The Judicial Efficiency Act became law on July 11, 2006 through Public Law 28-137:1. As contemplated by the Act, the Supreme Court of Guam adopted Administrative Rule 06-001 on September 15, 2006 regarding Case Management & Disposition. AR06-001 established time standards for the efficient and prompt disposition of matters pending before the Superior Court of Guam and remained unchanged until September 1, 2013. [To review AR06-001, click through this link: Administrative Rule 06-001.]
In 2011, the National Center for State Courts updated its recommended model time standards regarding trial court cases. Upon consideration of those updates, the Supreme Court of Guam revisited its trial court time standards and adopted Administrative Rule 13-003 on May 13, 2013, to take effect September 1, 2013. AR13-003 is now in place. [To review AR13-003, click through this link: Administrative Rule 13-003.]
In addition, on April 3, 2012, time standards were adopted through Administrative Rule 12-01 relative to cases filed in the Supreme Court of Guam. To review the appellate court’s AR12-01 time standards, click through this link: Administrative Rule 12-01. Periodic reports will be prepared and published to illustrate the Supreme Court’s performance relative to its time standards. The court’s most recent reports can be reviewed by clicking through the following links:
Supreme Court Decisions April 3, 2012 to December 3, 2013
Supreme Court Matters Under Advisement as of December 3, 2013
The Judicial Efficiency Act, AR06-001, AR13-003, and AR12-01 have been, and will continue to be, vital components of the Unified Judiciary's commitment to transparency, accountability, and efficiency. The information provided here continues the Judiciary’s commitment to providing timely and meaningful information regarding the functioning of the Judiciary.
TRIAL COURT TIME STANDARDS
The time standards established by AR13-003 contemplate two distinct time standards, as did AR06-001. The Under Advisement time standards provide a judge with 90 days to issue a decision on any motion taken under advisement, and 120 days to issue a decision on matters other than motions a judge takes under advisement. The AR13-003 Case Age time standards establish timelines regarding the amount of time it should take to conclude a case after it is filed. The Under Advisement time standards did not change when AR13-003 replaced AR06-001. However, the AR06-001 Case Age time standards were updated somewhat by AR13-003.
The Under Advisement time standards adopted through AR06-001 remain unchanged in AR13-003. When a matter is taken “Under Advisement” by a judge, awaiting a later decision by the judge, it must be resolved within 90 days if it is a motion or 120 days if it is something other than a motion.
Matters Under Advisement
Matters pending Under Advisement before each judge at periodic times is provided in the following reports:
Case Age Time Standards
AR13-003 describes specific Case Age time lines that apply to each type of case. (Please review the details of AR13-003 for specific information regarding each case type through this link: Administrative Rule 13-003.) Absent a finding of “good cause” by the assigned judge, cases are expected to be concluded at a rate consistent with the AR13-003 Case Age time standards.
It is important to provide data regarding Case Age time standards in an appropriate context. Typically, the reports published here identify the cases that have been open longer than contemplated by the applicable Case Age time standards. It is important to note that these reports do not provide “total case load” information, thus they do not illustrate the significant regular caseloads of our trial court judges which they typically handle efficiently and diligently day-in and day-out. More than 9,000 new cases are filed in the Superior Court of Guam each year. More than 2,000 of those are usually criminal cases. The seven trial court judges are each assigned approximately 900 new cases each year, of which more than 90% are usually concluded within the Case Age time standards However, a small percentage of cases remain open longer than what is contemplated by the Case Age time standards. Our periodic reports are meant to identify and track those cases so they can be brought to conclusion.
The AR13-003 Case Age time standards apply to cases filed on or after September 1, 2013, while the AR06-001 Case Age time standards will still govern cases filed prior to September 1, 2013. The AR06-001 time standards direct that criminal cases (CM & CF cases) should be concluded within 12 months, domestic cases (DM cases should be concluded ) within 15 months, and all other civil cases (CV, SP, LR, PR, etc. cases) should be concluded within 18 months. It is important to note that a case’s “time clock” is not running, for Case Age purposes, when the assigned judge is unable to move the case forward. Thus, if there is an outstanding warrant of arrest in a criminal case, or if a civil cases is on appeal, or the parties are involved in some form of alternative dispute resolution seeking to resolve the case, the case does not “age” relative to the Case Age time standards.
A comprehensive report was prepared in July 2012 identifying the open and active cases assigned to each judge that had been open and active in excess of the AR06-001 Case Age time standards. The data in that report has been updated three times since July 2012 to remove cases from each judge’s listing that had reached conclusion. The updates were dated September 1, 2012, March 1, 2013, and October 1, 2013. The chart below shows the number of cases each current judge had on each of the four reports report. (For greater detail regarding each judge’s four periodic reports please see below.) It is important to note that no cases were added to the three later reports. Rather, the July 1, 2012 report was treated as the “master listing,” and cases were simply removed from it in preparing the later reports if they had reached conclusion. While other cases likely “aged” past the Case Age time standards limits between July 1, 2012 and October 1, 2013, those cases are not captured in these reports.
Each of the five July 1, 2012 reports can be reviewed here:
The July 1, 2012 data reports were first updated on September 1, 2012. Those reports can be reviewed here, inclusive of current status information for each case:
The reports were again updated on Mach 1, 2013. Those reports can be reviewed here, inclusive of current status information for each case
The reports were again updated on October 1, 2013. Those reports can be reviewed here, inclusive of current status information for each case
OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION
The trial court’s total overall caseload year-to-year is relevant to the data in the case age reports above, and thus should be considered. The total number of cases filed each year from 2009 through 2012 (for certain case types)was as follows:
|CASES FILED IN Calendar Years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012
[Including Specialty Court cases, but not including all case types]
||Filed in 2009
|CRIMINAL CASE TOTALS
||Filed in 2009
|Special Proceeding (SP)
|CV, DM, PR, & SP CASE TOTALS
HISTORICAL TRIAL COURT CASE LOAD INFORMATION
A broader historical perspective regarding the trial court’s caseload is provided below.
September, 2006 to October 2008
In 2008, two years after the 2006 adoption of the time standards, trial court cases filed between mid-2005 and mid-2007 were reviewed to assess how the trial courts were doing in moving cases to conclusion. The judges had an average of 1,325 cases assigned to them during the two-year test period. As of October, 2008, an average of only 39 cases from the sample period remained open and active before each of the judges. Thus, as of October 2008, the judges had closed 97% of the cases assigned to them between mid-2005 and mid-2007.
January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010
The case load carried by each trial court judge plays a significant role in the trial court’s collective effort to expeditiously move cases thorough to conclusion. Data was compiled in early 2011 illustrating the number of cases assigned to each of the trial court judges during the three-year period ending on December 31, 2010. The data is as follows:
TOTAL CASES ASSIGNED THREE-YEAR PERIOD (Jan 2008 - Dec 2010)
[Judges Currently on the Bench; Including Specialty Court Cases]
|Presiding Judge Alberto C. Lamorena III
|Judge Michael J. Bordallo
|Judge Anita A. Sukola
|Judge Arthur R. Barcinas
|Judge Vernon P. Perez (9/18/08)
Additional Under Advisement reports are provided here: