The recent weeks have brought a string of Superior Court decisions ruling in favor of COVID-19 petitioners as a number of travelers claimed their constitutional rights were being violated by being forced into a government quarantine facility under the threat of criminal prosecution.
The argument brought before Judge Elyze Iriarte was highlighted in each case with one resounding similarity — none of them had been advised of their right to contest or be represented by an attorney, according to Atty. Jacqueline Terlaje, the lawyer of a quarantined person.
Late Friday evening, Public Health was ordered to immediately release Janela Cruz and her two sons from the government quarantine facility. Sean Convento was also released to home quarantine the same night. This was followed by the immediate release of MMA fighter Roque Martinez and his mother Odessa Martinez, on Saturday evening after Judge Iriarte granted their petition based on Section 3333 of Title 10 the Guam Code Annotated.
The judge said that the statute and Governor’s EO contained matching language.
“I do believe that Section 3333 is applicable in this case in addition because the Martinezes both have a document indicating they’ve been tested for COVID and determined to not have COVID and those tests were taken not more than one week prior to their entry to Guam. In addition, the fact that they were not in an infected jurisdiction for more than one week and returned to Guam within seven days,” she said.
Executive Order 2020-33 was issued by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero the following day. The new EO rescinds ALL previous sections of EOs detailing anything related to quarantine or home quarantine and replaces everything with a blanket EO.
Atty. Jacqueline Terlaje shares her interpretation of the new executive order.
“I see that what she has done is repealed the specific provisions of restrictions of entry into Guam, which the way that I see it is that there’s a list of the mandatory quarantine with respect to that particular provision,” she said.
However, Terlaje said the one issue that is not addressed in the EO is Public Health’s failure to advise passengers of their rights.
“What I can tell you is what I did see in the five cases that were provided and presented to the Superior Court of Guam … is that in all five cases was a consistent failure by the DPHSS to advise people accordingly of their rights as required by Guam law,” Terlaje said.
She added that she is not aware of any language in the governor’s executive order addressing this perceived failure or guidance issued to Public Health on these constitutional rights issues.