Retired Chief Justice Peter Siquenza, Jr., passed away at home on March 30, 2020, surrounded by his loved ones, according to Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido.
In a statement, Carbullido said the Judiciary mourns the loss of a great jurist, and many also mourn the loss of a dear friend.
“Chief Justice Siguenza was a pioneer in our judicial system, with a brand of justice that was as unique as it was thoughtful, deliberate, and reasoned. So much of his life was devoted to serving the public and improving the administration of justice,” Carbullido said.
After 12 years as a trial judge in the Superior Court of Guam, Siguenza was appointed as the first Chief Justice of I Kotten Mas Takhelo Guåhan in 1996. He served the people of Guam as a judicial officer for nearly 19 years, retiring from the bench in January 2003.
According to Carbullido, Chief Justice Siguenza served his term during some very tumultuous times in the court’s history, with the challenges of re-establishing the Supreme Court of Guam and forging a Unified Judiciary. He unwaveringly dedicated the latter part of his career to ensuring the unification of the Superior and Supreme Courts, establishing the Judiciary in the framework of the Organic Act, and reorganizing the Judiciary as the third co-equal and independent branch of the Government of Guam.
“Although he retired before the unification, the Unified Judiciary we all serve in today is a credit to his efforts. I had the distinct privilege of serving alongside him as a colleague on the bench – I at the beginning of my career as a justice, and he at the end of his. I came to know this about him: He was undaunted by public criticism in the face of doing what he believed was correct under the law; he never bowed to partisan interests, and applied the law with an even hand; he remained a vigorous advocate for equal partnership with the other branches of government. And amid all these grand and admirable qualities, let us never forget his unrivaled sense of humor, his musical talent, his love for the ocean and for his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and his refusal to conform to anything other than who he was. He will be missed tremendously,” Carbullido said.
He added: “On behalf of my fellow justices of the Supreme Court of Guam, the judicial officers of the Superior Court of Guam, and the entire Judicial Branch, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Kathy Fokas Siguenza, his daughter and a member of our court management, Dawn Siguenza Blas, and their entire family. Be assured, he has left a great legacy that shall not soon be forgotten. May he rest in peace.”