The High Court yesterday sentenced drug defendant Sene Hudson to three years imprisonment, suspended — and he was placed on three years probation under several conditions, including that he pays a $2,000 fine with half of the amount to be paid in 90 days.
Associate Justice Lyle Richmond, who was flanked on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala, said the $1,000 is in addition to the same amount Hudson’s wife was ordered to pay when she was sentenced more than a week ago for a similar charge.
Hudson, who has been out on bail following his arrest, pled guilty last month to unlawful possession of marijuana, a class D felony punishable by five years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine or both.
When given a chance to speak at sentencing, Hudson apologized for “what I’ve done” and the “damage done to my family, my father, and my community”. Since his arrest this year, Hudson said he has “been working to correct what I’ve done to... my family.”
He asked for leniency in sentencing that would allow him to “continue to fix what I’ve done”.
His attorney Public Defender Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi said that her client has no prior criminal record, he is currently gainfully employed, has two small children to care for and it was a small amount of marijuana found on him.
“This is a huge wake up call for my client,” she told the court, and asked for a probative sentence. She said this has been a difficult time for Hudson and his family.
Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna had no objection to a probative sentence. She said that based on the lack of a criminal record, and the small amount of marijuana — one joint — found on Hudson, the government agrees with the defense.
Richmond outlined several conditions for Hudson’s probation, which include that he does not consume alcohol and is not involved in any drugs, has no association with anyone connected to drugs and alcohol, and is subject to random testing and random search of himself and his property. He must be a law abiding citizen and must complete drug and alcohol counseling.
Richmond said he hopes that the defendant meant what he told the court that he wants to turn his life around, to which Hudson said, “I do your honor”.
Richmond ordered that the marijuana in this case be destroyed in front of a court marshal, who would then file an official report with the court.
The former elementary school teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year old female student, which resulted in the girl’s pregnancy, returns to the High Court in February as both sides works on a resolution to this matter.
Twenty six year old Tone Pulou has pled not guilty to the charges of rape, sexual abuse in the first degree, and endangering the welfare of a child. Pulou, who remains in custody, was in court yesterday for a pre trial conference hearing and his attorney Public Defender Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi said this case is being handled by Assistant Public Defender David White, who was at the District Court for other cases.
She said the defense is working on a resolution to this case with the government and Assistant Attorney General Mitzie Jessop Folau concurred.
The defense then requested a continuation, which the court granted, with the next court hearing set for Feb. 6.
According to court documents, the girl told police that she had sexual intercourse with Pulou starting around September 2009 and ending February of last year.
This case only came to the attention of the authorities when the female student and her mother went to see the obstetrician at LBJ Medical Center, who then contacted Protective Services that the girl was pregnant.
Pulou fled the territory to Australia last year when the government moved to file charges. In October this year, Pulou visited relatives in Hawai’i, where he was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents based on a warrant issued by the local District Court.
A young man accused by the government of assaulting a female friend, was arraigned in High Court yesterday after his case was bound over to the District Court after the defendant waived his rights to a preliminary examination hearing.
Matthew Yandall is faced with assault in the second degree and at yesterday’s arraignment hearing in High Court, a not guilty plea was entered by his attorney Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi.
Yandall remains in custody unable to post bail and returns Feb. 6 for his pre trial conference hearing. The charge against Yandall stems from an incident that occurred in Pago Pago more than a week ago.