The Court’s Judicial Officers
The first judge appointed to the District Court under the Organic Act was Paul D. Shriver, a native of Colorado. A hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was held on Shriver’s nomination on February 27, 1951. The unpublished transcript of the hearing indicates that Shriver worked in government in Washington, D.C. and Colorado prior to World War II; he served in Italy with the Military Government Division during World War II; and for approximately four years prior to the appointment to the District Court judgeship in Guam, he served in the Philippines as General Counsel for the Philippine War Damage Commission.
Shriver served two four-year terms as the District Judge for Guam. He was re-nominated to be Judge by President John F. Kennedy after Judge Eugene R. Gilmartin died in office in 1961. Court records show his term began in March of 1961 and terminated with the court in September 1969.
Eugene R. Gilmartin of Rhode Island succeeded Judge Shriver in 1959. After his appointment by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gilmartin’s nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee took place on August 19, 1959. The unpublished transcript of the nomination hearing indicates that Gilmartin had been serving as the District Judge of Guam under a recess appointment that began on October 17, 1958. Prior to that appointment, Gilmartin had served as the Deputy High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands for seventeen months. Before that, Gilmartin served in a variety of private practice and government positions in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. Judge Gilmartin died in office in 1961.
Cristobal C. Duenas, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, was appointed by President Richard M. Nixon on September 23, 1969 to be the next judge for the District Court of Guam. On December 10, he was confirmed by the Senate and commissioned the next day. By December 24, 1969, he was o_cially sworn in as the Judge of the District Court of Guam. In June of 1977, Judge Duenas was reappointed for a second term, and he retired as a Senior Judge in 1991. He died on February 14, 2010 after a long and distinguished judicial career.
President George H.W. Bush nominated John Sablan Unpingco to be the next judge for the District Court of Guam. The Senate confirmed the Presidential nomination on September 24, 1992 and the nominee was commissioned on October 9, 1992. An investiture ceremony was held on December 22, 1992 on the 6th Floor of the Pacific News building where the District Court of Guam was located.
Judge Unpingco received a Master of Laws degree, specializing in International Law, from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctorate from New York University, New York City; Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. Judge Unpingco resigned from office effective April 30, 2004, after serving eleven years with the court.
Frances Marie Tydingco-Gatewood’s nomination by President George W. Bush was announced in July of 2006. She was confirmed by the Senate on August 8, 2006. On October 30, 2006, she was officially sworn in as the new Chief Judge for the District Court of Guam, and became the first Chamorro female chief judge in the nation. She is currently a member of three Ninth Circuit Court committees: the Conference of Chief District Judges, the Conference of Chief Bankruptcy Judges, and the Pacific Islands Committee. She also serves as co-chairperson for the Pacific Judicial Council Education Committee. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1980 from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1983.
On February 9, 2004, Joaquin V.E. Manibusan, Jr. began his term as the first U.S. Magistrate Judge of the District Court of Guam and the first Chamorro Magistrate Judge in the nation. He was appointed to an eight year term by then-Chief Judge John S. Unpingco. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971 and his Juris Doctorate from Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley in 1974.