Mistrial declared in Charfauros case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Mistrial declared in Charfauros case

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A mistrial has been declared in the case involving former Guam police colonel Mark Charfauros.

Defense counsel filed the motion on Wednesday after GPD officer Craig Calvo testified that he had reason to believe the ex-colonel was affiliated with the Agat Blood Town gang.

 “My client is not on trial for being a gang member, not for allegedly violating practices of his duties of his office. Now the whole defense is that he is a gang member, that’s why he did what he did and that’s not the case your honor. That’s a complete smear campaign of his character,” defense attorney Randall Cunliffe said. “This has been all over social media, it’s been all over the news and is almost impossible to have missed in this situation and we believe the court has an obligation to allow my client have a fair trial and grant a mistrial in this case."

However, prosecutor Peter Santos told the court it’s not illegal in Guam to be in a gang, and argued against the motion for mistrial. 

“We believe that this was a premature motion,” Santos said. “We weren’t allowed to develop the testimony. The full testimony is not out there so to say that one simple statement is going to tank this whole case is very premature.” 

Defense questioned why the gang issue was ever brought in the first place. 

“Why is it too early? If I have to now spend three quarters of the trial defending my client – how do you know he is a member or affiliated with the Agat gang, what evidence do you have? It’s a bold statement,” Cunliffe said. “Would they have made him a colonel of the police department if he was affiliated with a gang.” 

“I don’t know that any gang was ever formed to set off fireworks on Christmas Eve,” he said. 

The prosecution advised the court that jurors should be given specific instructions regarding what officer Calvo stated on the stand about Charfauros. 

“No one ever said he is a member of a gang but that he is familiar with them, maybe sympathetic to them or related,” Santos said. “Any of that that may come up later is not to be used in weighing the defendant’s guilt or innocence.” 

Charfauros was on trial for misdemeanor obstructing governmental functions and official misconduct charges. The allegations surfaced after he was seen on police body camera video yelling at junior officers responding to a call of fireworks in Agat back in 2016.

Charfauros and his attorney declined to comment following the court's decision. 

The prosecution said it respected the courts decision and will be reviewing its next step.

The mistrial however does not mean the charges against Charfauros have been thrown out.

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