Opinion issued in Guam Music appeal - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Opinion issued in Guam Music appeal

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Superior Court should have considered the administration and enforcement provisions found in the law that apply to the taxes paid by Guam Music, Inc. to operate amusement devices that were deemed illegal. The Guam Supreme Court issued an opinion in Guam Music Inc's appeal over the legality of amusement devices such as Uncle Sam and Liberty machines. 

In May 2008 the Department of Revenue and Taxation issued GMI license non-renewal notices to operate.  GMI appealed in June of that same year and requested the licenses be reissued.  At the direction of the governor, the licenses were reissued but in July, the Attorney General demanded DRT to revoke the licenses, prompting litigation.  A Superior Court judge granted the AG's Office's writ of mandamus request authorizing the revocation of the licenses. He also denied GMI's motion to intervene as well as their request for a new trial. 

The trial court said it was unable to identify any possible remedy as the law does not explain how to appeal a determination by DRT that an amusement device is illegal or how to appeal the revocation of a license.  The Supreme Court found that GMI is not entitled to a hearing under the Administrative Adjudication Law and reversed the trial court's finding of mootness in both cases. 

In the opinion the appellate court found that the trial court didn't consider the administration and enforcement provisions found in the law that apply to the taxes paid by GMI to operate the contested amusement devices.  Justices noted that the trial court should have provided GMI with the opportunity to present evidence and arguments on the finding of mootness and in order to do, it should have determined whether GMI's amusement devices were in fact illegal gambling devices which could have led to the determination of whether the licenses were properly revoked. 

The matter was remanded the case to the Superior Court to consider what remedies, if any, are available to GMI under the Business Privilege Tax law.

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