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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

DUI CHARGE DISMISSED AGAINST COAST GUARD LT STEVEN CASKEY

District Court Judge Elvis Patea accepted a plea agreement between the government and Coast Guard Safety Detachment Unit Lieutenant Steven Caskey in a traffic matter.

Caskey was arrested in December last year and was charged with driving under the influence and careless driving. Lt Caskey yesterday pled guilty to reckless driving, amended from careless driving, while the government moved to dismiss the DUI charge.

The reckless charge is a class B misdemeanor which is punishable up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500 or both.

Assistant Attorney General Blake Hanley told the court the government is recommending that the defendant receive six months probation, undergo alcohol counseling, suspend his driver’s license for 45 days, and he’s to apologize to the police officers involved in this case.

Judge Patea told Lt Caskey that recommendations by counsel are not binding on the court, and if the court accepts the plea and renders sentencing as the court sees fit, he cannot come back at a later time wishing to withdraw his guilty plea. Lt Caskey noted he understood.

According to the government’s case on December 30, 2011, around 3:00 a.m. Detective John Paselio (Vice and Narcotic Division) was driving in an unmarked police unit on the main road near the London Missionary Church of Pago, when he observed an approaching vehicle swerve into his lane over the solid double lines, almost colliding with his unit. The detective quickly swerved to the right to avoid a head-on collision, and then, immediately made a U-turn to conduct a traffic stop on said vehicle.

According to the government’s case Detective Paselio explained to Defendant that he stopped his vehicle for crossing the double solid lines and nearly colliding with his police unit.

The detective detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from Defendant’s breath and noticed that Defendant’s face was red; and suspected Defendant of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The defendant was transported to Central Station due to the poor lighting and safety concerns at the scene.

The Field Sobriety Tests were then conducted at the Central Station and officers determined that Defendant failed all three tests.

Defendant was informed about the breathalyzer test and the implied consent laws, according to the government; however defendant refused to provide a breath test and said that he did not want to risk it and he was arrested afterwards.

Sentencing for Lt Caskey will be July 20, 2012. He’s represented by Sharron Rancourt.

VICTOR LIWAN TACLOLOY CASE GOES TO TRIAL

A Filipino man charged in connection with a sex case who did not take the plea deal from the government is proceeding with a jury trial.

Victor Liwan Tacloloy is charged with first degree sexual abuse, resisting arrest, third degree assault and private peace disturbance.

The sexual abuse charge and resisting arrest are class D felonies which are punishable up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both, while third degree assault is a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. Private peace disturbance charge is a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail, a fine of up to $300 or both.

This matter was heard before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.

According to the government’s case the defendant engaged in a drinking session with an underaged girl and it’s alleged after the party, which occurred in October 2011, he touched the minor inappropriately.

Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop is prosecuting in this matter. The jury trial is scheduled for October 12, 2012.



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