Guam – More setbacks in the Blue House prostitution case … Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola rejected a move to divide the case into two separate cases, emphasizing that it is in the interest of “judicial economy.”
Prosecutors want to try the two police officers involved separately because the third defendant, Song Ja Cha, is appealing her case with the Supreme Court, essentially preventing the Superior Court from presiding.
It was a rather brief but complicated hearing today for all parties in the Blue House case.
Assistant Attorney General Nelson Werner’s motion for severance was not entertained. That motion would have sought to sever police officers David Manila and Anthony Quenga from the case to try them separately. Prosecutors wanted this because the third defendant, Song Ja Cha, has an appeal pending with the Supreme Court.
This means that while the appeal has nothing to do with the police officers, they would still have to wait for the outcome of the appeal. And based on today’s hearing, they will. Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola ceded jurisdiction over the case to the Supreme Court because of Cha’s appeal.
“Severance is not going to be granted at this point,” Sukola declared.
And yet, although Sukola acknowledged that the lower court no longer has jurisdiction over the case, she still set a hearing for further proceedings on May 6. In addition, she required that all defendants complete financial disclosure forms to determine whether they can afford to pay for their own counsel. The Judiciary is currently paying for all the defendants’ court-appointed attorneys.
Furthermore, Judge Sukola last Friday rendered a decision and order to disqualify defense attorney William Pole, who represents Manila. She made the decision based on Pole’s involvement in the case in 2008 as a prosecutor who prepared the first magistrate indicating prostitution at the Blue House Bar.
Pole telling PNC that he may also file an interlocutory appeal with the Supreme Court challenging Sukola’s order to disqualify him as Manila’s attorney. However, Pole said he would only do this if the court does not appoint a new attorney for Manila.