Guam

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrPin on PinterestPrint this page

All data is current as of 2013, unless otherwise noted.
Return to the list of all States & Territories.

How the right to counsel is administered and structured

State commission: yes
Branch of government: judiciary

A five-member Board of Trustees made up of the Chief Justice, the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, the President of the Guam Bar Association, and two other members appointed by the Chief Justice governs the non-profit Public Defender Service Corporation (PDSC). Per statute, PDSC has “the power to do any and all things necessary to further the purposes” of the right to counsel, including setting standards and policies.

Despite being employees of a non-profit entity, PDSC attorneys and staff participate in the government retirement fund.

How the right to counsel is funded

Percentage of territorial funding: 100%
Percentage of local funding: 0%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%

The methods used to provide public counsel

The judicial branch of government contracts with the non-profit Public Defender Service Corporation (PDSC) to provide indigent defense services in the territory’s superior and appellate courts. In addition to handling all criminal matters, PDSC represents clients in some civil matters, including uncontested guardianship, domestic violence, and land disputes.

PDSC staffs all initial appearance courts in order to comply with constitutional demands of early appointment of counsel. When a court determines a defendant is eligible for Sixth Amendment services, representation starts immediately.

PDSC also has a conflict defender division, called the Alternate Public Defender, separated from the primary attorneys through ethical screens.

Legal authority

Organic Act of Guam, 48 U.S.C. § 1421b, ¶ g

Guam Code Annotated, 12 GCA §§ 11101 through 11116

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.