Guam – The Supreme Court of Guam has dismissed an appeal filed by Blue House defendant Song Ja Cha, noting a lack of jurisdiction to preside over her appeal.
“In light of the foregoing, we hereby grant the People’s motion to dismiss Cha’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction, and we remand the case for proceedings not inconsistent with this order,” the decision, released this morning, reads.
The Supreme Court, in their order, state that because the Blue House case is still ongoing at the Superior Court, they lack jurisdiction to entertain Cha’s appeal on double jeopardy grounds.
However, they also acknowledged that by law they could entertain an interlocutory appeal, or an appeal before a case has ended in the trial court, but only if it could expedite the conclusion of the case; if it protects the defendant from substantial injury; or if it clarifies issues in the administration of justice.
The problem, the justices noted, is that Cha has three co-defendants on the Blue House case, two of whom have asserted their rights to a speedy trial.
“Therefore, while entertainig this appeal on statutory grounds may materially advance the termination of the litigation or clarify further proceedings therein with respect to Cha, it serves to slow the disposition of the case, and potentially obfuscate its procedural posture, with respect to the co-defendants who specifically sought to exercise a constitutional right afforded to criminal defendants to catalyze trial,” the justices stated.
“Similarly, while this appeal may protect Cha from substantial and irreparable injury, the co-defendants asserting speedy trial rights and who remain confined may be inflicted with substantial and irreparable harm caused by the delay of proceedings,” they added.