AG's Office: federal law doesn't apply on Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

AG's Office: federal law doesn't apply on Guam

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The case between the Guam Police Department and KUAM was back in the courtroom today, as the parties asked for more time before an evidentiary hearing is held. But it seems there's some confusion as the assistant attorney general representing GPD has stated that the federal Protection Privacy Act of 1980 does not apply in United States territories.

The Attorney General's Office has publicly stated that had they been consulted by GPD about the search warrant, they would have advised not to proceed with executing the warrant at the KUAM Studios in Harmon. While GPD's Legal Counsel Jim Mitchell retired last week, GPD is now represented by Assistant Attorney General Rob Weinberg.  "The Attorney General's Office represents the Government of Guam line agencies, and Mr. Mitchell retired, so we took over," said Weinberg.

Weinberg asked the court to cancel an evidentiary hearing scheduled for next week that would have determined who has legal possession over a single document that was seized from the KUAM Studios when police executed a search warrant last month. That document showed that then-police chief Paul Suba had ordered that John Edwards be hired as a Police Officer Trainee, even though there were concerns over the results of his polygraph examination that was later confirmed to be deceptive.

GPD has argued that the document was stolen from the department's personnel files and therefore it is a possession of the force.

KUAM, through our legal counsel Calvo & Clark, has argued that the copy of the document we aired on our television broadcast is rightfully ours.  "I don't know how  they're going to do that," Weinberg continued, "because it doesn't have their name on it, they didn't write it, it was taken in some fashion by someone and delivered to KUAM."

Calvo & Clark attorney Arthur Clark stated, "I don't know what more we need to prove than that the document was in our possession when police came and ceased it.  That's undisputed."

The court remains in possession of the document that was seized and analyzed for fingerprints.

In the meantime KUAM has argued that the search warrant police executed at our offices last month was a clear violation of the Privacy Protection Act.  Assistant AG Weinberg disagrees, saying, "The federal Privacy Protection Act is a question that needs to be addressed by this court because it does not, we contend, apply to Guam because Congress has not abrogated immunity, not to get into arguments."

Clark said, "We've reviewed the motion and don't find that there is very much merit to it, they argue that the federal law doesn't apply on Guam when there's a provision that the federal law expressly says that it applies to the territories of the U.S., so I just don't know who's doing their research."

Judge Perez set a July 7 hearing allowing KUAM to provide a response to GPD's motion to dismiss.  The court will then determine whether discovery and evidentiary hearings will be necessary.

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