About the Office
Rebuilding the Office of the Attorney General
In January 2007, the new leadership team quickly realized that the Office of the Attorney General needed to reorganize and re-establish working relationships with other law enforcement entities, social service providers, and non-profit organizations.
In the Prosecution Division, Chief Prosecutor Phillip J. Tydingco reorganized the Division in order to be more effective and efficient in the prosecution of the more than 12,000 open cases currently in that Division. Functional teams and units were created: Family Violence and Sex Crimes; Property Crimes; Drugs and Firearms; White Collar / Public Integrity Crimes; Misdemeanors / General Felonies; Major Crimes; and Motions / Appeals. Also, the “On-Call Prosecutor” – a prosecutor assigned and available to the Guam Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to assist with legal questions twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week – was established. These steps have assisted the Prosecution Division in its case load management and has improved upon the working relationship of the law enforcement agencies.
Another re-organization that is significant is the re-establishment of the Family Division. The Family Division was once a separate division within the Office but was later consolidated within the Prosecution Division. Given the nature of juvenile special proceedings, juvenile delinquency, and other Family Court matters, and the delicate issues of confidentiality of juvenile adjudications, the Family Division was re-established as separate division led by Deputy Attorney General Carol Hinkle-Sanchez.
The Civil Litigation and Solicitor Division, led by Deputy Attorney General J. Patrick Mason, handles civil actions in which the government is an interested party. This includes bringing actions on behalf of the government and defending actions brought against the government in the courts of Guam and the courts of the United States. The Office is also tasked with bringing actions on its own behalf when necessary to ensure compliance by government agencies, government officials, and private parties with the regulatory laws of Guam; and on behalf of the people of Guam in matters regarding protection of the public interest.
The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED), led by Deputy Attorney General Barbara P. Cepeda, works with the parents to ensure that children receive the financial support they deserve. Receiving and initiating almost 1,200 telephone phone calls each day, the mission of the CSED is clear: to provide a public service to locate non-custodial parents; establish paternity; establish and enforce child and medical support orders; review and modify child support orders; recover welfare benefits paid on behalf of the children; and collect and timely distribute support payments. The Division had many successes in 2007 including an increase in child support collections from intercepted federal and local tax refunds and through the Passport Denial Program, and the completion and transmission to the Guam Legislature of the revised Child Support Guidelines.