Significant Cases of the District Court of Guam

Laguana v. Ansell, 102 F. Supp. 919 (D. Guam 1952)
Judge Paul Shriver concluded that the Guam territorial income tax was not a federal tax collected by the United States, but a territorial tax allowed by § 31 of the Organic Act.  “I hold that the effect of Sec. 31 is to impose a territorial tax to be collected by the proper officials of the Government of Guam.”

Vicente R. Palomo v. United States, 188 F. Supp. 633 (D. Guam 1960)
A private landowner who had leased property to the United States led suit against the federal government to recover for damage to his property.  Judge Gilmartin determined that the landowner’s suit was allowed under tort or contract theory, and also under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Andrew M. Gayle v. Governor of Guam, 414 F. Supp. 636 (D. Guam 1976)
In the aftermath of Typhoon Pamela, gubernatorial executive orders declared martial law and established a curfew for the island.  Judge Duenas struck down these executive orders as unconstitutional, finding that “while the Organic Act authorized the Governor to declare martial law, he may exercise that authority only in case of rebellion or invasion, or imminent danger thereof.

Territorial Prosecutor v. Superior Court of Guam, Civil Case No. 82-0215 (D. Guam App. Div. May 26, 1983)  (unreported opinion)
Judges Duenas, Gilliam and Laureta, in an Appellate Division panel decision, struck down the Guam law that created the Office of Territorial Prosecutor.  Judge Duenas,writing for the panel, found the Act to be “inconsistent with the mandate of Organic Act in that it impermissibly encroaches upon the Governor’s removal powers as set forth in 48 U.S.C. § 1422.

Government of Guam v. Superior Court of Guam, Civil Case No. 91-00076 (D. Guam App. Div. Nov. 18, 1991)(unpublished order), a’d, 998 F.2d 754 (9th Cir. 1993)
Dai-Ichi Hotel argued that an action for a rebate of income taxes under a provision of local contract law should be go forward in the Superior Court.  Judges Goodwin, Crocker, and Munson, in an Appellate Division decision, held that “the Organic Act contemplated that all suits for a refund of income taxes, whatever the basis for the suit, be brought in the District Court.”  The Ninth Circuit affirmed, writing that “a specific  provision of the tax code need not be the central issue in the case; rather, taxes need only be involved.”

United States v. Mi Kyung Byun, Criminal Case No. 00-00049 (D. Guam May 3, 2007) (unpublished order), a’d, 539 F.3d 982 (9th Cir. 2008)
After Mi Kyung Byun pleaded guilty to “importation into the United States of any alien for the purpose of prostitution,” Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood determined that the defendant had committed a “sex offense” within the meaning of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.  Thee Ninth Circuit affirmed this question of first impression, holding that importation of an alien for purposes of prostitution does indeed constitute such a “sex offense,” and therefore requires compliance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.