New DWI Court Hears First Cases Monday

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Guam – Guam’s Superior Court joined 400 other courts across the nation Friday by forming its own DWI Court.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Alberto Lamorena and Guam Chief Justice Robert Torres spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new court which took place inside the Guam Supreme Court courtroom.

Drunk driving cases are the most commonly charged crime on Guam. They make up over 40% of the case load at Superior Court.

Torres said the new DWI Court will place an emphasis on rehabilitating offenders through customized treatment programs.  Participants must undergo treatment and counseling, submit to random and frequent drug and alcohol testing and appear frequently before the judge.  First time offenders are also adjudicated more efficiently and expeditiously, with the multiple goals of reducing the number of pending or uncharged cases while ensuring that justice is not denied by the delay in filing of these cases.

And Lamorena spoke about the destructive impact drunk driving has on island families. The Presiding Judge recalled the death of GPD Sargent Frankie Smith who was killed by a drunk driver nearly 3 years ago. Smith’s family was on hand for the opening.

The DWI Court is a one-year pilot program which was launched with the assistance of federal funding.

Presiding Judge Lamorena has appointed Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Barrett Anderson to preside over the DWA Court. She’ll hear the first cases on Monday.