by Mindy Aguon
Guam - District Court Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan will decide whether two police officers violated the constitutional rights of local businessman James Adkins when they detained and arrested him and confiscated his cell phone. Adkins was arrested last year after he took photos of a car crash on his mobile.
He was given a notice to appear in the Superior Court in September for failure to comply and obstruction of government operations. His attorney, Anita Arriola, told the court today that police had no right to stop her client, as he was not doing anything illegal. Arriola told the court, "No reasonable officer could have believed that my client's arrest was lawful".
Guam Police Department Legal Counsel Attorney Jim Mitchell argued that Chief Paul Suba and officers D.B. Anciano ands Serafino Artui cannot be held liable and the case should be dismissed. Mitchell added that there is no clearly established right or constitutional right for citizens to take photos. When the judge asked why the cell phone was taken, Mitchell responded saying police had to take it into evidence.
"We don't believe the charges are valid, and so it's my obligation legal obligation to represent my client's," he said.
The parties are waiting on Judge Manibusan to issue a decision on whether Adkins can send his phone off-island for additional testing to determine if the photos he took can be retrieved. The photos he took that caused him to be arrested have "mysteriously disappeared".
Judge Manibusan said he will make a report and recommendation on the motions to dismiss as soon as he can.