Governor Nominates Canto to Replace Unpingco as Superior Court Judge

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Guam – Governor Eddie Baza Calvo has nominated his own legal counsel,  attorney James L. Canto II, to replace retired Judge Steven Unpingco as a of the Superior Court of Guam. Judge-nominee Canto was the Guam Bar Association’s top pick for Judge.

“Judge-nominee Canto has extensive legal experience in many fields of law,” Governor Calvo said. “I chose him to be my Legal Counsel because of his vast knowledge and his respect for the law. Today I’m losing a great Legal Counsel, but the people of Guam will be gaining a fantastic judge. He holds all the qualities best suited for the position: legal acumen and experience, well-balanced temperament, compassion, upstanding character, and ingrained sense of fairness, and a passion for the law. He is a man of integrity.”

Judge-nominee Canto, who is from Dededo, graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1986 before serving in the Army. He then attended and graduated from the prestigious University of California Hastings College of Law. He immediately moved back home to begin what would become to this day his 15-year legal career.

During his legal career, Judge-nominee Canto was a public defender, an advocate for the defense of those who could not afford an attorney, and a very successful defense attorney. He has extensive trial, arbitration, and mediation experience in criminal law, domestic and family law, juvenile law, corporate and business law, administrative public agency law, telecommunications law, class actions, and employment law.

Noteworthy in his career is the work he did for victims of domestic violence, and for at-risk children whose future depended upon the guidance and care of the juvenile justice system.

“The one thing that stands out to me about Jamie is his eagerness to help people who come from a bad situation, especially children,” Governor Calvo said. “This is the kind of compassion and virtue that leads to a better system of justice for all.”

The Judge-nominee also was a co-founding editor of the Hastings Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. He volunteered as a tutor for underprivileged children while he worked toward his law degree.

James “Jamie” L. Canto II

Born 1968; Married to Emily Leon Guerrero Canto; Father of two children

Moved to Guam in 1973 at the age of 4

Attended Saint John’s School (K-9) 1973 to 1983

Attended John F. Kennedy High School (10-12) 1983-1986; graduated 1986

Served in U.S. Army at age 17 from 1986 to 1989, as a Legal Specialist (paralegal); awarded Army Achievement Medal

Attended Mercer County College, New Jersey, from August 1989 to December 1990

Attended Trenton State College, New Jersey from January 1991 to May 1992; graduated May 1992 with Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology

Attended University of California Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California from August 1992 to May 1995; co-founding editor of WestNorthwest – Hastings Journal of Environmental Law and Policy; volunteered as tutor at afterschool program for underprivileged children; graduated May 1995 with Juris Doctor (law degree)

Licensed to practice on Guam by Guam Bar Association May 1996; admitted to practice in Superior Court of Guam, Supreme Court of Guam, U.S. District Court of Guam

Was a member of the Guam Bar Association Legislative Reform Committee and the Unified Judiciary Committee on Indigent Defense.

Worked as Assistant Public Defender at Guam Public Defender’s Office from March 1996 to April 2000

Co-founding partner of law firm Associated Defense Advocates, P.C., working there from April 2000 to March 2004

Co-founding partner of law firm Shimizu Canto & Fisher, working there from March 2004 to December 2010

Worked as Chief Legal Counsel, Office of the Governor of Guam, from January 2011 to present

Chief practice has been as a litigator with extensive trial, arbitration, and mediation experience in criminal law, domestic and family law, juvenile law, corporate and business law, administrative public agency law, telecommunications law, class actions, employment law.