Federal court denies temporary restraining order on road closures

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The roadblocks went into effect on April 11 at four different locations. They have led to traffic backups and aggravated motorists. (Photo by PNC Chief Photographer Allan Balbin)

A lawsuit seeking to stop Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero from enforcing road closures hit a roadblock in federal court Tuesday.

District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood denied Joaquin “Ken” Leon Guerrero’s motion for a temporary restraining order calling it “less than clear.”

“Actually, the exact relief sought by this motion is less than clear. The motion itself does not argue that E.O. 2020-10 is unenforceable in its entirety, but only that ‘the checkpoints [established by the Public Health Authority pursuant to E.O. 2020-10] should be enjoined as soon as possible.’ ECF 3 (“Mot.”) at 11. Even then, the body of the motion does not argue that all checkpoints are per se impermissible, but only that the checkpoints as currently implemented are unlawful. In short, it is not at all clear what the exact scope of the restraining order sought by Plaintiff would be,” noted the Chief Judge.

The Chief Judge came to the conclusion that threatened injury is neither immediate or irreparable.

“The times that the checkpoints are operational are not specified in Plaintiff’s filings, but the Court takes judicial notice that as of the date of this order, the checkpoints were not operational 24-hours a day,” said the court. 

According to the plaintiff, the road closures are “a deprivation of his Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable seizures.”

“It is well-established that the loss of constitutional rights, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury,” said the plaintiff.

But merely asserting that “every deprivation of a constitutional right is irreparable was the only attempt made to meet the requirements, which is not sufficient to justify the issuance of a temporary restraining order,” the chief judge’s order stated.

Chief Judge Tydingco-Gatewood stressed that the court takes no position on evidence the plaintiff may muster in support of a motion for a preliminary injunction.

“The Court simply finds that the stringent requirements for emergency relief under Rule 65(b) have not been met,” she ruled.

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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.