by Mindy Aguon
Guam - For the second time in several months, the U.S. Attorney's Office has been admonished by the District Court for violating a defendant's speedy trial rights. A case against Eric Arthur Berg was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the charges cannot be brought again, because the government violated his rights.
Berg was serving time for a forgery and identity theft conviction in New Mexico when he was indicted on Guam for mail fraud. Berg was accused of writing a $24,000 check to pay for a used car in Arizona, but the bank didn't honor the check. While he was in New Mexico, Berg provided notice that he was demanding a speedy trial.
District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood found that his rights were violated and the delay of Berg's case was "wholly the fault of the U.S. Attorney's Office" that provided no reasonable excuse for its failure to act more swiftly. The court noted in the dismissal order that just a few months ago, she dismissed another case with prejudice because of a similar violation due to the extremely lax attitude and lack of awareness of the speedy trial act by the u.S. Attorney's Office.