November 13, 2003 - Agana Pacific Daily News: Philippines RPCV John Gorman is new public defender in Guam

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Philippines: Peace Corps Philippines: The Peace Corps in the Philippines: November 13, 2003 - Agana Pacific Daily News: Philippines RPCV John Gorman is new public defender in Guam

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 11:25 pm: Edit Post

Philippines RPCV John Gorman is new public defender in Guam

Philippines RPCV John Gorman is new public defender in Guam

New public defender set

By Theresa Merto
Pacific Daily News

Victor Consaga/Pacific Daily News/

Maite: John Gorman sits in his office in Maite yesterday. The 45-year-old attorney will be sworn in as the federal public defender for the District of Guam today.


# John Terence Gorman is scheduled to take the oath of office as the federal public defender for Guam at 4 p.m. today in the U.S. District Court of Guam.

Newly appointed federal public defender for Guam John Terence Gorman has built a career helping those less fortunate.

From 1982 to 1985, Gorman was among several Peace Corps volunteers who constructed a drinking water system at a small village in the Philippines.

After that, he spent four years as a case worker at a refugee camp in that country. And today, he sits on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing needy families with decent, affordable shelter.

So it was no wonder that Gorman wanted to lead an office that provides legal services to indigent people. Gorman today will be sworn in as the federal public defender in the U.S. District Court of Guam and will begin a four-year term.

The 45-year-old attorney was among 13 people who applied for the position earlier this year after the former public defender, Robert Hartsock, retired.

"Our job is to represent indigent criminal defendants in federal court, so we only represent people who don't have any money or any resources to hire their own attorney," Gorman said. The office has two attorneys -- Gorman and Richard Arens -- who handle about 150 cases a year.

"And we handle probably the bulk of criminal cases in U.S. District Court, a wide range of cases from drug importation and distribution to firearms offenses, immigration offenses, mail fraud, and embezzlement," Gorman said.

Peace Corps

Gorman spent several years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bengut Province, Philippines.

"I made about $90 a month and I lived in a little village of about 200 people, with no running water, no electricity -- no anything," Gorman said. "It was a great job, great people."

From 1985 to 1989, Gorman was a case worker at a refugee camp where he interviewed refugees and tried to get them into the United States.

"And that's where I met my wife," Gorman said, adding that his wife, Fides, was a teacher at the refugee camp.

The couple married and moved to Boston where he attended Northeastern University School of Law from 1989 to 1992. After graduation, Gorman became a public defender in Philadelphia.

Gorman later found out about a position on Guam at the Federal Public Defender's office and applied. He came to Guam in 1997.

"We just wanted to get back to the tropics. We were tired of the East Coast sleet and rain for six months of the year," Gorman said. "I was just lucky enough to get the job."

Since August 1997, Gorman has been an assistant federal public defender.

"To provide the best quality legal representation to some of the loneliest and most forgotten people of Guam, the poor people who are facing prosecution by the U.S. government -- that is our mission -- to take care of those people," Gorman said.

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Originally published Thursday, November 13, 2003

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Story Source: Agana Pacific Daily News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Philippines; Law



By Nick Aportadera ( - on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 7:56 pm: Edit Post

Atty. Gorman I wish you good luck on your new job as the Chief Public Defender on Guam. Yours is a very sticky job on an Island with diverse cultural beliefs and customs.

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