Guam – At least two Superior Court judges recusing themselves in the case against sitting Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio for grabbing the firearm of a police officer back in July.
The judges are Arthur Barcinas and Anita Sukola, both of whom filed recusals in Superior Court.
Barcinas cited his close family friendship with Tenorio as the basis for his decision, saying, “The relationship may provide speculation and doubt in a reasonable person regarding the undersigned’s partiality as the assigned judge in the instant matter. Therefore reasonable questions may result regarding the overall fairness and integrity of the proceedings.”
In her filing, Judge Sukola says she knows the lt. governor personally and professionally having previously had Tenorio as a student. Sukola also said the two of them shared an office in the past when Tenorio worked as an investigator for a colleague.
“The factual bases underlying the charges in this matter have been highly publicized by island media outlets since July of 2018,” Sukola writes.
Sukola says her own name will also appear on the general election ballot along with Tenorios as Sukola is up for a retention vote. Therefore, she says, any action she may take on this matter could be perceived as action to influence her own retention vote by “currying favor with the defendant’s supporters or his opposition.”
Meantime, the judge now assigned to take on Tenorior’s case is Judge Maria Cenzon. But she may also have a reason to recuse herself in the near future as Cenzon was a political appointee to the bench under the Calvo-Tenorio administration.
The lt. governor is still scheduled to appear in court on October 3 at 2 p.m. for an arraignment hearing before Magistrate Judge Jonathan Quan.