Judge orders Public Health to release more people from quarantine

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Atty. Tom Fisher (PNC file photo)

There are a number of fed-up travelers in quarantine seeking release from what they described as being held against their will and late this afternoon, the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) was ordered to immediately release four individuals from the government quarantine facility. 

Attorney Tom Fisher represents Sean Convento, who was quarantined off a flight from Seattle, Washington.  

“When he arrived at the airport, he was thrown into involuntary confinement at the Westin Hotel. He was not informed that he had a right to a court-appointed attorney that he would not have to pay for,” says Fisher.

There was no petition filed by the Attorney General or DPHSS to keep him incarcerated beyond ten days and all of those things are requirements of the law. He has been held in confinement in a 120 square foot box for some 12 days and was never tested by Public Health, Fisher said.

In fact, Convento presented DPHSS with proof that he had tested negative for COVID-19 but according to Fisher, the department disregarded the test. 

Superior Court Judge Elyze Iriarte noted the illegality of the government’s actions in the case and put her foot down.

“She said we are not going to put up with it. These are fundamental constitutional rights. And this gentlemen’s rights have been violated and we’re just not going to put up with it. Essentially and she ordered his release,” the lawyer said.

Fisher put the offer on the table telling the government that he would dismiss the petition if Convento was released, the government agreed.

Attorney Rachel Taimanao-Ayuyu represents Janela Cruz and her two sons. They were also granted their immediate release from the quarantine facility.

“The particular concern in that case was the government essentially strong-armed Mrs. Cruz into quarantine,” Fisher said, adding that she hadn’t traveled off-island, instead, she went to the airport to pick up her two children.

“Public Health in conjunction with the Guam Police Department and perhaps the Airport Police told her that we’re going to take your kids and may try to get CPS involved in this unless you agree to accompany your children into quarantine. So, of course, she didn’t have a choice,” Fisher said.

Four cases were heard simultaneously. The Cruz case and Convento case were heard and granted. Meanwhile, the Lang and Martinez cases are will continue tomorrow.

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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.