Judge Elyze Iriarte has stepped in once again, ordering the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) to immediately release a mother and her son from the government’s quarantine facility.
The Superior Court judge has been entertaining complaints of involuntary quarantine ruling in favor of COVID petitioners.
In this case, the petitioners Roque Martinez and his mother Odessa Martinez were quarantined under threat of criminal prosecution despite meeting several requirements for home quarantine to include negative test results for COVID-19.
The Martinezes have been in quarantine for about six days at the Dusit Thani hotel quarantine facility. They returned from a Las Vegas trip passing through Narita arriving on Guam, September 14.
Mr. Martinez, a mixed martial arts fighter, said he thought he could quarantine at home but was told he couldn’t. Public Health then crossed out his home address and put the Dust Thani. He says he was only shown the voluntary quarantine form and the directive for temporary quarantine but was never informed he had a right to contest or seek legal counsel.
“I obviously had no choice because you could see how strict it was. We couldn’t leave that airport area,” recalled Mr. Martinez.
Government attorney Sandra Miller pointed out that unlike the Marcus Lang case, the Martinezes would not be footing a bill. She also told the court that the couple needed to stay in government quarantine in case they become positive within the 14-day period despite the negative test.
Judge Iriarte, however, based her decision on section 3333 of Title 10 in the Guam Code Annotated (GCA).
“Looking at the plain language of this, several requirements have been met including that an epidemic and public health emergency has been declared by the Governor.”
Iriarte says the governor’s executive order and the statute have matching language, telling the government that she rejects their argument.
“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, they were not in an infected jurisdiction for more than one week and returned to Guam within seven days.”
Iriarte ordered the immediate release of the Martinez family.