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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

THIEF PLACED ON PROBATION

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond placed Kilisitina Seigafo on two years probation with the condition that she pay a fine of $250 and pay restitution to the victim.

Seigafo was charged in connection with stealing a business man’s ATM card. She was initially charged with felony stealing, however she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor stealing in a plea agreement with the government.

The defendant served six months in jail; however during the plea agreement, when she admitted she took businessman’s wallet and used his ATM card to withdrew money without his consent, she was released from jail.

Seigafo apologized to the court and the business man for her actions and assured the court this incident will not be repeated.

As one of the conditions of her probation, Seigafo was ordered to remain a law abiding citizen. The $250 fine Seigafo was ordered to pay must be paid within a period of three months.

She is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.

MOOT MOTION DENIED

The Trial Division of the High Court has denied the motions filed separately by Department of Public Safety officials Marie Ripley and Mike Fuiava’s to recuse Independent Prosecutor Fa’amomoi Masaniai.

According to the ruling, given that Masaniai has resigned as the appointed independent prosecutor in these actions and he has attained another job outside of American Samoa, and on March 31, 2012 the High Court’s statutorily created Appointing Division appointed attorney Marcellus Tala Uiagalelei as the independent prosecutor to proceed with these prosecutions, there is no reason to entertain the recusal motion any longer. 

Fuiava and Ripley asked the court to disqualify Masaniai due to a personal conflict of interest, and the hearings on this motion were held on December 6, 7 and 8, 2011.

According to the ruling, the issue is rendered moot.

“To further consider and rule on a moot matter would only result in an advisory opinion, which we normally decline to provide and will not make an exception in this instance” said the ruling, which was signed by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.

DRUG DEFENDANT ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

Sentencing for Vili Oney has been scheduled for June 24, 2012. Oney was facing a single count of unlawful possession of controlled substance of marijuana following a raid of his Fagaima home in February 2012.

During the plea agreement between the government and the defendant, Oney pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a lesser charge.

The original charge carries a jail term from five to ten years in jail and or a fine of up to $5,000, while the lesser charge Oney pled guilty to, carries a jail term of up to five years in jail and or a fine of up to $5,000. Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr accepted the plea agreement.

Court affidavit says the Vice and Narcotics division executed a search warrant at the defendant’s bedroom where they found what appeared to be loose marijuana substance, and marijuana residue was found in an empty shoe box. Numerous rolling papers commonly used to roll marijuana joints, a large amount of cash stored inside a white sock, and a grinder with marijuana residue that appeared to have been used to grind marijuana substance, were also found.

The marijuana substance found in the defendant’s room was tested using Dusquenoise-Levine Test and it came out positive for marijuana.

Court filings say that when police questioned the defendant he immediately admitted the marijuana found in his room belonged to him.



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