Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has signed into law a bill that would exempt first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct convictions from sentencing reductions in the Justice Safety Valve Act. The governor also signed several other measures into law Friday.
The measure, now Public Law 36-17, caused some division among senators, with some arguing serious criminal sexual conduct offenses are too heinous to allow deviation from mandatory minimum sentencing, while others took issue with taking discretion away from judges.
The bill passed the Legislature with nine votes in favor.
"In the past, the introduction of novel mandatory minimum sentences around the country caused more harm than good, hindering rehabilitation of individuals convicted as well as their transition back into society," Leon Guerrero stated in a letter to the Legislature.
"Although discretion of the courts is generally a strength, not a weakness, and although I have full faith in our court's ability to fairly apply such discretion, I agree with I Liheslaturan Guahan, that there is sufficient basis to withhold the availability of such discretion for individuals convicted of first- or second-degree criminal sexual conduct," she added.
Other bills signed into law
• Bill 62-36, now Public Law 36-10: Penalties and restitution for the theft of livestock, crops or other agricultural products
• Bill 58-36, now Public Law 36-12: Extends the deadline for the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency to develop an operational satellite inspection, holding and secured sterile facility
• Bill 25-36, now Public Law 36-14: Relative to the stipend of the civilian conservation reservists at the Department of Agriculture
• Bill 60-36, now Public Law 36-16: Changes the official name of the municipality of Inarajan to the CHamoru name "Inalåhan"
• Bill 45-36, now Public Law 36-18: Relative to mandatory minimum sentences for repeat sexual offenders, including those previously convicted in other jurisdictions
• Bill 33-36, now Public Law 36-11: Requires GovGuam agencies to submit a procurement training compliance report to the Office of Public Accountability
• Bill 52-36, now Public Law 36-13: Relative to disclosure of ownership, financial and conflict of interest information under Guam procurement law
• Bill 23-36, now Public Law 36-15: Appropriates $81,744.51 in lapses from the Police Patrol Vehicle and Equipment Revolving Fund, and up to $175,601.24 in lapses from the Safe Schools Initiative to the Guam Police Department
• Bill 8-36, now Public Law 36-17: Excludes individuals convicted of first- or second-degree criminal sexual conduct from sentencing discretion in the Justice Safety Valve Act