No quorum means no Parole Board meetings
by Nick Delgado
Guam - The list of parolees at the Department of Corrections is piling up because the Parole Board lacks quorum to hold its meetings. "If there is no hearing it just basically stacks up so for two months we have not had a hearing, so it's just going to stack up on each other now," said Lieutenant Antone Aguon.
The Guam Parole Board has not held a meeting since February, so far impacting nearly 20 inmates that are up for parole. Aguon continued, "I'm pretty sure some of them are upset expecting to go before the board unfortunately we had to let them know this is out of our hands." Aguon, DepCor's spokesperson, says the board's dilemma comes on the heels of legislation recently signed into law.
"There's no merit to that opinion or comment simply because this is a new law in fact two days ago I communicated with social workers and I urged them I even offered my office as a coordinating point where resumes can be submitted," added Senator Adolpho Palacios.
The measure changed the composition of the Parole Board from five to seven members, essentially meaning that four would make a quorum. The problem is there are only three active sitting members. Senator Palacios says he sent letters to Adelup about the concern. "I really urge the governor and that's actually the nature of my letter and when I met the governor during the State of the Judiciary Address last Monday, I brought it to his attention and it appears to me that he is not very familiar with the vacancies existing," he said.
While there has been no word from Adelup on the appointments yet, Aguon admits Guam law forced them to take action. He said, "We've had to let out a few parolees that were waiting for violations, because under the law you have to take them before the board within 60 days of confining them for a parole violation."
Aguon says several years ago the board was faced with the same problem, and did not hold meetings for four months. As a result he says the inmates up for parole at the time filed lawsuits against the agency. While Aguon says they are communicating with Adelup on the matter, he also admits the new law now requires them to review the existing members, as new requirements were implemented.
In the meantime, Aguon agrees no appointments in place mean no confirmation hearings anytime soon, and he says it's obvious the board will again lack quorum in May.