Appointment of Public Defender in quarantine cases ‘working out well’


It’s been a month since the first traveler petitioned the Superior Court of Guam, challenging the government’s mandatory quarantine protocols of inbound travelers and calling it a violation of constitutional rights.

Over the course of hearing dozens of quarantine cases, Superior Court Judge Elyze Iriarte came to the conclusion that travelers were not being adequately advised of their constitutional rights relative to quarantine upon entry to Guam.

As a remedy, Iriarte appointed the Alternate Public Defender (APD) to represent all incoming passengers. Prior to this, petitioners were represented by private attorneys and had to pay for the services.

The move to a court-appointed attorney appears to be paying off as hearings which once took hours to address travelers’ issues have now become more efficient. The hearing today, for instance, was reduced to minutes.

APD John Morrison provided the good news to the court that outside of previously addressed issues, no requests to file a case have been brought forth by travelers arriving on September 30th and October 1st.

He also shared that more and more travelers are aware that they have legal representation and can contact the APD for assistance and guidance.

“We’re getting a lot of positive answers, they knew that we are here and they can call for one reason or another,” said Morrison.

A hearing is set for tomorrow at 1:30 pm to address travelers arriving on Sept 30th through October 2nd.


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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.