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Court Report

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CHURCH MINISTER PLEA UNDER ADVISEMENT

Chief Justice Michael Kruse accompanied on the bench by Chief Associate Judge Logoai Siaki and Associate Judge Fa’amausili Pomele has taken under advisement a plea agreement between the government and CCCAS Faleniu Reverend, Ali’ioaiga Filioali’i.

The defendant is represented by Fiti Sunia while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag.

The Church minister is charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a car accident which led to the death of a 12-year old girl on September 19, 2010.

The criminal count is a felony, which is punishable with up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

The plea agreement which was read in court has it that the defendant pleads no contest to the amended count of reckless driving causing bodily injury, a misdemeanor which carries a jail term of up to one year in jail a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

According to the plea agreement, upon the defendant’s plea of no contest to the misdemeanor charge, he admits that on or about September 19, 2010 he operated a vehicle which struck the pedestrian and she sustained injuries that led to her death.

When Chief Justice asked the defendant what is his plea to the count of reckless driving, he responded “no contest”. The Chief Justice put it to the defendant that his plea of no contest will be treated as a guilty plea during sentencing, and the defendant replied he understands completely.

He also warned the defendant that if the court accepts his plea of no contest, he may not come back at a later time to withdraw his plea. The church minister noted that he understood. Kruse then called the lawyers to the bench for several minutes.

Kruse said the matter is under advisement pending the pre sentence report and scheduled the matter to be heard on August 5, 2012.  

According to the government’s case the defendant was the driver of an F-150 pick-up truck that struck the victim who was on the sidewalk with her friend, walking along the Faleniu public highway on September 19, 2010.

According to court filings, the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed, and the victim was rushed to LBJ, where she slipped into a coma and died 11 days later.

CRYSTAL TE’O TO BE SENTENCED IN JULY

Former station manager for Dependable Global Express (DGX) Company, Crystal Te’o will be sentenced on August 3, 2012 following a plea agreement hearing in the High Court yesterday. Te’o of Pago Pago was charged with two counts of embezzlement and she entered a guilty plea to both counts.

According to the plea agreement, she admits that she embezzled money belonging to the company while working there. Also in the plea deal, the defendant has agreed to pay restitution to the company involved.

The plea agreement between the government and the defendant was accepted by Chief Justice Michael Kruse. Each embezzlement charge carries a jail-term of up to seven years and/or a fine of $5,000 — or a fine equal to twice the amount gained from the crime up to $20,000 — or both fine and imprisonment.

Te’o remains in police custody with bail set at $25,000. She’s represented by Assistant Public Defender Michael White.

According to the government’s case, defendant Te’o was employed by the DGX Company from June 2009 to April 6, 2012, and is alleged to have rented a car and opened a gas station account using the company name and designating DGX as the responsible party for payment, however she rented the car for her personal use and did not have DGX permission to open a gas account.

Kruse has ordered a pre sentence report in this matter.

HIGH COURT ACCEPTS TAVITA TUISALO’O GUILTY PLEA

A plea agreement between the government and a man facing drug charges following a raid of his home by police was accepted by Chief Justice Michael Kruse in the High Court yesterday morning. Tavita Tausalo’o was scheduled to have his jury trial later this month however, he changed his mind and accepted the government’s offer.

Tuisaloo was initially charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. He pled guilty to the amended charge of the same offense with the lesser penalty.

The criminal charges against the defendant were the result of a raid which was conducted by the Vice and Narcotics Division of the Department of Public Safety.

Police confiscated from the defendant’s home a live marijuana plant, live ammunition and drug paraphernalia. Kruse ordered a pre sentence report and scheduled sentencing for the defendant on July 30, 2012.

The defendant, who’s out on bail of $10,000, is represented by Public Defender Ruth Risch Fuatagavi, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag.

GOVERNMENT’S CASE AGAINST DEAN NIU IN HIGH COURT

A 20-year old man facing multiple criminal charges on allegations that he robbed a store, took off with a case of beer and assaulted the store clerk in the process has denied the charges against him.

Dean Niu of Mapusaga Fou is charged with robbery first degree, burglary first degree, assault third degree, resisting arrest, misdemeanor stealing, property damage third degree and underage drinking.

Niu, who’s being held on bail of $10,000 waived his rights to a preliminary examination hearing in the District Court last week Friday and was arraigned in High Court yesterday morning before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond.

A pretrial conference for the defendant is scheduled on August 3, 2012, where he will be  represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin. Prosecuting this matter is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.

According to court fillings, the defendant tried to buy beer after hours, and when refused by the shopkeeper/ victim, he and a friend kept insisting on the sale. After being chased out of the store, according to the government the incident escalated into a robbery, assault and resisting arrest case.

The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.



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