Supreme Court denies motion for dismissal in Torre case

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Mark Torre Jr. was first charged with the shooting death of fellow police officer Elbert Piolo in 2015. His case has now gone before the Supreme Court twice, with the high court reversing the convictions and remanding the case back to the lower court for a second trial. (PNC file photo)

The Supreme Court of Guam has denied Mark Torre Jr.’s petition to have the negligent homicide charge against him dismissed, ruling that Torre’s right to a speedy trial was not violated.

Torre had argued that good cause was not shown where he moved to dismiss the amended indictment on October 8, 2019, which the trial court took under advisement 24 days later, on October 31, 2019.

From there, the court took another 24 days to issue its decision and order on November 25, 2019.

According to the Supreme Court ruling, the justices did not find those first 24 days unreasonably long since both parties needed that period to prepare and file their responsive pleadings.

“Neither do we view as unreasonably long the 24 days the court took to decide Torre’s motion to dismiss, which is a dispositive motion. Nor do we consider unreasonable the 48 days the court took to resolve Torre’s motion to dismiss from filing to resolution. We agree with the trial court that Torre’s motion to dismiss tolled the speedy trial clock for all 48 days,” the Supreme Court ruled.

Because 95 days elapsed between Torre’s arraignment and the commencement of trial, and Torre’s motion tolled 48 of those days, the Supreme Court ruled that 47 out of 60 days were not excludable for Torre’s speedy trial timeline and his rights under 8 GCA § 80.60 have not been violated.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court found that:

(1) Torre was arraigned on October 8, 2019, and his trial commenced for speedy trial purposes on January 10, 2020, when the court began voir dire in good faith; further,
(2) Torre’s motion to dismiss the amended indictment, filed on October 8, 2019, and resolved on November 25, 2019, tolled the speedy trial clock by 48 days.

“We conclude the trial court did not violate Torre’s rights under 8 GCA § 80.60 since only 47 days were not excludable between his arraignment and the commencement of trial, which remains within the 60-day period the speedy trial statute requires. For these reasons, we DENY Torre’s petition. We instruct the Clerk of Court to issue a judgment following these findings,” the Supreme Court ruled.

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