District Court allows telephonic, video conferences for certain cases

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District Court of Guam (PNC file photo)

The wheels of justice will continue to turn despite the coronavirus pandemic’s direct impact on the District Court’s functions.

Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has enacted a provision under the CARES Act which allows for certain types of criminal proceedings to move forward through telephonic and video conferencing appearances of defendants.

The Chief Judge’s general order covers detention hearings, initial appearances, arraignments, revocation hearings, misdemeanor pleas, and sentencings, just to name a few.

According to the order, in cases where felony pleas or sentencing cannot be delayed without harming the interests of justice, the judge may, with the consent of the defendant, use telephonic or video-conferencing for the felony plea or sentencing in that case. This may also be extended to certain types of juvenile cases.

The order will remain in effect for 90 days. If the emergency conditions continue to exist beyond that time period, the Chief Judge will determine whether to extend it.

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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.