The District Court of Guam held its 2016 District Conference Thursday at the Guam Hilton Resort & Spa. The conference was open to members of the Guam Bar Association.

During the conference lunch, District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood and U.S. Magistrate Judge Joaquin V.E. Manibusan presented the Cristobal C. Duenas Excellence Award.

This year, this honor was bestowed on the former Chief Judge Alex Munson, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands. Munson also served as a designated judge for the District Court of Guam for more than 27 years and served on appellate panels in Guam’s Appellate Division for seven of those years.

Attorney Anita Arriola delivered a touching introduction for Munson that included anecdotes from colleagues and memories among old friends.

Munson has been described as a man who doesn’t like to be fussed over and also a man of few words. While he accepted his honor, he addressed the three sons of Judge Cristobal C. Duenas who were in attendance. “I knew your dad very well," he said. "He was a gentle man and a gentleman. He never really got upset with the attorneys. The most I ever saw him say was ‘sigh,’ that was it.”

A surprise video sent by Supreme Court of Guam Chief Justice Robert J. Torres depicting a message from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy congratulating Munson and wishing him the best was also shared with the crowd.

Judge Cristobal C. Duenas died on Feb. 14, 2010. He was appointed to the federal bench on Dec. 24, 1969 and after 22 years, he retired in 1991. He was declared the “Judicial Patriarch of Guam” and “the Ninth Circuit’s bravest pioneer” by fellow jurists.

The Cristobal C. Duenas Excellence Award recognizes a person or entity for significantly advancing the administration of justice and the legal profession through meritorious deeds or exemplary service."

The rest of the afternoon continued with presentations by judges and attorneys on various topics.

Jay S. Bybee, circuit judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, spoke on the topic of the “2015 Supreme Court Review” and “Ethics: Truth in Advocacy.”

A panel comprising Jean Song, In-house counsel for the IRS Seattle Office; Teri L. Alexander, IRS agent/Seattle Office; John Camacho, director of the Department of Revenue & Taxation; Marie Benito, deputy director of the Department of Revenue & Taxation; and attorney Vince Camacho discussed "Working with the IRS and the Department of Revenue & Taxation: Do’s & Don’ts;"

A “Conversatorio” was held with Munson and attorneys Rodney J. Jacob, lawyer representative for the District Court; and Ann Galey-Keith, staff attorney for the Judiciary of Guam. A panel discussed the core changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: 2015 Amendments. It was conducted by Magistrate Judge Joaquin V. E. Manibusan, Jr. and Jacob; and “Ethics Trap: Is representing legalized marijuana interests legal?” was presented by attorney Jacqueline T. Terlaje.


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