes" and not for separate conspiracy offenses. All "but the most serious conspiracy conviction" was vacated, according to a court press release.

First- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct convictions against Manila also were vacated due to insufficient evidence, the court concluded.

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