Guam Supreme Court Decision in People v. Rasauo

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Guam – The Supreme Court of Guam has affirmed the misdemeanor conviction of Kesner Rasauo.

Rasauo appealed the Superior Court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence which he argued was in violation of his Miranda rights. And he filed a motion to dismiss for violation of his speedy trial rights because he was not promptly arraigned.

Rasauo argued the appearance date set by the Notice to Appear was more than one year from the initial date of the arrest, and the arraignment date was more than 90 days from the date the complaint was filed.

However, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido and concurred by Justices Robert J. Torres and Katherine A. Maraman, the court determined that Rasauo’s Miranda rights were violated when the police failed to provide him an adequate translation of one of the warnings.

But, the court stated the error in denying the motion to suppress was harmless, because there was other duplicative evidence in the record and the admission of his custodial statements was cumulative and unimportant in relation to everything else the jury considered.

Regarding the motion to dismiss on statutory speedy trial grounds, the court held a defendant seeking to reverse a conviction upon appeal due to unnecessary delay of his arraignment date must demonstrate a prejudicial effect stemming from the delay.

Because Rasauo did not appeal the denial of the motion prior to trial he therefore had the additional burden of showing that any delay prejudiced his trial.

After a review of the record, the court ultimately found that Rasauo failed to show that any delay of his first appearance date or of the arraignment date prejudiced his case.

Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 1, 2011 – The Supreme Court of Guam
today issued an opinion in the case of People v. Rasauo, 2011 Guam 1. Kesner Rasauo,
was convicted after a jury trial of two charges of drunk driving as a misdemeanor.
Rasauo appealed the Superior Court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence in
violation of his Miranda rights, and a motion to dismiss for violation of his speedy trial
rights because he was not promptly arraigned. Specifically, Rasauo argued the
appearance date set by the Notice to Appear was more than one year from the initial date
of the arrest, and the arraignment date was more than 90 days from the date the complaint
was filed.
In an opinion authored by Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido and concurred by
Justice Robert J. Torres and Justice Katherine A. Maraman, the court determined that
Rasauo’s Miranda rights were violated when the police failed to provide him an adequate
translation of one of the warnings. However, the court stated the error in denying the
motion to suppress was harmless, because there was other duplicative evidence in the
record and the admission of his custodial statements was cumulative and unimportant in
relation to everything else the jury considered.
Regarding the motion to dismiss on statutory speedy trial grounds, the court held
a defendant seeking to reverse a conviction upon appeal due to unnecessary delay of his

arraignment date must demonstrate a prejudicial effect stemming from the delay.
Because Rasauo did not appeal the denial of the motion prior to trial he therefore had the
additional burden of showing that any delay prejudiced his trial. After a review of the
record, the court ultimately found that Rasauo failed to show that any delay of his first
appearance date or of the arraignment date prejudiced his case. Accordingly, the
judgment was affirmed.