Sukola steps away from KUAM's case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Sukola steps away from KUAM's case

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - KUAM's attorneys from the Calvo & Clark law firm went to the Superior Court this afternoon as we are attempting to have the search warrant quashed (essentially set aside), as they've alleged that the search warrant was defective and completely in violation of the federal Privacy Protection Act of 1980.

KUAM also filed a civil suit against the Guam Police Department and the Government of Guam.  Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola allowed media access into her courtroom, as she proceeded to disqualify herself from hearing the matter for two reasons.

The judge said, "The court feels and abiding duty to disqualify itself from hearing this matter because of the potential conflict of interest and the existence of an appearance of impropriety. For those reasons I am disqualifying myself to give you an independent review of the concerns before the court."

The judge explained that her law clerk is a close relative of KUAM reporter Mindy Aguon's husband.  Aguon is named in the GPD affidavit that was attached to the search warrant.  

GPD legal counsel Jim Mitchell declined to do an interview because of the company's ongoing litigation against the police department and the Government of Guam.

KUAM attorney Mike Pangelinan meanwhile says they are now waiting to see which judge will be assigned this case as they want the matter resolved immediately, noting, "I can understand that any judge that has one of its employees who may have an interest in the case, usually the judge will not want to be involved so that the parties can have an impartial hearing."  

Pangelinan also added, "When your rights are violated, that law gives you the right to sue the agency for damages and to stop them from doing that."

It's expected that a Superior Court judge will hear KUAM's motion to quash the search warrant sometime on Monday.

The Privacy Protection Act prevents investigators from searching newsrooms to uncover information or sources that a news organization has assembled.

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