[USC02] 48 USC CHAPTER 8A, SUBCHAPTER IV: THE JUDICIARY
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48 USC CHAPTER 8A, SUBCHAPTER IV: THE JUDICIARY
From Title 48—TERRITORIES AND INSULAR POSSESSIONSCHAPTER 8A—GUAM

SUBCHAPTER IV—THE JUDICIARY

§1424. District Court of Guam; local courts; jurisdiction

(a) District Court of Guam; unified court system

(1) The judicial authority of Guam shall be vested in a court established by Congress designated as the "District Court of Guam", and a judicial branch of Guam which branch shall constitute a unified judicial system and include an appellate court designated as the "Supreme Court of Guam", a trial court designated as the "Superior Court of Guam", and such other lower local courts as may have been or shall hereafter be established by the laws of Guam.

(2) The Supreme Court of Guam may, by rules of such court, create divisions of the Superior Court of Guam and other local courts of Guam.

(3) The courts of record for Guam shall be the District Court of Guam, the Supreme Court of Guam, the Superior Court of Guam (except the Traffic and Small Claims divisions of the Superior Court of Guam) and any other local courts or divisions of local courts that the Supreme Court of Guam shall designate.

(b) Jurisdiction

The District Court of Guam shall have the jurisdiction of a district court of the United States, including, but not limited to, the diversity jurisdiction provided for in section 1332 of title 28, and that of a bankruptcy court of the United States.

(c) Original jurisdiction

In addition to the jurisdiction described in subsection (b), the District Court of Guam shall have original jurisdiction in all other causes in Guam, jurisdiction over which is not then vested by the legislature in another court or other courts established by it. In causes brought in the district court solely on the basis of this subsection, the district court shall be considered a court established by the laws of Guam for the purpose of determining the requirements of indictment by grand jury or trial by jury.

(Aug. 1, 1950, ch. 512, §22, 64 Stat. 389; Aug. 27, 1954, ch. 1017, §1, 68 Stat. 882; Pub. L. 85–444, §§1, 2, June 4, 1958, 72 Stat. 178, 179; Pub. L. 95–598, title III, §335, Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2680; Pub. L. 98–454, title VIII, §§801, 803, title X, §1001, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1741, 1743, 1745; Pub. L. 108–378, §1(a), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2206.)

Amendments

2004—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 108–378 amended subsec. (a) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (a) read as follows: "The judicial authority of Guam shall be vested in a court of record established by Congress, designated the 'District Court of Guam,' and such local court or courts as may have been or shall hereafter be established by the laws of Guam in conformity with section 1424–1 of this title."

1984Pub. L. 98–454 amended section generally, striking out language which directed that no provisions of any rules which authorized or required trial by jury or the prosecution of offenses by indictment by a grand jury instead of by information be applicable to the District Court of Guam unless and until made so applicable by laws enacted by the Legislature of Guam, repealed that portion of section 1 of act Aug. 27, 1954, which had inserted such language originally, repealed section 335 of Pub. L. 95–598, which had amended this section, and transferred out of this section into sections 1424–1 to 1424–4, with amendments, the remaining provisions formerly set out in this section relating to the creation, jurisdiction, and rules governing procedure in the Guam judicial system.

1978—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 95–598, §335(a), inserted "and a bankruptcy court".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 95–598, §335(b), substituted "section 2075 of title 28, in cases under title 11," for "section 53 of title 11, in bankruptcy cases;".

1958—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 85–444 provided that the District Court of Guam shall have jurisdiction in all causes arising under the Constitution, treaties, and laws of the United States, regardless of the sum or value of the matter in controversy, and to insert the paragraph requiring appeals to the District Court to be heard and determined by an appellate division.

1954—Subsec. (b). Act Aug. 27, 1954, inserted provisions making it clear that trial by jury or the prosecution of offenses by indictment by a grand jury instead of by information shall not be required in the District Court of Guam until so required by laws enacted by the Legislature of Guam; and defining the terms "attorney for the government", and "United States attorney", as used in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, when applicable to cases arising under the laws of Guam.

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Pub. L. 98–454, title X, §1005, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1746, provided that: "Titles VII, VIII, IX, and X of this Act [enacting sections 1424–1 to 1424–4, 1493, and 1613a of this title, repealing section 1400 of this title, amending this section and sections 1424b, 1561, 1611, 1612, 1613, 1614, 1615, 1617, 1694, and 1821 to 1824 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 1424b, 1612, and 1614 of this title and section 373 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure] shall become effective on the ninetieth day following their enactment [Oct. 5, 1984]."

Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Amendment by section 335(b) of Pub. L. 95–598 effective Oct. 1, 1979, see section 402(a) of Pub. L. 95–598, set out as an Effective Date note preceding section 101 of Title 11, Bankruptcy.

Pub. L. 95–598, title IV, §402(e), Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2682, which provided a prospective effective date for the amendment of subsec. (a) by section 335(a) of Pub. L. 95–598, was repealed by section 1001 of Pub. L. 98–454.

Effective Date of 1954 Amendment

Act Aug. 27, 1954, ch. 1017, §2, 68 Stat. 883, provided that: "The amendment made by section 1 [amending this section] shall be deemed to be in effect as of August 1, 1950."

Separability

Act Aug. 27, 1954, ch. 1017, §4, 68 Stat. 883, provided: "If any particular provision of this Act [amending this section and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section], or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby."

Nonreversal of Convictions Prior to August 27, 1954

Act Aug. 27, 1954, ch. 1017, §3, 68 Stat. 883, provided: "No conviction of a defendant in a criminal proceeding in the District Court of Guam heretofore had shall be reversed or set aside on the ground that the defendant was not indicted by a grand jury or tried by a petit jury."

§1424–1. Jurisdiction and powers of local courts

(a) Supreme Court of Guam

The Supreme Court of Guam shall be the highest court of the judicial branch of Guam (excluding the District Court of Guam) and shall—

(1) have original jurisdiction over proceedings necessary to protect its appellate jurisdiction and supervisory authority and such other original jurisdiction as the laws of Guam may provide;

(2) have jurisdiction to hear appeals over any cause in Guam decided by the Superior Court of Guam or other courts established under the laws of Guam;

(3) have jurisdiction to issue all orders and writs in aid of its appellate, supervisory, and original jurisdiction, including those orders necessary for the supervision of the judicial branch of Guam;

(4) have supervisory jurisdiction over the Superior Court of Guam and all other courts of the judicial branch of Guam;

(5) hear and determine appeals by a panel of three of the justices of the Supreme Court of Guam and a concurrence of two such justices shall be necessary to a decision of the Supreme Court of Guam on the merits of an appeal;

(6) make and promulgate rules governing the administration of the judiciary and the practice and procedure in the courts of the judicial branch of Guam, including procedures for the determination of an appeal en banc; and

(7) govern attorney and judicial ethics and the practice of law in Guam, including admission to practice law and the conduct and discipline of persons admitted to practice law.

(b) Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Guam

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam—

(1) shall preside over the Supreme Court unless disqualified or unable to act;

(2) shall be the administrative head of, and have general supervisory power over, all departments, divisions, and other instrumentalities of the judicial branch of Guam; and

(3) may issue such administrative orders on behalf of the Supreme Court of Guam as necessary for the efficient administration of the judicial branch of Guam.

(c) Orders of Chief Justice with respect to appeals

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam, or a justice sitting in place of such Chief Justice, may make any appropriate order with respect to—

(1) an appeal prior to the hearing and determination of that appeal on the merits; or

(2) dismissal of an appeal for lack of jurisdiction or failure to take or prosecute the appeal in accordance with applicable laws or rules of procedure.

(d) Other local courts

Except as granted to the Supreme Court of Guam or otherwise provided by this chapter or any other Act of Congress, the Superior Court of Guam and all other local courts established by the laws of Guam shall have such original and appellate jurisdiction over all causes in Guam as the laws of Guam provide, except that such jurisdiction shall be subject to the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction conferred on the District Court of Guam under section 1424 of this title.

(e) Qualifications and duties of justices and judges

The qualifications and duties of the justices and judges of the Supreme Court of Guam, the Superior Court of Guam, and all other local courts established by the laws of Guam shall be governed by the laws of Guam and the rules of such courts.

(Aug. 1, 1950, ch. 512, §22A, as added Pub. L. 98–454, title VIII, §801, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1742; amended Pub. L. 108–378, §1(b), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2206.)

Amendments

2004Pub. L. 108–378 amended section generally, substituting provisions relating to Supreme Court of Guam and other courts for provisions consisting of subsecs. (a) to (c) relating to composition of local courts and establishment of appellate court, jurisdiction of courts, and practice and procedure in local courts and qualifications and duties of judges.

Effective Date

Section effective on ninetieth day following Oct. 5, 1984, see section 1005 of Pub. L. 98–454, set out as an Effective Date of 1984 Amendment note under section 1424 of this title.

§1424–2. Relations between courts of United States and courts of Guam

The relations between the courts established by the Constitution or laws of the United States and the local courts of Guam with respect to appeals, certiorari, removal of causes, the issuance of writs of habeas corpus, and other matters or proceedings shall be governed by the laws of the United States pertaining to the relations between the courts of the United States, including the Supreme Court of the United States, and the courts of the several States in such matters and proceedings.

(Aug. 1, 1950, ch. 512, §22B, as added Pub. L. 98–454, title VIII, §801, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1742; amended Pub. L. 103–437, §17(a)(1), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4595; Pub. L. 108–378, §2, Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2208.)

Amendments

2004Pub. L. 108–378 struck out before period at end ": Provided, That for the first fifteen years following the establishment of the appellate court authorized by section 1424–1(a) of this title, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit shall have jurisdiction to review by writ of certiorari all final decisions of the highest court of Guam from which a decision could be had. The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit shall submit reports to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives at intervals of five years following the establishment of such appellate court as to whether it has developed sufficient institutional traditions to justify direct review by the Supreme Court of the United States from all such final decisions. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit shall have jurisdiction to promulgate rules necessary to carry out the provisions of this subsection".

1994Pub. L. 103–437 substituted "Natural Resources" for "Interior and Insular Affairs" before "of the House".

Effective Date

Section effective on ninetieth day following Oct. 5, 1984, see section 1005 of Pub. L. 98–454, set out as an Effective Date of 1984 Amendment note under section 1424 of this title.

§1424–3. Appellate jurisdiction of District Court; procedure; review by United States Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit; rules; appeals to appellate court

(a) Appellate jurisdiction of District Court

Prior to the establishment of the appellate court authorized by section 1424–1(a) of this title, which is known as the Supreme Court of Guam, the District Court of Guam shall have such appellate jurisdiction over the local courts of Guam as the legislature may determine: Provided, That the legislature may not preclude the review of any judgment or order which involves the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States, including this chapter, or any authority exercised thereunder by an officer or agency of the Government of the United States, or the conformity of any law enacted by the legislature of Guam or of any orders or regulations issued or actions taken by the executive branch of the government of Guam with the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States, including this chapter, or any authority exercised thereunder by an officer or agency of the United States.

(b) Appellate division of District Court; quorum; presiding judge; designation of judges; decisions

Appeals to the District Court of Guam shall be heard and determined by an appellate division of the court consisting of three judges, of whom two shall constitute a quorum. The district judge shall be the presiding judge of the appellate division and shall preside therein unless disqualified or otherwise unable to act. The other judges who are to sit in the appellate division of any session shall be designated by the presiding judge from among the judges who are serving on, or are assigned to, the district court from time to time pursuant to section 1424b of this title: Provided, That no more than one of them may be a judge of a court of record of Guam. The concurrence of two judges shall be necessary to any decision of the appellate division of the district court on the merits of an appeal, but the presiding judge alone may make any appropriate orders with respect to an appeal prior to the hearing and determination thereof on the merits and may dismiss an appeal for want of jurisdiction or failure to take or prosecute it in accordance with the applicable law or rules of procedure.

(c) United States Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit; jurisdiction; appeals; rules

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit shall have jurisdiction of appeals from all final decisions of the appellate division of the district court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit shall have jurisdiction to promulgate rules necessary to carry out the provisions of this subsection.

(d) Appeals to appellate court; effect on District Court

Upon the establishment of the appellate court provided for in section 1424–1(a) of this title, which is known as the Supreme Court of Guam, all appeals from the decisions of the local courts not previously taken must be taken to such appellate court. The establishment of that appellate court shall not result in the loss of jurisdiction of the appellate division of the district court over any appeal then pending in it. The rulings of the appellate division of the district court on such appeals may be reviewed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and in the Supreme Court notwithstanding the establishment of the appellate court.

(Aug. 1, 1950, ch. 512, §22C, as added Pub. L. 98–454, title VIII, §801, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1742; amended Pub. L. 108–378, §1(c), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2207.)

Amendments

2004—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 108–378, §1(c)(1), inserted "which is known as the Supreme Court of Guam," after "appellate court authorized by section 1424–1(a) of this title,".

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 108–378, §1(c)(2), inserted ", which is known as the Supreme Court of Guam," after "appellate court provided for in section 1424–1(a) of this title" and substituted "taken to such appellate court" for "taken to the appellate court".

Effective Date

Section effective on ninetieth day following Oct. 5, 1984, see section 1005 of Pub. L. 98–454, set out as an Effective Date of 1984 Amendment note under section 1424 of this title.

§1424–4. Criminal offenses; procedure; definitions

Where appropriate, the provisions of part II of title 18 and of title 28, United States Code, and notwithstanding the provision in rule 54(a) Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure relating to the prosecution of criminal offenses on Guam by information, the rules of practice and procedure heretofore or hereafter promulgated and made effective by the Congress or the Supreme Court of the United States pursuant to titles 11, 18, and 28, United States Code, shall apply to the District Court of Guam and appeals therefrom; except that the terms, "Attorney for the government" and "United States attorney", as used in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, shall, when applicable to cases arising under the laws of Guam, including the Guam Territorial income tax, mean the Attorney General of Guam or such other person or persons as may be authorized by the laws of Guam to act therein.

(Aug. 1, 1950, ch. 512, §22D, as added Pub. L. 98–454, title VIII, §801, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1743.)

References in Text

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, referred to in text, are set out in the Appendix to Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

Effective Date

Section effective on ninetieth day following Oct. 5, 1984, see section 1005 of Pub. L. 98–454, set out as an Effective Date of 1984 Amendment note under section 1424 of this title.

§1424a. Repealed. Oct. 31, 1951, ch. 655, §56(e), 65 Stat. 729

Section, act Aug. 1, 1950, ch. 512, §23, 64 Stat. 390, related to appeals from the District Court of Guam to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and to the United States Supreme Court. See sections 41, 1252, 1291, 1292, and 1294 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

Savings Provision

Act Oct. 31, 1951, ch. 655, §56(l), 65 Stat. 730, provided that the repeal by section 56 of act Oct. 31, 1951, shall not affect any rights or liabilities existing hereunder on the effective date of that repeal (Oct. 31, 1951).

§1424b. Judge of District Court; appointment, tenure, removal, and compensation; appointment of United States attorney and marshal

(a) The President shall, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint a judge for the District Court of Guam who shall hold office for the term of ten years and until his successor is chosen and qualified unless sooner removed by the President for cause. The judge shall receive a salary payable by the United States which shall be at the rate prescribed for judges of the United States district courts.

The Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of the United States may assign a judge of a local court of record or a judge of the High Court of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands or a circuit or district judge of the ninth circuit or a recalled senior judge of the District Court of Guam or of the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Chief Justice of the United States may assign any other United States circuit or district judge with the consent of the judge so assigned and of the chief judge of his circuit, to serve temporarily as a judge in the District Court of Guam whenever it is made to appear that such an assignment is necessary for the proper dispatch of the business of the court.

(b) The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a United States attorney and United States marshal for Guam to whose offices the provisions of chapters 35 and 37 of title 28, respectively, shall apply.

(Aug. 1, 1950, ch. 512, §24, 64 Stat. 390; Oct. 31, 1951, ch. 655, §55(a), 65 Stat. 728; Pub. L. 85–444, §3, June 4, 1958, 72 Stat. 179; Pub. L. 98–454, title VIII, §802, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1743.)

Amendments

1984—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 98–454, §802(a)–(c), substituted "for the term of ten years" for "for a term of eight years" in first par., and, in second par., substituted "a local court of record" for "the Island Court of Guam" and inserted "or a recalled senior judge of the District Court of Guam or of the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands" after "ninth circuit".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 98–454, §802(d), substituted "35" and "37" for "31" and "33" respectively.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 98–454, §802(e), struck out subsec. (c) which provided that chapters 43 and 49 of title 28 shall apply to the District Court of Guam.

1958—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 85–444 increased the term of office from four to eight years, substituted provisions requiring the salary of the judge to be at the rate prescribed for judges of the United States district courts for provisions which required the salary of the judge to be the same as salary of the Governor of Guam, and inserted provisions permitting the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit to make temporary assignments.

1951—Subsec. (a). Act Oct. 31, 1951, in second sentence, struck out ", and shall be entitled to the benefits of retirement provided in section 373 of title 28".

Subsec. (c). Act Oct. 31, 1951, struck out references to chapters 21, 41, and 57 of title 28.

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendments by Pub. L. 98–454 effective on ninetieth day following Oct. 5, 1984, see section 1005 of Pub. L. 98–454, set out as a note under section 1424 of this title.

Termination of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

For termination of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, see note set out preceding section 1681 of this title.

Extension of Term of District Judges; Applicability; Effective Date

Pub. L. 98–454, title X, §1004, Oct. 5, 1984, 98 Stat. 1746, provided that: "The provisions of sections 706(a), 802(a), and 901(a) of this Act [amending sections 1614, 1424b, and 1821, respectively, of this title] extending the terms of district court judges of the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, respectively, from eight to ten years shall be applicable to the judges of those courts holding office on the effective date of this Act [Oct. 5, 1984]."

§1424c. Review of claims respecting land on Guam

(a) Jurisdiction

Notwithstanding any law or court decision to the contrary, the District Court of Guam is hereby granted authority and jurisdiction to review claims of persons, their heirs or legatees, from whom interests in land on Guam were acquired other than through judicial condemnation proceedings, in which the issue of compensation was adjudicated in a contested trial in the District Court of Guam, by the United States between July 21, 1944, and August 23, 1963, and to award fair compensation in those cases where it is determined that less than fair market value was paid as a result of (1) duress, unfair influence, or other unconscionable actions, or (2) unfair, unjust, and inequitable actions of the United States.

(b) Acquisitions effected through condemnation proceedings

Land acquisitions effected through judicial condemnation proceedings in which the issue of compensation was adjudicated in a contested trial in the District Court of Guam, shall remain res judicata and shall not be subject to review hereunder.

(c) Fair compensation

Fair compensation for purposes of this Act is defined as such additional amounts as are necessary to effect payment of fair market value at the time of acquisition, if it is determined that, as a result of duress, unfair influence, or other unconscionable actions, fair market value was not paid.

(d) Employment of special masters or judges

The District Court of Guam may employ and utilize the services of such special masters or judges as are necessary to carry out the intent and purposes hereof.

(e) Awards

Awards made hereunder shall be judgments against the United States.

(f) Limitation on attorney's fees; violation; penalty

Attorney's fees paid by claimants to counsel representing them may not exceed 5 per centum of any additional award. Any agreement to the contrary shall be unlawful and void. Whoever, in the United States or elsewhere, demands or receives any remuneration in excess of the maximum permitted by this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than twelve months, or both. A reasonable attorney's fee may be awarded in appropriate cases.

(g) Availability of documents, records, and writings to court

All agencies and departments of the United States Government shall, upon request, deliver to the court any documents, records, and writings which are pertinent to any claim under review.

(Pub. L. 95–134, title II, §204, Oct. 15, 1977, 91 Stat. 1162; Pub. L. 96–205, title III, §301(a), Mar. 12, 1980, 94 Stat. 87.)

References in Text

This Act, referred to in subsec. (c), is Pub. L. 95–134, Oct. 15, 1977, 91 Stat. 1159, as amended, popularly known as the Omnibus Territories Act of 1977. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.

Codification

Section was not enacted as part of the Organic Act of Guam which comprises this chapter.

Amendments

1980—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 96–205 struck out provisions prohibiting allowance of interest on additional amounts of award.

Treatment of Certain Awards by District Court of Guam

Pub. L. 100–647, title VI, §6140, Nov. 10, 1988, 102 Stat. 3724, provided that: "For purposes of the internal revenue laws of the United States and Guam, gross income shall not include any amount received pursuant to any claim over which the District Court of Guam has jurisdiction by reason of section 204 of Public Law 95–134 [this section] (commonly referred to as the Omnibus Territories Act of 1977). This section shall be effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 1985."

Commencement of Civil Actions Before April 1, 1982

Pub. L. 96–205, title III, §301(b), Mar. 12, 1980, 94 Stat. 87, provided that: "Any civil action under section 204 of the Omnibus Territories Act of 1977 (91 Stat. 1162) [this section] shall be barred unless it is commenced not later than April 1, 1982."