William Elbridge Sewell. Don Farrell collection.

General Orders issued by Naval Governor William Elbridge Sewell (9 February 1903 – March 1904). To learn more read entry: Guam Leaders from 1899-1904. To go back to the list of General Orders click here.

No. 49

February 6, 1903

General Order No. 49
The public is hereby informed that, having been appointed by Superior Authority, Naval Governor of the Island of Guam, as the relief of the present governor, Commander Seaton Schroeder, US Navy, I, William E. Sewell, Commander, US Navy, do this day assume the command and government of this island.


No. 50

February 28, 1903

General Order No. 50
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That the governor of this island shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for all offenses against the laws of this island.

2. That the governor of this island shall also have power to mitigate any sentence imposed by any court of this island, and, in the case of sentence to the death penalty, to commute such sentence.


No. 51

February 28, 1903

General Order No. 51
It is hereby ordered and decreed that:
1. Hereafter the time of provisional imprisonment of persons sentenced to what are known as correctional punishments, or light punishments, as classified in the Penal Code, Title III, Chapter II, Article 25, will be considered as an integral part of the imposed punishment, and will be deducted therefrom.

2. A similar reduction, but limited to 1/2 the time of provisional imprisonment, will be made in favor of those sentenced to exemplary punishments, named in the same article.

3. This order being in the nature of a provision favorable to the prisoner is declared to have a retroactive effect, in accordance with the provisions of the Penal Code, Title III, Chapter I, Article 22.


No. 52

March 6, 1903

General Order No. 52
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That General Order No. 31, of May 23, 1901, which concerns the concession of public lands to private persons, is hereby annulled; no further concession will be made until the Federal Congress shall make provision therefore.


No. 53

March 12, 1903

General Order No. 53
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That after May 1st of this year there will be prohibited the importation into this island of carts or other vehicles, to be used for carrying loads on the public roads, with wheels having tires less than two-inches in width. The importation of wheels and tires having a width of less then two-inches will also be prohibited.

2. Notice is hereby given that in the near future a special tax will be imposed on such vehicles already in use.

3. This order is issued to protect the roads from undue injury.


No. 54

April 4, 1903

General Order No. 54
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That there shall be allowed to all employees of the island government whose salary is payable monthly, leave of absence with pay, not to exceed six (6) days in each calendar year, January 1 to December 31, inclusive.

2. That except on legal holidays as prescribed in General Order No. 26, no office will be closed unless all of the monthly-paid employees thereof have applied for leave a reasonable time in advance and such applications have been granted.

3. Applications for such leave of absence must be addressed to the governor and forwarded to him through the immediate superior or head of department, who will endorse thereon his approval or disapproval; and records of all leave granted shall be kept in the Executive Office.

4. Applications will be written in English in approved form.


No. 55

May 7, 1903

General Order No. 55
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That all existing taxes on real estate are abolished, and in lieu thereof there shall hereafter be levied, annually, a uniform 1 per centum tax on the appraised value of all real estate, including improvements.

2. That this real estate tax shall be payable at Agana on the first day of July of each year, or earlier if due notice is given, and that it shall become delinquent on the first day of the following August. That, on account of the delay in getting all properties appraised, the tax for the present year shall not become delinquent until the first day of October 1903

3. That to each year’s tax as it becomes delinquent shall be added a penalty of 1 peso plus 10 per centum of the whole tax for that year on that piece of property; and until the property becomes liable to sale for unpaid taxes there shall also be added for each succeeding month a penalty of 1/2 peso plus 5 per centum on the amount of unpaid taxes exclusive of penalties; and from the time that the property becomes liable to sale until it is sold for delinquent taxes or until all claims for taxes and penalties are satisfied, simple interest on all taxes and penalties due, at the rate of 12 per centum per annum, shall be added.

4. That if all taxes, penalties, and interest are not paid within one month from the time that the third year’s tax becomes delinquent, the property shall, at any time thereafter, be subject to sale by the island government.

5. That, after the claims of the government have been satisfied, the proceeds of such delinquent tax sales shall be deposited in the Treasury of the island, to be held, without interest, for a period of three years, to the credit of such person or persons as may have legal and registered claims against the property sold, and of the original owners; but that, at the end of three years, all such credit for which no legal claim has been made shall become the property of the island Government.

6. That any person or persons holding a registered mortgage, or lien, against any piece of real estate on which delinquent taxes are due, shall be allowed to pay all such delinquent taxes with penalties involved, and that the amount thus paid shall be considered as added to the face value of the mortgage or lien, except that it will draw interest at a rate not to exceed 6 per centum per annum, and that the principal of this will not be payable until the last payment on the mortgage or lien is collectible.

7. That any payment made on a delinquent tax shall be first applied on the interest, and next on the penalties due.

8. That, if there is reason to believe that on account of extreme poverty, misfortune, or for any other good reason, a case deserves special consideration and that the ends of justice or the best interests of the island will not be served by strictly enforcing the provisions of this decree, the Judge of the Court of First Instance, on the request of the Auditor for the Island of Guam, or of the governor, shall make such inquiry into the case as can be conveniently carried on, reporting the facts ascertained, without testimony or details of procedure, but with his recommendation and reasons therefore, to the governor; that the governor shall then have power to make any further inquiries, and to order such relief as in his opinion the case deserves, by remitting taxes or penalties, or both, in all cases giving his reasons for the action taken. But the governor shall not make special exemption of future taxes and penalties in such cases, nor shall he remit any taxes or penalties of a delinquent who is worth, altogether, more than 600 pesos, or who holds title to real estate appraised at more than 400 pesos, except upon the concurrence of the Judge of First Instance. The report of the Judge of First Instance, with the governor’s action endorsed thereon, shall be deposited with the Tax Collector.

9. That, after real estate becomes liable to sale on account of delinquent taxes, a brief, certified statement of the facts will be made by the Tax Collector to the Auditor for the Island of Guam, who will submit the same to the Judge of the Court of First Instance, requesting an order for the sale of the property involved. Should no good reason to the contrary be advanced, the Court of First Instance will issue the order requested, but, to become effective, the order for sale must be first submitted to the governor, who, if approving same, will also designate the time and place of sale. At least one month’s public notice will be given of any contemplated sale, and, if convenient, a personal notice shall be sent to the delinquent by the Auditor.

10. That tax sales shall be to the highest responsible bidder; but, should it be deemed advisable, the government shall have the option of taking any property thus sold at the figure of the highest bid; and that, in either case, there shall be no right of redemption. Moreover, the government shall have the right to take the property at its appraised value without offering it for sale.

11. That the following named properties shall be exempt from taxation: All public property; all buildings, together with the land on which they stand, used exclusively for purposes of education, religion, or approved charities; but this exception shall not include residences or other property belonging to, or occupied by, persons or societies thus engaged, except the buildings and grounds that are actually and exclusively used for the purposes aforementioned. A reasonable amount of land set aside and exclusively used for cemetery purposes shall be exempt from taxation, provided that such lands have been approved by the government and have been duly registered for such purpose.

12. That this order in no way remits the land taxes already due and unpaid; and the collection of such unpaid taxes, and the proceedings in case such taxes are not paid shall be according to the laws existing before the publication of this order.

13. That all laws and parts of laws conflicting with this order are hereby annulled.


No. 56

May 11, 1903

General Order No. 56
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That in order to carry out the provisions of General Order No. 55, relating to the tax on real estate, a Board of Appraisement shall be appointed to carefully appraise the value of all the taxable real estate in this island.

2. That the Board of Appraisement shall consist of three members; each member being sworn to faithfully perform the duty without prejudice or partiality, and that he will not act as a member in appraising property in which he is interested, or which belongs to a relative within the fourth degree of relationship. The required oath may be administered by the Auditor for the Island of Guam.

3. That there shall be supernumerary members of the Board of Appraisement, any one of whom can act in the absence or disqualification of a regular member, after being sworn in the same manner as a regular member before acting on the first call.

4. That there shall be a Committee on Appeals composed of three members who will hear, inquire into, and finally decide, all appeals from the action of the Board of Appraisement. The members of this committee shall be sworn in the manner as members of the board. One member of the Committee on Appeals shall be chosen by the Board of Appraisement, one by the appellant, and the third member shall be named by the first two.

5. That any appeal from the action of the Board of Appraisement shall be made within one month from the time that action is published, and in case the valuation not reduced more than 5 per centum there shall be added to the tax, as a penalty, 4 pesos when the final valuation is less than 1,500 pesos, and 8 pesos when it is 1,500 pesos or greater.

6. That the Auditor or the governor shall have power to appeal against the action of the Board of Appraisement for undervaluation; but unless it is increased on appeal by more than 5 per cent of the original valuation, that valuation shall stand: but in all instances, as far as is consistent with a quick dispatch of business, the owner will be given a chance to present his case.

7. That the compensation for each member of Board of Appraisement and Committee on Appeals who is not a monthly paid employee of the island Government shall be 1 1/2 pesos for each day that he is actually engaged on the duty.

8. That the work of appraisement shall begin as soon as practicable after the first day of January of each year.

9. That the action of the Board of Appraisement, with the tax corresponding, shall be published in each district as soon as the list for the district is completed; and notice will also be given as to the time at which the tax will be receivable as well as notice of the action of the Committee on Appeals.

10. That all expenses connected with the valuation of real estate and with the collection of taxes and penalties will come under the Treasury Department of the island; and the calling together of the board and committee shall be by the Auditor for the island of Guam, who shall have general charge over all matters relating thereto.

11. That the composition of the board and of the committee, as well as the amount of tax to be levied, may, from time to time, be changed by executive order.

12. That the valuation of real estate, as determined by the provisions of the order, will be accepted and held as the official valuation hereafter.

13. That for the present year the board of appraisement shall be composed as follows: Board of Appraisement, regular members- Justo de Leon Guerrero Sanchez, Joaquin Perez Cruz, Francisco Pangelinan Blas. Supernumerary members-Eulogio Cruz, José de Salas Santos, José Aflague.


No. 57

May 15, 1903

General Order No. 57
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That all prisoners under sentence to be confined for a crime or misdemeanor may be put to work for any public purpose, under such general and special conditions and restrictions as may be imposed by executive authority.

2. That any prisoner under sentence may be allowed liberty during good behavior under conditions and within limits authorized by executive authority for each case.

3. That, except in cases of emergency, only eight hours faithful work will be required in a day, and only ten hours even if the work is not satisfactory.

4. That each Sunday and public holiday will be credited as a day on the sentence, unless the prisoner leaves the limits assigned to him, fails to report as directed or declines to work on the day previous.

5. That only unavoidable work shall be required on Sundays and public holidays, and credit for such work shall be given; but in no case will the labor in taking care of their own persons, effects, and quarters be credited or paid for.

6. That at proper times any prisoner will be allowed to make complaint to the governor, or to some one detailed to look out for such cases; and anyone in authority found guilty of using his position to discriminate for or against a prisoner, except as authorized, shall be punished.

7. That any prisoner under sentence who is confined in a public prison, or in a place used as such, between the hours of sunrise and sunset, who does not decline or hesitate to work as directed shall for each such day be credited with one day of the sentence.

8. That for every five hours of faithful labor one day shall be credited on the sentence; but when the work is not satisfactory, considering the capabilities of the prisoner, the credit in hours and corresponding pay shall be reduced accordingly.

9. That faithful work and good conduct will be rewarded by privileges and reductions of sentences; while misconduct and unfaithful work will be punished, with the approval of the governor, by restrictions of privileges, confinement in irons, single or double, not exceeding ten days, solitary confinement on full or diminished rations not exceeding nine days, provided that not more than four days pass without one day’s full rations, and by fines to be deducted from the credit or pay of a prisoner, not to exceed 6 pesos for any one offense; also when it becomes necessary to preserve order or decency the superior authority present may put any restraint needful for that purpose on any prisoner, reporting the case as soon as practicable.

10. That prisoners may be required to wear a conspicuous letter “C” on their dress, but the wearing of this mark can be omitted for good behavior or required for bad behavior, the character of the offense for which sentenced being also considered, and a prisoner may be required to wear single irons while outside of the prison limits for work, even when chains are not involved in the original sentence.

11. That for any offense for which summary punishment is not given, a prisoner may be tried and punished by the courts.

12. That for each hour’s satisfactory labor there will be credited to a prisoner an amount depending on the quality and value of the work, but in no case will it exceed three quarters of a peseta, and from this credit shall be paid all expenses incurred on account of the prisoner and all approved payments to the prisoner, but where the prisoner has not enough credit to cover the necessary expenses incurred on his account the difference shall be collectible from any property of the prisoner, by order of the judge of first instance, who shall first examine the state of the credit and receive any statement the prisoner has to make.

13. That there shall be kept for each prisoner a record of conduct, punishments, privileges granted, labor, credit in both time and money, and of everything that bears on the standing of the prisoner. This record shall be completed each day in as far as practicable, and shall be subject to inspection.

14. That all that part of any sentence of a court of this island which includes imprisonment can be carried out in any public prison in this island, or in any place used as such, and under the provisions of this order; but women prisoners shall not be required to work with men, nor in chains, and shall when imprisoned be kept as separate from the men as the resources at command will permit.

15. That any prisoner illegally held shall be discharged by order of the Supreme Court, or, in case the Supreme Court does not dissent, by order of the Judge of First Instance; and the alcalde, or the person acting as such, shall obey such order, which shall state briefly the ground on which the order is issued.

16. That in case of an order to discharge a prisoner for any cause one copy to the alcalde for the prison files and one to complete the court record will be sufficient record of the action.

17. That all laws and orders and parts of laws and orders conflicting with this order are hereby annulled.


No. 58

May 21, 1903

General Order No. 58
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That hereafter the importation of dogs into this island is prohibited.

2. Notice is also hereby given that for the next calendar year and thereafter the annual tax on bitches will be 6 pesos for each bitch. The tax on male dogs will remain the same as at present, $0.50.


No. 59

August 5, 1903

General Order No. 59
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That the office of “Examiner of Titles” be created in the island of Guam.

2. That it shall be the duty of the Examiner of Titles to examine and report upon all titles to real property, and all other questions relating thereto, in which the National or Insular Governments may be interested, whenever so ordered by the governor of this island.

3. That said examiner shall have authority to compel the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony, and to do all other acts necessary to the proper discharge of his duties.

4. That it shall be the duty of the gobernadorcillos, tenientes de barrio and cabezas de barangay, to serve the summons issued by the Examiner of Titles, which summons shall have the same legal effects as if served by the examiner in person.


Nos. 60 – 69

No. 60

August 12, 1903

General Order No. 60
It is hereby ordered and decreed that:
1. The laws now in force relating to the commerce of this island are hereby amended as follows:

2. Companies incorporated abroad and foreigners may trade in the island of Guam, after receiving a certificate of registration, subject to the provisions of treaties between the United States and the country wherein incorporated or of which a citizen; and to the jurisdiction of the courts of this island.

3. Until provisions are made by the federal government, no corporation can be created under any laws of this island.

4. A certificate of registration will be issued to existing domestic corporations when they present and have recorded in the register the following:
(1)—Name of the corporation.
(2)—Kind of business engaged in.
(3)—Date of beginning business.
(4)—Place in which principal business office located.
(5)—Capital stock; par value of shares; dates of issues.
(6)—Name and copy of power of attorney, if any, of local manager.

5. A certificate of registration will be issued to a foreign corporation when it has complied with the requirements for the registration of a domestic corporation, and, in addition, files a certificate which shows that the corporation has been established according to the laws of the place where incorporated. Said certificate, in the case of companies incorporated in the United States or its possessions, must be under notarial or court seal; and in case of other foreign corporation, must be issued by a United States Consul.

6. Any person whose agency for the management of the local business is established either through the power or attorney, or otherwise, shall also be agent for the purpose of receiving service of process in all actions arising in this island out of the conduct of the business of the absent principal.

7. All corporations in this island are required to obtain a certificate of registration before doing business.

8. The Commercial Register will be kept by the Registrar of Lands, Deeds and Titles.


No. 61

August 15, 1903

General Order No. 61
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That it shall hereafter be lawful to kill wild pig, wild deer, and wild doves at any time of the year.

2. That it shall hereafter be unlawful, and a misdemeanor, to kill, trap, or to have in possession the bodies of snipe, quail, curlew, or wild duck of this island, except during the months of September, October, and November of each year.

3. That it shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor to, at any time, kill, trap, or have in possession the bodies of any other wild bird not mention in this order.

4. Justices of the Peace shall have jurisdiction of offenses under this order; and any one found guilty of violating it shall be fined 5 pesos, with 1 pesos additional for each bird killed, trapped, or in possession contrary to the provisions of this order; and the gun license of the offender, if he has one, will be revoked; or, if with gun without license, the gun will be seized.


No. 62

September 26, 1903

General Order No. 62
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That general orders numbered 14, 21 and 30, of this series, are hereby rescinded.

2. That during the continuance of the present naval government, whenever the presence of a member of the Naval Forces is required by an island court, a request that he be directed to appear at a stated time and place will be made to the senior naval authority.


No. 63

September 26, 1903

General Order No. 63
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That general orders numbered 1, 2, 8, and 32 of this series are hereby rescinded.

2. That the manufacture, importation, purchase, sale, or disposal in any way of any intoxicating spirituous liquors are hereby prohibited, except under a license, or permit issued by the governor.
Any person who violates, or knowingly assists in a violation of the provisions of this paragraph shall, upon conviction be punished as follows:

(a) For illicit manufacture or importation: Imprisonment not exceeding four months; or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos; or both.

(b) For illicit sale or disposal: Imprisonment not exceeding two months; or a fine not exceeding 100 pesos; or both.

(c) For illicit purchase: A fine not exceeding 50 pesos.

(d) Upon conviction for a second, or subsequent, offense the above penalties shall be doubled.

(e) For knowingly assisting in the violation of this order, in a subordinate capacity, the limits of the penalties shall be one half of that for the principal.

(f) In all cases the contraband articles shall be confiscated.

3. The Court of First Instance shall have original jurisdiction over offenses under this order, except in cases when a fine has already being imposed by the Collector of Customs for a violation of the customs regulations.


No. 64

September 29, 1903

General Order No. 64
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That the words “ eight tenths of a pesos” shall be substituted for the words “one half pesos” and “half pesos” wherever the latter appear in Paragraphs 2, 5 and 6 of General Order Number 38, this series amendment to take effect on January 1, 1904.

This amendment does not change the poll tax when paid in money, which remains at 12 pesos a year; but it reduces said tax from 24-to-15 days when paid in labor.


No. 65

October 1, 1903

General Order No. 65
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. That, on account of the delay that has occurred in publishing the action of the Board of Appraisement, General Order No. 55 is so far modified that the real estate tax for this year will not become delinquent until December first.

2. As the action of the board has already been published, all appeals from such action must be submitted by November 1st of this year.

3. Notice is given that, for the convenience of the people living in the southern districts, some one authorized to collect the tax will be sent to the towns of Sumay, Merizo and Inarajan for that purpose as soon as practicable, but such taxes as are not paid to said agent will be payable at the Treasury at Agana.


No. 66

October 9, 1903

General Order No. 66
It is hereby ordered and decreed that:
That on account of the distress existing in this island due to the failure of crops and the high prices of imported goods, one half of this year’s land tax will be remitted in all cases where payment for all present and delinquent taxes on the property in question is made before December 1st of this year.


No. 67

October 10, 1903

General Order No. 67
It is hereby ordered and decreed that:
All persons may be witnesses before courts of this Island who, having organs or sense, can perceive and perceiving make known their perceptions to others, except as specified in the next section. No witness is incompetent because he is a party to the action; or because he has no interest in the event of the action; or because of his opinions on matters of religious belief; or because he has been convicted of a crime. The credibility of any witness may, however, be shown no evidence; and, in weighing the value of the testimony of a witness, the court shall make due allowance for his interest, credibility, and powers of observation.

A husband or a wife cannot be examined either for or against the other unless with the other’s consent; except, in civil actions instituted by one against the other, and in criminal actions instituted by one against the other for crimes committed by the other against the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children.

The intervention of solicitors or attorneys in the courts or tribunals of this island shall not be obligatory; but anyone of good repute for probity and ability, who can read and write, may appear in place thereof or for himself, but in case a person represents himself in any proceedings, those papers that would otherwise be put in his possession will, at the discretion of the Judge, only be shown to him and he be given a copy. In Justice of Peace Courts ability to read and write will not be required.

Autos and sentences must be accompanied by the reasons for the decisions rendered; but they need not necessarily have the form of “Resultandos” and “Considerandos”, which form may be adopted at discretion.

In cases where a Court concurs in a written opinion, or decision, of a lower Court, to express its concurrence therein, of a lower court, to express its concurrence therein and order it to be carried into effect shall be sufficient.

Before the courts of this Island the trail, judgment or other proceedings cannot be affected by reason of defect in matter of form which does not tend to prejudice the substantial rights of a party before the court.

As all legal proceedings are for the purpose for a just administration of the laws, and the laws themselves are for the maintenance of justice, the general principle of equity and the spirit of the laws shall decide in interpreting and applying a law in case of any doubt.

The peculiar conditions that prevail on this Island and the changed conditions caused by the transfer of sovereignty shall determine questions as to the application of the Old Spanish laws and precedents.

The incommunication of a detained person or a prisoner, is hereby abolished.


No. 68

November 9, 1903

General Order No. 68
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
That the Criminal Code in force in this island shall be amended as follows:

1. In considering whether the punishment for an offense shall be in the maximum, medium, or minimum degree, the circumstances given in Articles 9 and 10 shall be considered as advisory and not as compulsory. The penalty shall be classed as in the opinion of the judge all the attending circumstances properly proved shall place it; but a penalty in the maximum degree shall never be imposed unless there are prove one or more of the aggravating circumstances given in Article 10.

2. Articles 11, 39, 113, 180, 192, 197, 198, 199, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 253, 254, 255, 256, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 329, 330, 332, 333, and 377, and also the amendments and additions to the Penal Code contained in Royal Decree of September 12, 1897 are rescinded.

3. Article 134 to 178 inclusive, Articles 208, 209, and 210, Articles 229 to 235 inclusive, and Articles 289, 297 and 298 are rescinded and United States laws on the same subjects will apply.

4. Article 16 will not apply to the first of No. 3, Article 15.

5. In Article 50 substitute 1 ½ pesetas.

6. Article 84, referring to Article 566 is modified so as to read that the fine in such cases shall not exceed three times the amount of the damage, but will never be less than 20 pesos.

7. Articles 114. Third paragraph rescinded; also rescind distance mentioned in this article, for which shall be substituted such distances as may be designated in the sentence.

8. Articles 200, 201, 202 and 203 shall not apply to orders given or to acts done by the order of the Supreme Naval Authority during the continuance of the Naval Government.

9. Articles 205 and 207 for “Spaniard or foreigner” substitute the words “any person”.

10. Articles 211 to 218 inclusive rescind and substitute as follows:
“Any official who uses his position for the purpose of unlawful oppression or extortion shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos or by both.”

11. Article 219 rescind and substitute: “ Those who by violence, disorderly conduct, threats, or by other means unlawfully prevent, interrupt, or disturb the functions, acts, ceremonies, or manifestations of any religion, or who disturb or inure objects of worship not their own property, shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding 200 pesos or by both.”

12. Articles 280 to 288 inclusive are rescinded and United States laws on counterfeiting United States money will apply, with same penalties on counterfeiting clipping, or altering money legally current in this island.

13. All of Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, of Title 4, Book 2, are so modified that the United States laws on the same subjects will have force in so far as they are applicable.

14. Articles 424, 426, 427, 430 and 431 are rescinded, and there shall be substituted as follows: “He who sends or incites another to send a challenge to fight a duel, shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding six months even if the duel does not take place. The seconds in a duel shall be punished as accomplices”.

15. In No. 3 of Article 438 substitute the words “14 years” for “12 years” and add “if she is over 12 and less than 14 years of age, the penalty shall be imprisonment not exceeding 3 years.”

16. Article 441. Keeping a house for lewd purposes or otherwise acting as a panderer shall be considered an offense under this article; and the penalty under this article shall be changed to imprisonment not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos or both such fine and imprisonment.

17. In Article 443, 445 and 446 substitute the words “14 years” in place of the words “12 years” where they occur.

18. In Article 474 omit the words, “valid however under the provisions of the church,” and substitute the words “any one authorized to celebrate a marriage” for the words “a parish priest.”

19. In Article 475 the penalty to be changed to imprisonment not exceeding six months, and add “when either party is less than 12 years of age the marriage ceremony shall be void, and when either party is less than 14 years of age, but over 12, the marriage shall be void unless approved by the parents of such a minor within one year from the date of the ceremony; and will not have effect until such approval.” The adult who contracts a marriage with a minor without the consent of the parents of the minor shall be subject to twice the penalty, but if the minor is a girl under 14 years, the adult shall be punished under Article 438, if sexual intercourse takes place.

20. Article 479 rescind, and substitute “any one authorized to celebrate a marriage who shall perform a wedding ceremony forbidden by law shall be punished by a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos.”


No. 69

November 30, 1903

General Order No. 69
It is hereby ordered and decreed that:
1. The following provisions shall have the force and effect of law in criminal matters in the courts of this island from and after December 7, 1903; but existing laws on the same subject shall remain in force except in so far as they are modified or repealed, expressly or by necessary implication.

2. The judicial power of the island of Guam shall be vested in a Supreme Court, Courts of First Instance, and Courts and Justices of the Peace, as are now established; and of such municipal courts and special tribunals as may hereafter be established.

3. Judges of the courts herein mentioned and Justices of the Peace shall be appointed by the governor of the island to hold office at his pleasure and to receive such salaries as he may fix. The present incumbents in judicial offices are hereby confirmed. In case of disability to act of any judge or justice, the governor may make temporary appointments.

4. Every court shall have power: (a), To compel obedience to its judgments, orders and processes, and to the lawful orders of a judge out of court in an action, or proceeding, pending therein. (b), To control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial officers, and of all other persons in any manner connected with a judicial proceeding before it, in every matter pertaining thereto. (c), To preserve and to enforce order in its immediate presence. (d), To compel the attendance of persons to testify in an action or proceeding pending therein. (e), To administer, or cause to be administered, oaths in an action or proceeding pending therein, and in all other cases where it may be necessary in the exercise of its powers. (f), To amend and control its processes and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justice.

5. The sessions of every court of justice shall be public, except: (a), That the judge may, in his discretion, exclude the public when the testimony to be adduced is of so indecent a nature as to require such exclusion in the interests of morality. (b), That the judge may, in his discretion, exclude all persons except his clerk or accompanying witnesses during preliminary investigations; and (c), the judge shall exclude the public at the request of the defendant. But in no case, except the second mentioned above, shall the officers of the court, the attorneys in the case, the complainant, or persons having a legal interest in the case be excluded.

6. The records of every Court of Justice, except the records and available for inspection by any party in interest during proper business hours, under the supervision of the clerk having the custody of such records, except in such special cases in which the court may have forbidden the publicity of the records in the interests of morality by reason of their indecent character.

7. All peace officers are authorized to serve and to execute all criminal processes of courts within the jurisdiction of said courts. The following are peace officers; the governor, judges of courts of justice, justices of the peace, gobernadorcillos, tenientes, cabezas de barangay, constable, alcaldes, members of the Insular Artillery.

8. Any peace officer may pursue and arrest without warrant: (a), Any person found in suspicious places, or under suspicious circumstances reasonable tending to show that such person has committed, or is about to commit a crime or breach or the peace; (b), any person who commits a public offense in the presence, or within the view, of such peace officer; and in such pursuit or arrest, peace officers may enter any private ship, boat, building, or grounds; or take into custody any person therein whom they reasonably suspect of being concerned in such crime or breach of the peace, and also any property which they reasonably suspect has been stolen. And in making such arrest, peace officers may call for assistance on any able-bodied man in the immediate vicinity. Peace officers shall detain an arrested person only until he can be brought before the proper magistrate.

9. The clerk of every court shall have power, within his district, to administer oaths and affirmations provided for by law in all matters incident to his office in the execution of affidavits, depositions, and other documents requiring an oath.

10. The Ministerio Fiscal shall have charge of the prosecution of all crimes and misdemeanors in the Supreme Court and in the courts of First Instance; and he may, when he deems that the public interests require it, assume charge of the prosecution of any crime or misdemeanor in a Justice of the Peace court.

11. The oath taken by the defense in a case tried in the Court of First Instance shall be construed to cover such duties as he may perform in the Supreme Court.

12. In all criminal trials the judge may acquit the defendant after the prosecution has closed, if, in his opinion, the evidence presented does not warrant a conviction.

13. A court may find a defendant guilty of any offense, or of any attempted or frustrated offense, the commission of which is necessarily included in the charge upon which he was tried and of which the evidence shows the defendant was guilty.

14. In furtherance of justice, a court may, without regard to technicalities, allow a party to amend any pleading, answer, or other proceeding, at any stage of the trial, so that the actual facts and merits may be determined in the most expeditious and inexpensive manner; provided, that the same does not prejudice the substantial rights of a party to the trial. The amendment shall be allowed only after such notice and opportunity to be heard have been given to the other parties as the court may deem just.

15. The form in which a judgment, order, writ, or any process is issued shall not be sufficient ground to invalidate, or warrant disobedience to, the same; provided, the meaning thereof can be clearly understood from the language used. No judgment shall be reversed on formal or technical grounds, or for any error that has not prejudiced the real rights of the party asking for a reversal.

16. The accused in all criminal actions before the courts of this island shall be entitled: (a), To a speedy, public, and oral trial. (b), To be informed of the accusation against him. (c), To be present at his trial and to defend himself in person or by counsel. (d), To be exempt from testifying against himself. (e), To be allowed to testify in his own behalf; if he fails to testify, such failure shall not be construed as evidence against him; but if he does so testify, he may be cross-examined like other witnesses. (f), To have process issue to compel the attendance of witnesses, (g), To examine all witnesses called for his defense, and to cross-examine all witnesses called for the prosecution. (h), To appeal.

17. In every case in which the Court of First Instance acquits the defendant, the sentence shall be immediately executed; in all other cases, the sentence will not be executed until reviewed and affirmed by the Supreme Court.

18. The Judge of the Supreme Court is empowered to issue rules regulating the forms to be used and the conduct of business in all the island courts. Such rules shall be binding; but no judgment shall be reversed by reason of a failure to comply with such rules unless the substantial rights of a party have been impaired by such failure.

19. The Supreme Court may on review or appeal reverse, affirm, or modify any order, decree, or final judgment, of the Court of First Instance; or it may direct further testimony to be taken, or a reconsideration of the findings and sentence; but in case a reconsideration is ordered, the Supreme Court shall render its opinion or judgment on the points of law involved.

20. The Supreme Court shall have the power in any case appealed to or reviewed by it, to take new evidence orally or by deposition, after due notice to all parties; but in such case it shall not increase the punishment assigned by the Court of First Instance.

21. Any order or judgment issued by the Supreme Court in a case reviewed by it on appeal or otherwise may be certified to the Court of First Instance to be attached to the record of the case.

22. The Court of First Instance shall give immediate effect to any order, or judgment certified to it from the Supreme Court.

23. A witness in any judicial proceeding shall not be compelled to answer any question where it reasonably appears to the presiding judge that the answer may tend to expose said witness to any punishment, or to a criminal charge. No such testimony elicited from a witness over his objection shall ever be used against him in any prosecution pending, or thereafter instituted, against him for any crime or offense that he may have previously committed. This privilege shall not be so construed as to excuse a defendant from answering questions on cross-examination relating to matters to which he has already testified.

24. Any criminal case tried in the Court of First Instance may be appealed to the Supreme Court as follows: (a), Notice of Appeal must be given to the Court of First Instance, or its clerk, within two days from the day on which the appellant received notice of the judgment appealed from; and (b), the grounds of appeal must be submitted within four days from the same day. The record will then be delivered to the Promotor Fiscal for a period not exceeding five days. Upon its return to the Court of First Instance, it will be immediately forwarded to the Supreme Court. The judge of the Court of First Instance may extend these periods for good reasons stated.

25. The defendant in any criminal action may appeal from a final judgment of the Court of First Instance on any reasonable grounds. In cases not appealed arguments will not be submitted to the Supreme Court unless asked for.

26. The punishment first assigned by the Court of First Instance may be increased by it in those cases only in which the defendant has appealed to the Supreme Court and the record has been returned to the Court of First Instance ordering new evidence to be taken.

27. The object of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused in court when desired.

28. Bail will always be allowed, except in capital cases when the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption of guilt is strong. Excessive bail shall not be required. Bail may be waived if the judge considers that the circumstances warrant such action.

29. In fixing the amount of bail, the court shall consider the nature of the crime and all circumstances tending to show what interest the accused may have in placing himself beyond the jurisdiction of the court, and his facilities for doing so.

30. The bail, if forfeited, shall be applied to satisfy the costs incurred in keeping the bail record, and the balance shall be turned into the island treasury.

31. The privileges now secured by law to the person claiming to be injured by the offense to take part in its prosecution and to recover damages for the injuries sustained, are not abridged by this order. The intervention of injured persons shall, however, be confined to questions that relate to the civil liability arising from the commission of the offense, except in those crimes that can be prosecuted at the instance of a party only. Injured persons who are parties to the action shall have the right of appeal from decisions affection the civil liability.

32. Judges of the Supreme and First Instance courts may punish summarily by fine not exceeding 50 pesos, or by imprisonment not exceeding ten days, or by both, any person: (a), Who misbehaves in the presence of , or so near, the judges of said courts as to obstruct the orderly administration of justice; (b), who, being present, refuses to be sworn as a witness; (c), who, being a witness, refuses to answer when lawfully required to do so.

33. Justices of the Peace may punish summarily by fine not exceeding 10 pesos, or by imprisonment not exceeding two days, or by both, persons guilty of any of the offenses mentioned in Article 32, above.

34. Any person may be punished for contempt of court: (a), Who fails to obey a subpoena duly served; (b), who, being a court officer, misbehaves in the performance of his official duties; (c), who rescues, or attempts to rescue, the person or property held by an officer legally, or by lawful order, or by process of a court; (d), who disobeys, or offers resistance to the execution of, a lawful writ, order, process, judgment, or injunction of any court or judge. Any person guilty under this section may be punished by imprisonment not exceeding two months, by fine not exceeding one hundred pesos, or by both; provided, that if the contempt consists in the omission to do an act, which the guilty person is able still to perform, he may be imprisoned until he performs it.

35. A person accused of contempt under Article 34 above, shall be allowed to explain his action and the judge may accept a satisfactory explanation, if justice is thereby done. If the explanation is not accepted as satisfactory, the accused person shall be tried ex-efficio in the court against which the contempt is alleged to have been committed. The procedure shall be as in other criminal trials in that court, except that there need be no preliminary investigation. The accused shall have the right of appeal.

36. Any person committed to prison for contempt may be released by the committing court when that court is reasonably convinced that the public interests will not suffer thereby.

37. Any person guilty of an offense under Article 34 above who is not tried for contempt may be tried and punished as otherwise provided.

38. Any person who shall willfully and corruptly testify falsely in any cause or proceeding before any judicial tribunal of this island, or before any officer thereof in any case where an oath or affirmation is required by law, or is necessary in securing justice, shall be guilty of perjury; and upon conviction shall be imprisoned not longer than five years.

39. Any person who shall by any means whatever procure or attempt to procure another person to commit perjury shall be guilty of subordination of perjury; and upon conviction shall be imprisoned not longer than two years.

40. The purpose of the sumario shall be: (a), To determine with reasonable certainty whether or not a crime has been committed; (b), to determine with reasonable probability who has committed the crime; (c), to obtain information to assist in fixing the amount of bail: (d), to obtain evidence to enable the prosecution to properly present the case at the oral trial.

41. The complaint and the examination of the complainant shall be made under the same general requirements as at present.

42. As soon after the arrest of the accused as practicable he will be given a hearing and will be allowed to submit any statement or explanation he has to make, but he will first be cautioned that he is not obliged to answer any questions and that whatever he may say will be competent evidence against him. During this hearing his counsel will not be allowed to give advice as to answers or to object to questions, and said counsel may be excluded.

43. In examining other witnesses it shall only be necessary to record the substance of such evidence as may be relevant to the case, and the procedure and forms followed need only be such as will most quickly and efficiently serve the purposes for which the sumario is conducted as given in his order. Except as provided for in the preceding paragraph the evidence taken during the sumario will not be produced during the oral trial, nor considered in making up the findings and sentence.

44. Witnesses other than the complainant shall not be subject to prosecution for evidence given in the sumario unless a corrupt intent is shown beyond all reasonable doubt.

45. The accused shall have nor right of challenge until the indictment is served on him, and any challenge made must be presented within two days from that time unless the grounds of the challenge are not known until later.

46. As soon as it is shown that a crime has probable been committed and that there is a reasonable indication that a known person committed it, the arrest of that person shall be ordered by the judge; and after his hearing the bail will be fixed it the offense is bailable. The amount of bail can be changed by the judge whenever he considers it necessary.

47. Upon the arrest of the accused he will be informed of the cause of his arrest, and when arrested by the order of the court he will be informed of the cause and nature of the charge against him.

48. In crimes that can only be denounced by a party, the complainant must allege facts that constitute a crime, but it will be sufficient if in the complaint and in the examination the complainant alleges such facts.

49. In crimes that can only be prosecuted by a party, the sumario shall be confined to what is necessary to convince the examining judge whether or not the complaint is made in good faith and on reasonable grounds.

50. There will be no formal auto declaring the accused “procesado” except as contained in the indictment. If at any time during the sumario the examining judge is convinced that no crime has been committed, he will discharge the accused and close the sumario in an auto giving his reasons therefore. When convinced there is no rational indication of the criminality of the accused, he may discharge the accused and proceed with the investigation, and may order the arrest of any other person whose guilt is indicated. When convinced that all the available means of information are exhausted, without obtaining sufficient evidence on which to found an indictment against a known person, he will issue a sobresemiento according to the facts found.

51. Cases in the sumario stage on the day this order goes into effect will be continued according to the terms of this order, but in “seclusion” cases the declaration of the accused, if already given, will not be used against him and all cases in the plenario stage on that day will, in the Court of First Instance, be completed according to provisions of existing laws.

52. The oral trial in courts of first instance will begin with the reading of the indictment, and the accused will then be called upon to plead as provided for in articles 65, 66, 67, and 68 of this order in trials before justices of the peace, except that the time allowed to prepare for trial shall be five days instead of two days, unless the accused waives his right to that much time.

53. The indictment may be amended as to matters of form, or to remedy a mistake in the classification of the offense, on the motion of the Promotor Fiscal at any time before the taking of evidence is concluded and within the discretion of the judge, provided it can be done without injustice to the accused, due notice being given and reasonable time being allowed the accused when such amendment affects the defense.

54. Hereafter no judge will excuse himself from presiding at a trial on the ground of intimate friendship unless he certifies that here exists the close personal relation of intimate friendship that would make it legally improper for him to act.

55. The provisions of the following articles shall apply only to courts of Justices of the Peace, except Articles 71 and 72, which shall also apply to courts of First Instance.

56. The jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace is hereby extended to include: (a), threats under Article 495 of the Penal Code; (b), thefts when the value of the property stolen does not exceed five pesos in value; (c), swindles and other false pretenses under Article 534 and under Number 5 of Articles 535 Penal Code, when the fraud does not exceed 5 pesos in amount.

57. A person convicted of any of these crimes shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding three months, by fine not exceeding 60 pesos, or by both; provided that, if such person is two or more times a recidivist, the limits shall be four and one half months imprisonment, 90 pesos fine, or both.

58. A Justice of the Peace shall make the following entries for each criminal action: (a), title of the action and description of the accused; (b), offense charged; (c), date of arrest; (d), date of arraignment and plea; (e), date of trial, and minutes of all adjournments; (f), names and addresses of all witnesses sworn and examined; (g), judgment; the judgment shall be based solely on the evidence adduced at the public trial; it shall state what facts the Justice decides are proved, the article in the code, or other place, in which the offense is classified, the penalty, and such other decisions as are incident to the case; (h), signature of the justice; (i), itemized statements of all costs; (j), notice of appeal, if given.

59. A complaint is a written accusation, SWORN to before a competent officer, charging a person with a legal offense.

60. A complaint should include the following information: (a), The name, if known, of the person charged, or, “some person, name unknown”; the name may be added to the complaint whenever ascertained; (b), the acts which constitute the offense; (c), the time and place as near as practicable; (d), the names, if known of the persons injured or against whose property the offense was committed.

61. The complainant must inform the justice of all persons whom he believes to have knowledge of the commission of the offense.

62. The justice shall investigate the complaint and may for that purpose summon witnesses to testify under oath. The record need be kept of their testimony, if the offense charged is within his jurisdiction; if beyond his jurisdiction, a record shall be kept as is required for forming a sumario.

63. An investigation may be commenced de oficio upon information.

64. If, from the investigation, there is reasonable ground to believe that the offense charged was committed and that a specific person committed it, and if the justice has jurisdiction, he shall order said person’s arrest and arraign him.

65. The accused shall be brought before the justice as soon after his arrest as practicable; the charge and the complaint, if any, shall be read to him and a copy thereof furnished him, if he demands it; he shall then be asked whether he is guilty, or not guilty, as charged.

66. If the accused pleads guilty, the justice, unless has reason to doubt the truth of the plea, shall sentence him without delay.

67. If the accused pleads not guilty, he shall be entitled on request, to at least two days to prepare for trial. If the accused does not request time for preparation, the trial may be immediately begun, or a day may be set, at the discretion of the Justice.

68. If the accused refuses, or fails, to answer, a plea of not guilty shall be entered for him.

69. The complaint may be amended at any time before the defendant pleads; and thereafter, before judgment, in the discretion of the justice, when it can be done without prejudice to the rights of the accused.

70. At any time before judgment, if it appears that a mistake has been made in designating the offense, the charge may be amended and the trial proceed, unless, in the interest of justice, the justice grants a delay at the request of the defendant. If the amended charge be beyond the jurisdiction of the justice, the proceedings shall be those required in forming the sumario.

71. The trial shall be public and shall be begun by reading the complaint, if there be any; followed by an examination of the witnesses for the prosecution and the other evidence proposed by the Promotor Fiscal, if present, and by the complainant, if the judge considers the same admissible. Thereupon, the defendant and the witnesses he may present in his defense shall be heard and such other evidence shall be taken as he may offer and as is relevant, the provisions of the law being observed. Thereupon, the arguments of the parties shall be heard; the public prosecutor, if present, speaking first, then the complainant, and finally the defendant. The judge may, in his discretion, limit the arguments to not less than fifteen minutes each. These arguments may be written or oral, in whole or in part. Judgment shall be rendered promptly, and shall not be delayed longer than two days.

72. The absence of the accused shall not stay the holding of the trial, nor the rendering of judgment, provided he was duly cited to appear, and there are not good and sufficient reasons for his absence.

73. While a witness is testifying, the court may exclude all witnesses who have not testified, and direct that they hold no conversation as to the trial.

74. Any criminal case tried in a court of the Justice of the Peace may be appealed as follows: (a), Notice of appeal must be given to the Court, or its Clerk, within one day after the rendition of the judgment appealed from; (b), the defendant must pay any fine imposed, together with the costs of the action, or furnish satisfactory bonds therefore. In case of acquittal in the appellate court, the costs will be refunded or the bond canceled.

75. An appeal from a court of the Justice of the Peace vacates the judgment rendered, and all cases so appealed shall have a public trial in the Court of First Instance the same as if they had been commenced in that court.

76. The Justice of the Peace from whom an appeal is taken shall, within five days after the appeal is entered, forward to the Court of First Instance a certified copy of the record as it appears on his docket.


Nos. 70 – 73

No. 70

December 4, 1903

General Order No. 70
It is hereby ordered and decreed that:
General Order No. 4 and article 3 of General Order No. 26 are hereby rescinded.

Hereafter only such processions and demonstrations will require permits as by their magnitude and nature interrupt the ordinary use of the streets: but neither preaching, lecturing, exhortations, nor shows will be carried on in the public streets or places without a permit.

Wedding, funeral, and other such processions and ceremonies of a personal nature will not require a permit unless carried on so as to conflict with the other paragraphs of this order.

Any demonstration or preceding in the streets or other public places that is evidently tending to create disorder or that conflicts with the laws will be stopped by the senior peace officer present.

Anyone violating the foregoing paragraphs of this order may be punished by a fine not exceeding 10 pesos; and justice of the peace courts will have jurisdiction over such violations.

Paragraph 3 of General Order No. 67 is so far modified that a copy of the record under such reasonable restriction as the court may impose.

Article 71 of General Order No. 69 is hereby modified as follows: The Arguments shall be begun by the complainant who may have a substantial interest in the trail; the defendant shall follow with his argument; and the public prosecutor will be allowed to make the final argument. Judgment will be rendered promptly, but the time limit of two days will not apply.

W.E. Sewell, USN

No. 71

December 7, 1903

General Order No. 71
It is hereby ordered and decreed:
1. All existing licenses to midwives in this island will cease to be valid after December 31, 1903. Licenses to midwives will hereafter be issued for the calendar year or for an unexpired portion thereof.

2. Hereafter, in the month of December of each year, at a time and place to be fixed by the head of the Department of Health and Charities, every midwife in the island, unless excused by authority, and all candidates for licenses as midwives shall report for a course of instruction and an examination as to qualifications. To those found qualified licenses for the ensuing calendar year will be issued.

3. A license will be issued without a charge to the recipient. According to the aptitude for instruction and efficiency shown in practice by the applicants, licenses of two classes will be issued, Ordinary Licenses and First-Class Licenses. Both classes of licenses carry the right to collect fees for services rendered, but midwives holding First-Class Licenses shall have a right to a fee of five (5) pesos for attendance through an ordinary case of confinement, and in default of an agreement to pay them this sum may, if they choose, decline to undertake a case.

4. Midwives now holding unexpired licenses, and candidates for licenses for the calendar year 1904 shall report at the Enfermeria (Maria Schroeder Hospital) in Agana on December 15, 1903, at 9 a.m., for a course of instruction to be followed by an examination.


No. 72

December 10, 1903

General Order No. 72
It is hereby ordered and decreed that:
General Order nos. 38 and 64 are so far modified that hereafter the Personal Tax for each year shall be 8 pesos Mexican if paid in money, or ten days work if paid in labor.


No. 73

December 21, 1903

General Order No. 73
It is hereby ordered and decreed that;
1. The Embargos Preventivos as now practiced in criminal cases are hereby abolished.

2. The following property shall be exempt from all attachment and executing, except as herein provided:

(a) The debtor’s homestead in which he resides, together with land in use, together not exceeding 150 pesos in value.

b. One horse, or one cow, or one carabao, or other beast of burden, with one cart for same, together not exceeding 150 pesos in value and necessarily used by him in his ordinary occupation.

c. Tools and implements necessarily used by him in his trade or employment.

d. The necessary clothing of the debtor and that of all his family.

e. Household furniture and utensils necessary for housekeeping and used for that purpose by the debtor, such as the debtor may select, of a value not exceeding 75 pesos.

f. Books and articles connected with religious worship, together not exceeding 25 pesos in value.

g. Provisions already provided for family use sufficient for three months.

h. The professional libraries of lawyers, judges, clergyman, doctors and teachers, not exceeding 500 pesos in value.

i. One fishing boat and one net not exceeding a total value of 25 pesos, the property of any fisherman who uses them.

j. Gravestones, lettered or in use.

k. All property not exempted by this order shall be subject to attachment and execution.

3. This order will not be construed as exempting property from execution issued upon judgment recovered for its price, or upon judgment of foreclosure of a mortgage thereon.


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