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FEMALE DRUG DEFENDANT ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

A female drug defendant in her 20’s charged in connection for alleged unlawful possession of marijuana and escaping from police custody has entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Keihana Talaese of Fagatogo appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse, Chief Associate Judge Logoai Siaki and Associate Judge Fa’amausili Pomele last Friday for her change of plea.

In the plea deal with the government Talaese pled guilty to escaping from police, while the government moved to dismiss the charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, namely marijuana.

According to the plea agreement, with Talaese’s guilty plea, she admits that she escaped from police custody after she was arrested for possession of marijuana. The Chief Justice accepted only part of the plea agreement and ordered the government to file a motion to dismiss the marijuana charge.

The government initially charged Talaese with unlawful possession of marijuana. After a few days, the government moved to file another case against the defendant, with the charge of escaping from police custody.

When Talaese’s case was called before the court on Monday, Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag, who’s prosecuting, moved to merge the two cases.

 Poag explained to the court that it was a few days after Talaese was arrested that the Attorney General’s office learned that Talaese, while under police custody fled the police station, where she was pursued on foot by other police officers. She was captured not far from the police station and taken back to the police station.

Kruse scheduled sentencing for the defendant on June 29, 2012. According to the government’s case, when Talaese was arrested and while at the police station she inquired about using the restroom. She then took off on foot and police officers chased her and apprehended her in front of the bank not far from the Police station.

Talaese was charged together with Vaoeli Lafoia, and Hefa Vahe. Lafoia and Vahe, who have already entered into plea deals with the government.

According to the government’s case police were responding to a public peace disturbance call on the Marina in Fagatogo, which later led to the arrests of Lafoia, Talaese and Vahe in February.  

SIAMUPENI LEFAOSEU ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

Chief Justice Michael Kruse has continued sentencing for Siamupeni Lefaoseu for another week. Lefasoua who pleaded guilty to second degree assault in an assault case where a machete was used, was set to be sentenced last Friday. However, the case was not called to be heard before the court.

During Lefaoseu’s change of plea hearing, he admitted that he struck the arm of another man with a machete. The 18-year old pled guilty to second degree assault, amended from first degree assault, while the government moved to dismiss the public peace disturbance charge.

According to the government, the defendant’s family performed the traditional ceremony of seeking forgiveness (ifoga) to the victim’s family, which was accepted. The government claims that the defendant’s family was also penalized by the Faleniu Village Council because of the incident.

Court filings state that the defendant assaulted the victim with a machete after he learned the victim was one of the men who beat up the defendant’s younger brother.

The defendant was represented by Sharron Rancourt while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.



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