FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (September 12, 2017 – Hagåtña) – In an effort to protect victims and witnesses of family violence and other crimes, Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje has introduced two bills:
• Bill No. 177-34 (COR) – An Act to ensure the safety of victims of and witnesses of family violence and other crimes by including electronic monitoring as a condition of pretrial release by amending § 30.21(a) of Chapter 30, Title 9, and §§ 40.15, 40.20, and 40.60 of Chapter 40, Title 8, Guam Code Annotated.
• Bill No. 175-34 (COR) – An Act to ensure that Guam’s Family Violence Laws are enforceable and that family violence cases are successfully prosecuted by amending § 30.10 of Title 9, Guam Code Annotated.
Bill No. 177-34 allows judges to impose electronic monitoring as a condition during pretrial release of persons charged with family violence and other crimes. This bill is intended to ensure the protection of victims and witnesses of family violence, and is motivated by news reports of persons committing further acts of violence after arrest and pending trial, such as the 2013 tragic death of Emma Catapang Cepeda, who was shot to death in her home at the age of 35 by her estranged husband while he was on pretrial release on charges of terrorizing and family violence. Cases in Guam and other jurisdictions have proven that arrest, protective orders, and strict release conditions issued by the courts are sometimes not enough to deter further violence on release pending trial. Electronic monitoring systems that notify victims and law enforcement when a defendant violates a stay-away order may help to ensure victims’ safety pending trial.
Read the bill as introduced here: Bill 177-34 (COR)
Bill No. 175-34 promptly clarifies the existing definition of family violence following the Supreme Court of Guam reversal earlier this month of a family violence conviction due to the 9 GCA § 30.10(a)(2) being unconstitutionally vague. The Supreme Court of Guam in People v. Shimizu, 2017 Guam 11, determined that the language in the statute defining “family violence” as including “placing a family or household member in fear of bodily injury” did not provide fair notice to ordinary citizens as to what conduct it prohibits, and it did not establish minimal guidelines to govern law enforcement. Bill No. 175-34 will ensure that Guam’s family violence laws are enforceable and that family violence cases are successfully prosecuted. 9 GCA § 30.10 (a)(2) is amended by this Act to ensure that the statute provides fair notice as to what conduct it prohibits and to ensure that the statute establishes required guidelines for law enforcement.
Read the bill as introduced here: Bill 175-34 (COR)
“Family violence has long lasting impacts to our entire community. It is my hope that these measures will prevent another death, and empower victims to live without fear of further harm to them or their children. Prevention of further tragedy is our priority and deserves the best use of our resources, such as electronic monitoring systems,” stated Terlaje.
For more information, please call the Office of Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje at (671) 472-3586.