All grand jury proceedings suspended

Guam Judicial Center (PNC file photo)

The Guam Judiciary has ordered a suspension of all grand jury proceedings from today through at least March 30 as part of the effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The order cites reservations expressed by a number of grand jurors who “have expressed reluctance in continuing to report to service given the continued spread of the disease.”

It also notes that “the number of individuals in Guam who test positive for COVID-19 continues to rise each day” and a Grand Jury consists of 16 people confined to one room.

As a result, “in the interest of public health,” states the order, and because “it is not feasible” to use remote means “all grand jury proceedings are suspended.”

The administrative order issued Friday also states that “the time periods for a preliminary examination and for the filing of an indictment are tolled for this period.”

The order “will be revised as circumstances warrant.” It was signed by the three Justices of the Guam Supreme Court, Associate Justices Katherine Maraman, and Robert Torres, and Chief Justice Philip Carbullido.

The order cites the 3 Executive Orders already issued by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero which are:

*Executive Order #2020-03 – declaring a State of Emergency

*Executive Order # 2020-04 – closing non-essential government operations through March 30

*Executive Order # 2020-05 – prohibiting public gatherings and mandating social isolation

The Guam Judiciary has also issued several of its own administrative orders “to protect the public health by reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and slowing the spread of the disease.”

Those administrative orders include:

*closing the Court for all but essential services

*suspending all civil and criminal jury trials until March 30.