by Mindy Aguon
Guam - The Judiciary of Guam is in support of Bill 366 that would extend the term for magistrate judges. Currently there is only one magistrate judge, Alberto Tolentino, whose four year term expires next year. The legislation would not only allow the chief justice to keep the magistrate judge on board for another term, but also give him additional duties and responsibilities.
Chief Justice Philip Carbullido supports the measure, saying the process of legislative confirmation can be quite lengthy and passage of the legislation would promote efficiency in the judicial system. "The magistrate will also have the power to issue summons and bench warrants and the magistrate very importantly will be authorized to be appointed a special master by the presiding judge. There are complex civil cases where it would be helpful to appoint a master to focus in on a certain aspect of the case to expedite a certain resolution of the case," he detailed.
Other duties proposed for the magistrate include taking guilty pleas and sentencing misdemeanor cases, acting as a settlement judge in civil or domestic cases, being appointed a pro-tem judge and handling uncontested divorces.