Article published May 2, 2006

Carbullido: Justice system needs 'tools'

By Tammy Anderson
Pacific Daily News

The courts of Guam have upgraded technology and started new programs in the past year, but they will need additional money to keep up with the demands of the island's growing community, said Supreme Court Chief Justice Phillip Carbullido.
In his annual State of the Judiciary speech yesterday, Carbullido addressed the large crowd gathered in the first floor of the Guam Judicial Center. This was his fourth State of the Judiciary address.

Gov. Felix Camacho, senators, judges, attorneys, court staff and students were among those who listened as Carbullido described the improvements at the island's local courts.

Handling about 10,000 cases last year, offering adult and juvenile drug court programs and working toward an electronic case filing system were a few of the achievements Carbullido highlighted.

But, to keep improving the Judiciary's services, the third branch of government will need more money to buy "tools," Carbullido said.

"When we present our budget to the Legislature, we will not be asking for funding to hire more people to respond to the increased workload," Carbullido said. "What we will be asking instead is to give our bench and our court staff the tools to be efficient ... tools to stay abreast of the rapid changes in court technology."

The "tools" the Judiciary will be asking for include computer equipment for the staff and additional vehicles, said the court's Judiciary Policy Director Dan Tydingco.

With those tools, the court can improve their efficiency and continue or expand its therapeutic programs and specialty courts for crimes involving drugs, family violence and defendants with mental disabilities.
Carbullido also discussed a future that included having an electronic case filing system, building a new crime lab and establishing a new court standard that would push all felony case proceedings -- from a defendant being charged to being sentenced -- to be completed in a year.

Republican Sen. Robert Klitzkie, R-Yigo, who has legislative oversight of the courts, said he has been working with the Judiciary on legislation regarding the felony court proceedings standard and will introduce the legislation in a few days.
Sen. Ray Tenorio, R-Yigo and legislative public safety chairman, said he is concerned the Judiciary may ask for a larger budget from the government's limited coffers. The senator said if the Judiciary continues to become more efficient, they can save money and may not need to request a larger budget.

University of Guam student Godfrey Mostales, 26, said he thought Carbullido painted a bright future for the judicial system on Guam.

Mostales said he is glad Guam's Sex Offender Registry has been updated within the past year, but he would like to see more efforts in the construction of a new crime lab.

"Hopefully (the Judiciary) will work with the other branches of government to improve our island," Mostales said.



More Articles in May 2006