The Judiciary of Guam received welcome news on Tuesday after Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero announced that attorney Dana Gutierrez has been nominated to serve as the eighth judge in the Superior Court of Guam.
"Judges protect our rights; they safeguard our freedoms; they ensure that our disputes are settled with the power of our words, not the power of our weapons. They must be motivated, fearless and answer the call to the service of others," said Leon Guerrero.
Addressing Gutierrez, the governor said: "We know you will do your part to administer justice fairly and equally."
Gutierrez was joined by members of the legal community and her family during the announcement at the governor's conference room in Adelup on Tuesday.
"They say it takes a village to raise a child and in my case, it's certainly true. I would not be standing here without the unconditional love and support of my family and friends as well as the mentorship and guidance that I have received from my colleagues throughout the 22 years that I've been practicing law," said Gutierrez. "Each time I take the bench, if I am confirmed, I will always conduct myself the way that Gov. Leon Guerrero conducts herself in her administration. With fairness, open-mindedness and with a commitment to justice."
The governor said the Judicial Council had repeatedly requested that an eighth judge be nominated. It's the first time the Democratic governor has nominated a judge.
The selection was delayed after the Judiciary of Guam budget was cut by $1 million for fiscal 2020.
However, Leon Guerrero said she was assured that the funds to hire a new judge are available.
“There is no greater testament of her legal acumen than a vote of confidence from fellow attorneys. Like her peers in the legal community, I have full confidence in Dana’s ability to serve our people as a Superior Court judge," stated Supreme Court Chief Justice Katherine Maraman. "Dana is intelligent, conscientious in her work ethic and has an impressive array of legal experience. Additionally, her service as director of Policy Planning and Community Relations here at the Judiciary was significant. I am certain that Dana’s record as an attorney and her contributions to this community will serve our people well in her capacity as a Superior Court judge.”
"She will definitely be an added contribution to our bench," said Jacqueline Terlaje, Guam Bar Association president. "But it is a loss to our business community and to our legal community with the number of years that she has in terms of experience."
According to her profile with Calvo Fisher & Jacob LLP, Gutierrez practiced primarily in the areas of labor and employment law, business planning, corporate governance and regulatory compliance.
She is a frequent presenter on employment issues for the Society of Human Resource Management Guam Chapter and serves as president-elect for the SHRM Guam Chapter.
She graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California School of Law.
Gutierrez is also a volunteer member of the Guam Public Library System board and the Guam Solid Waste Authority board.
Her nomination will head to the justice committee in the Guam Legislature for a public hearing and vote before senators.
Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio said that process could take several months to complete.