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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

ROMEO PERETANIA

Drug defendant Romeo Peretania, who’s being held on $150,000 bail, is facing one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with intent to distribute, resisting arrest and public peace disturbance.

Peretania appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse for allegedly violating his five-year probation, which was in place after he was sentenced in a previous drug case.

Kruse rescheduled the matter for next week Tuesday.

In this recent case, the government claims that police executed a search warrant on Peretania, in which they confiscated 12 small baggies containing methamphetamine and a glass pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine. The items were found in Peretania’s pocket.

Cash in the amount of $226 was also found in his possession. It’s alleged that police physically struggled with Peretania in placing handcuffs on him, and he is also accused of swearing at police officers.

ASOSALAUPAMA PAAGA

Chief Justice Michael Kruse has rescheduled another probation review hearing for Asolaupama Pa’aga who was convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana in January 2011.

Kruse placed Pa’aga on probation for five years and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine when he was sentenced last October, and as of yesterday, he had already paid half of the fine.

The next probation hearing for Pa’aga is scheduled in the next three months. Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin told the court that Pa’aga has been in compliance with the conditions of his probation.

However Kruse pointed out that the defendant hasn’t fully paid his fine and the defendant is not in jail because he has to pay his $2,000 fine.

Kruse scheduled another probation review hearing in the next 30 days on the status of the fine the defendant was ordered to pay.

Kruse told the Assistant Public Defender to remind her client about the fine.

A police raid in Pago Pago in early 2011 led to the arrest of Pa’aga who was found with several marijuana joints in his possession.

CURTIS YANDALL

Pretrial conference hearing for Curtis Yandall, charged in connection with the death of a young man in October 2010 has been continued for another week.

Sharron Rancourt, who represents Yandall, asked Chief Justice Michael Kruse for a brief continuance as negotiations are ongoing. Kruse granted the request and set the matter for next week Friday.

Yandall is facing manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide — both felonies.

Yandall, who is from Pago Pago is denying the charges, which are in connection with the death of Darren Smith Tualaulelei in ,October, 2010. He is out on a surety bond of $7,500.

According to the government’s case the victim Tualaulelei fell off a truck which was driven by the defendant.

Court filing state that when Yandall was questioned by police he said he was drinking with the victim and other boys and he was unaware that Tualaulelei was in the back of his truck, until he fell off the vehicle. In his testimony to police, Yandall said he panicked when he saw that the victim was injured, but he was still breathing and was making sounds like he was snoring.

Yandall told police that he didn’t want to take the victim home because Darren’s parents might think he made him drink alcohol; and he did not want to take the victim to the hospital, because the hospital might report the matter to police and he would be arrested for making the victim drink, according to the court documents.

Court documents state that the victim was admitted to the hospital on October 29, 2010; and the Surgical Clinic doctor Faiaoga Tosi said the victim suffered a broken collar bone, and cracks on the base and left side of the skull. Seven days later the victim died.

The manslaughter charge carries a jail term of up to seven years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both, while the criminally negligent homicide is punishable up to five years in jail and a fine of $5,000 or both. Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.



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