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Court gives young offender 8th chance to straighten up

reporters@samoanews.com

Chief Justice Michael Kruse has given a repeat offender an 8th chance to prioritize his life. Andrew Peters also known as Andrew Fagota, pleaded with the court for another chance to straighten out his life when he was sentenced last week Friday.

Peters was charged in connection with burglarizing a taxi that was parked in front of a store — taking off with an iPhone.

He was initially facing charges of burglary, stealing and fleeing from police. However, the defendant pleaded guilty to stealing, a felony and fleeing from police, a misdemeanor while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges. During sentencing the defendant asked the court for one last chance to return home and care for his parents.

The Chief Justice asked the defendant, “How many chances do you expect the court to give you?” The defendant replied, this is the last chance he’s pleading the court to give him.

He apologized to the court, the government, his family and the victim in this matter. Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin who represents the defendant asked the court to consider that he defendant is a very young man who still has the ability to become a productive member of society, given that alcohol is a great factor in this matter.

Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde noted that the government does not oppose probation for the defendant, however jail time should be imposed in this case.

Hyde pointed out it was the defendant’s peers who led him into trouble this time and he should set an example to his younger siblings who are also on the wrong side of the law.

Chief Justice reminded the defendant that if the court gives him another chance it would be the 8th chance.

He again asked the defendant how many chances he expects the court to give him. The defendant noted that this would be the last chance he’s asking for.

He added that the last chance he was given, it was a very long time before he re-offended.

Kruse noted the defendant took an iPhone from a parked vehicle and took off, however when he realized the owner was looking for his iPhone the defendant gave it to someone to return to the owner.

Kruse noted that the court has taken into account the defendant’s youth and the court will fashion a fitting sentence for the defendant.

The defendant was sentenced to seven years for the stealing count and one year for the fleeing charge. However the sentences will be served concurrently. Kruse placed the defendant on probation on certain conditions by which he must abide.

The defendant was ordered to serve 28 months in jail, however all but six months will be stayed on the condition that he enroll in the GED program to attain his high school diploma. “If you can’t be bothered with attending school you will be jailed for 28 months,” said Kruse.

He was also ordered not to consume any alcohol or drugs unless prescribed by an authorized physician.

The defendant will be subject to random testing for alcohol in his system. Remain a law abiding citizen is one of the conditions and he was placed on a curfew until he turns 21. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., “You may not leave home”, the CJ warned the defendant.

The court also restricted the defendant from hanging out with his friends, “John and Ace” directly and indirectly at any time. Kruse told the defendant that upon his release from the Tafuna Correction Facility during the first month he must visit the probation office twice.

“If you can’t be bothered with the conditions of probation you will be jailed for seven years,” said the Chief Justice.



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