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Presiding Judge Alberto C. Lamorena III

 

Presiding Judge Alberto C. Lamorena III has dedicated his life to making Guam a better and safer place to live. After a distinguished five-term service to the people of Guam as a Senator of the Guam Legislature, Lamorena took over the helm of Guam's Judicial Branch in 1988, making history as Guam's youngest Presiding Judge of Chammoro heritage.

His leadership as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Guam has led to significant improvements in Guam's judicial development. His successful advocacy of justice with Guam's lawmakers has resulted in the establishment of laws that go far in protecting crime victims and toughening penalties for convicted criminals. The face of Guam's Judiciary today, with the creation of the Supreme Court of Guam and improved services of the Superior Court, is due largely to the leadership, dedication and vision of Presiding Judge Alberto C. Lamorena III.

But his involvement in Guam's judicial development extends beyond the courtrooms of the magnificent Judicial Complex in Agana that was built during his early tenure as Presiding Judge. Since 1988, Lamorena has been the judicial representative on the Commission on Self Determination which is steering the quest for an improved relationship between Guam and the U.S. government. Overseeing judicial interests, Lamorena remains active and in a leading role in the Commission in the pursuit of a new Commonwealth status for Guam.

In terms of the Pacific Region, Lamorena founded the Pacific Judicial Council in 1991, made up of Chief Justices throughout Micronesia; recognizing the importance of working closely with other judicial leaders to improve communication and judicial training and education programs. For four consecutive years, Lamorena's colleagues elected him Chairman of the Council which has served as an important forum for regional judicial leaders. Internationally, in 1995, Presiding Judge and PJC President Lamorena hosted the 11th South Pacific Judicial Conference, involving over 70 Judges and Justices From over 30 court jurisdictions in and around the Pacific and including Associate Anthony Kennedy from the U.S. Supreme Court as the key-note speaker. Lamorena also has been appointed as Special Judge to preside over some courts in Micronesia such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, the District Court of Guam and the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals.

Born on Guam on November 29, 1949, Lamorena spent his childhood days in Tamuning, active in various civic and non-profit organizations. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1967 and went on to pursue a political science degree and an accounting degree before obtaining his law degree in1977 from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Upon returning home, he practiced law for several years before heeding the call to public service.

Following in his late father's footsteps, the late Attorney Alberto T. Lamorena, A Senator in the 8th Guam Legislature, Lamorena was elected in 1978 as Senator to the 15th Guam Legislature. He served as Chairman of the important Ways and Means Committee for two terms and was chosen by his colleagues to become the Minority leader of the 19th Guam Legislature in 1986. Throughout his ten years as a lawmaker, Lamorena successfully sponsored the people of Guam, ranging from criminal justice to overall health, safety and welfare issues.

Among his many accomplishments, Senator Lamorena was responsible for the improvement of legal services to those in need when he served as Chairman of the Guam Legal Services Corporation and later as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Guam, and as Chairman of the Public Defender Service Board of Directors, which represents those who cannot afford but are in need of legal services. His concern for the common may, especially for those in need, paved the way to the enactment of laws that he authored which protected the rights of the mentally challenged and through the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) law, the protection and safety of Government of Guam workers in the work place.

Throughout his career, Lamorena has remained active in the community, having served as legal counsel to various religious, charitable, civic and non-profit organizations and was a part-time Associate Professor of the University of Guam. In 1977, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from the University of Guam. Today, he continues to assist the community in civic and education matters, implementing Superior Court of Guam internship programs with the University of Guam and the Guam Community College in the fields of Criminal Justice, Sociology and Counseling, utilizing the work experience in the courts as a practicum for students to earn credits.

Through his efforts and directives, the Superior Court of Guam has worked with the UOG of Micronesia Area Research Center on translating and preserving many historical Court documents-including the oldest known document discovered on Guam, the 1777 Spanish Resendencia that is currently on display in the Guam Judicial Center along with the speech of Chamorro Chief Hurao and the 1930 Brady Bill of Rights. He also commissioned the writing of the first and only Judicial Historical Review, documenting the History of Guam's Justice system from Chamorro traditional practice to the present day court system. Under his leadership, the Guam Judicial Center project was the first public building to use 1% of its construction cost to promote and purchase local work of arts.

When the call came to accept the challenge to lead the Judiciary in meeting the growing demands of Guam's judicial system, Lamorena became Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Guam in 1988 and immediately began making necessary improvements. In order to deal with the alarming increase of family violence cases that come before the courts, Lamorena created the Client Services and Counseling Services Division which provides forensic, psychiatric and psychological counseling for both victims and perpetrators of violent crimes. He was instrumental in enhancing public safety by increasing the number of court marshals and probation officers which supervise activities of criminal defendants before and after their convictions.

Under Lamorena's leadership, the Superior Court of Guam has improved its ability to manage its caseload more efficiently through automation. As Chairman of the Criminal Justices Automation Commission, Lamorena has implemented an automated system that allows all of Guam's law enforcement agencies to coordinate criminal cases from arrest to conviction.

From the Judiciary, Lamorena played a major role in the passage of laws that deal with Guam's social concerns. As Presiding Judge, he requested the Legislature to adopt a Victim's Bill of Rights which would ensure that victims receive restitution from crimes committed against them, as well as proper notification when offenders are either detained or released from custody. He was indeed the first to issue the call upon the leaders of the other branches of the government to tackle the problems of Guam's youth in the juvenile justice system, as well as the growing menace of the widespread use of crystal methamphetamine or "ice" that threatens the fabric of our Guam society and to recommend legislation to curb the increase in domestic violence.

Today, he serves locally as the Chairman of the Family Violence Task Force for the Territory, as Governor Carl Gutierrez's Co-Chairperson for the Guam Crime Commission and the Co-Chairperson for the First Lady Geri Gutierrez's War on Ice. Recently, he co-sponsored the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Workshop for the Western Pacific Region and Sponsored the first ever Pacific Judicial Conference on Family and Juvenile Delinquency, bringing in off-island experts in both instances to impart their knowledge to local and regional field professionals.

After having served his first seven-year term as judge, Lamorena went before Guam's voters in 1996 and received the overwhelming support of the people of Guam to remain Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Guam. During his ensuing years, Lamorena will carry through the vision of Guam's future that he Built through the guidance of his parents, the late former Senator Alberto Tomines Lamorena and Fe Grata Untalan Cristobal. His Chamorro heritage will Remain the guiding light in his path. His accomplishments are indeed well known and well documented on Guam, the region, nationally and internationally.

 
 
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