Mark Torre Jr. asks Guam Supreme Court to dismiss his case

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Mark Torre Jr. (PNC file photo)

Mark Torre Jr.’s defense attorney appealed to the Guam Supreme Court this morning asking that the negligent homicide charge he is facing be dismissed because his speedy trial right was violated.

The justices held a virtual hearing that was carried on the Guam high court’s YouTube Channel.

Torre, a former Guam police officer, is facing a re-trial for the 2015 shooting death of his then fellow police officer, Elbert Piolo.

The Guam Supreme Court dismissed his prior conviction on the grounds that the jury should never have been shown body camera video of Torre’s remarks after the shooting but before he had been read his Miranda rights.

The Guam Attorney General’s office re-filed the charges but Torre’s attorney, Anita Arriola, argued that the re-trial did not begin with-in the required 60 day period and she asked for the case to be dismissed.

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“In this case, my client asserted his right to a speedy trial on October 1, 2019. He signed a simple statement regarding speedy trial and that statement reflects Mr. Torre’s assertion of a fundamental statutory and constitutional right that Mr. Torre is entitled to a speedy trial. Guam’s speedy trial act provides that a court shall dismiss a criminal action if a person charged with a crime who is not in custody at the time of his or her arraignment is not brought to trial within 60 days of the arraignment. Dismissal is mandatory unless good cause is shown,” Arriola said.

The trial was supposed to have begun on Jan. 24 shortly after former Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo inherited the case early this year. But he was in transition to the District Court of Guam and informed all the parties on January 8th that he would soon be resigning.

Assistant Attorney General Marianne Woloschuk opposed dismissal and disputed the timeline used by the defense.

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“In this case, the defendant asserted and was arraigned on October 8th. I think there was some argument earlier where the defendant was saying that he asserted on October 1st. But that is not the operative date. That is not the date he was arraigned. It starts with arraignment. That’s what it says in the statute,” Woloschuk said.

Carbullido said the court will take the matter under advisement. A decision will be issued at a later time.

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