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[Pacific Daily News] Guam AG’s Office Has Conflict In Ancestral Landowner Case

Resource: Pacific Islands Report

Barrett-Anderson disqualified from representing GovGuam

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 12, 2016) – Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson and her entire office this week have been disqualified from representing the government of Guam in a civil case against ancestral landowners. According to Superior Court of Guam Judge Anita Sukola, Barrett-Anderson has a conflict of interest because she handled the land case for the estate of Jose Martinez Torres when she was a probate judge and now represents the government of Guam, which is challenging a land return to the estate and wants it voided. Sukola disqualified the attorney general and her office in a decision and order signed Feb. 9. At issue is whether returned excess military land in Dededo was owned by the Torres family or was held by the former Spanish government — so-called “crown land,” with no original private owner. Guam law requires all returned excess military property to be transferred to its ancestral owners, through the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission, with crown land held in trust to benefit ancestral landowners whose property has not been returned. According to court documents, the Torres estate in 2004 received some ancestral land, but asked that other land be returned as well, after the family provided proof to the Ancestral Lands Commission that the additional land actually belonged to their family and was not Spanish crown land. Barrett-Anderson, as a probate judge, confirmed a settlement agreement between the family and the Ancestral Lands Commission that allowed the Torres estate to receive the additional land, court documents state.

Resource: Pacific Islands Report

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