AG Rapadas Instructs Staff to Review, Possibly Amend, Lawsuit Against Governor After Calvo Allowed Bill #19 to Lapse Into Law

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Guam – Late Tuesday afternoon, Guam Attorney General Lenny Rapadas issued the following statement in reaction to the Governor’s decision to allow Bill #19 to lapse into Public Law 32-60.

READ the release from Attorney General Rapadas below:

AG Rapadas Responds to Bill 19-32

Lapse into Law

July 09, 2013- Hagatna, Guam- Last night, Governor Eddie Calvo made the decision to allow Bill 19-32 to lapse into law.

Both the governor and Attorney General Leonardo M. Rapadas from the onset have agreed with the intent of Bill 19-32, which is to find a much-needed funding source for Guam Memorial Hospital Authority’s Urgent Care Services and other government activities, projects and programs.

In April of this year, when the involved parties mutually dismissed their respective lawsuits, no gambling devices were licensed and the law did not allow for the licensing of them. The Office was unaware of any plans the Department of Revenue and Taxation (DRT) had after the dismissals to license gambling devices contrary to law.

AG Rapadas has always maintained that the licensing and possession of gambling devices is illegal. This Office has always taken the position that the law prohibiting the licensing of gambling devices and its possession are clear.

Some legislators and the Governor believe that regulations drafted by DRT make the licensing of gambling devices legal. That is why AG Rapadas directed the Office to file a lawsuit to have the courts declare the regulations illegal because they conflict with duly enacted law. Now that Governor Calvo has allowed Bill 19-32 to lapse into public law, the AG plans to review and possibly amend the complaint filed on June 14, 2013.

Apparently, again without the input of the OAG, an additional 200 illegal gambling devices were issued licenses, bringing the total of these illegal gambling devices to 400. The OAG intends to communicate with DRT to confirm how many machines have been licensed, to whom and at which locations.

The Governor expressed his concern that this case somehow “buried” other important criminal cases this Office is handling. “I want to thank the Governor for his concern, but let me assure him and the public that my Office, with its several divisions, can multi-task and handle not only civil matters, but criminal matters,” AG Rapadas said.

Despite the difference in opinion over the legality of the gambling devices, AG Rapadas stands committed to the mission of the OAG. He invites Governor Calvo to stand alongside him by supporting amendments to our local statute that would mirror federal law that recognizes not just a criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial, but also the People’s rights to a speedy trial. This will alleviate concerns regarding the progress in criminal cases such as the Blue House, Cepeda and De Soto cases.

OAG Mission Statement: To enforce Guam’s laws fairly and impartially, ensuring justice and safety for all of her residents as well as providing legal advice and representation of the highest quality to agencies, officers and employees of the Government of Guam.