Court says it does not have jurisdiction over quarantined merchant marine

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Judge Elyze Iriarte

After a day of reviewing the unique case of quarantined merchant marine Marcus Lang, Superior Court Judge Elyze Iriarte has ruled that she does not have jurisdiction over Lang.

On Monday morning, Judge Iriarte denied Marcus Lang’s petition for release. His case differs from the rest because he is held in the Department of Defense’s quarantine hotel — the Westin. Jacqueline Terlaje, Lang’s attorney, breaks down the judge’s decision.

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“Essentially, without reaching the issue of Mr. Lang’s petition and his request for release, the court has said that she does not have personal jurisdiction over him so she declined to exercise jurisdiction,” Terlaje said.

She added: “It’s essentially because Government of Guam transferred him to the authority of the Department of the Defense and he is being held currently at the Westin and not a Government of Guam facility so she declined to address the issue.”

Terlaje has filed for habeaus corpus and writ of mandamus with the Supreme Court of Guam on the same grounds but also raised the decline of jurisdiction by the lower court.

“What’s important is that people who want to exercise their right to insist that the government advise them accordingly before putting them into a mandatory quarantine … that this right at least be advised to passengers,” Terlaje said.

Lang’s last day of quarantine is presumably on Tuesday, but Terlaje says that is just an assumption because neither DOD nor Public Health is saying why he’s continuing to be detained.

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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.