Court mulls whether to proceed with Mark Torre Jr. trial

Mark Torre Jr. (PNC file photo)

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the re-trial of Mark Torre Jr. Now Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas must make a determination whether to proceed with trial or wait for the declaration of Pandemic Condition of Readiness 2.

Chief prosecutor Basil O’Mallan argued that resuming trial for Mark Torre Jr., at this time, is not wise. He cited the rising number of COVID positive cases in recent days and told the court that five jurors already want to be excused from the trial.

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Defense attorney Jay Arriola, who is advocating for his client’s speedy trial rights, says that the statistics are relatively the same as when trial began during PCOR 2. He argued that the pause in the trial is indefinite because of the uncertainty of the public health pandemic. He added that the Supreme Court’s administrative order pertaining to the Torre trial authorized the trial to resume.

Judge Barcinas, however, doesn’t agree with Arriola’s assertion that this delay is indefinite.

“We can not ignore that when we started this trial we were I believe in PCOR2…and we reverted back to PCOR 1 and when the government reverted back to PCOR1 that stopped the trial. So I wouldn’t, Mr. Arriola, agree that it’s indefinite. I think there really is no basis not to restart trial once we reach the same PCOR conditions we started this trial under,” he said.

Judge Barcinas is also taking into account the jurors’ willingness to report to court. Arriola has suggested that 12 of the jurors be questioned relative to any bias or health concerns the jurors may have while the three that have expressed a bias or health concern be released from duty.

A decision will be made before the end of the week.


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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.