Court Report



 A $25,000 bail has been set for a man accused of stabbing another man in an incident that occurred a month ago in Lelolaloa.

Nimarote Fina’i is charged with public peace disturbance; however Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna noted that the government is looking at filing felony charges against the defendant, who made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday morning.

According to the government’s case, police received a call that Fina’i had stabbed another man, and when police responded to the call, they were told the defendant had fled the scene.

Court filings state that police found the defendant at his residence, where he told police this was the result of an incident that occurred a month ago.

Fina’i admitted to police that he stabbed the man once, because the victim and his cousin beat him up at their house.

According to the government’s case the victim sustained a deep laceration on his back, which required 10 stitches.

A condition of the defendant’s bail is that he must not contact, directly or indirectly, the victim or his family in this matter. Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley represents Fina’i.


District Court Judge Ward sentenced Police Officer Iapani Tiumalu to ten months probation in connection with a public peace disturbance incident in Utulei and Fagatogo last month.

Officer Tiumalu was initially charged with public peace disturbance and escape from confinement, which are both misdemeanors. However in a plea deal with the government the defendant entered a guilty plea to the escape from confinement charge, while the PPD count was dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Officer Tiumalu who works for the Patrol Division of the Central Police Station apologized to the court prior to Judge Ward handing down sentencing. The defendant noted that he was very sorry for letting down the Department of Public Safety and his fellow officers, his family and his village. 

The police officer acknowledged that his role is to uphold the law, not break the law, and he feels grateful for the opportunity to show DPS that this will never happen again. The police officer also noted that he’s humbled to be sitting on "the wrong side of the table" and asked the court for a second chance.

The defendant immediately after the incident occurred, enrolled into alcohol counseling.

His lawyer Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley asked the court for a probated sentence for the police officer and noted that he’s remorseful of his actions and he’s already taken the step of enrolling into alcohol counseling.

Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe only recommended that the police officer be placed on probation. Judge Ward sentenced the police officer to ten months probation under the condition that he serves 20 days at the Tafuna Correctional Facility; however the jail term will be stayed upon his good behavior.

A fine of $1,000 was also ordered, however Judge Ward deferred $900 and ordered the police officer to pay $100 within 30 days. Judge Ward initially ordered the defendant to apologize to his colleagues however Assistant PD Shelley told the court that Officer Tiumalu has already taken the initiative, and apologized to the officers who responded to the call.

According to the government’s case, the Utulei Mayor, Su’esu’e Solofa had contacted police regarding Officer Tiumalu yelling profanities while at Utulei beach.Two hours later police received another call regarding the defendant who was swearing in front of the Herb and Sia Motel in Fagatogo. The police apprehended the defendant and he was taken straight to the TCF.

According to the police affidavit when the police and defendant arrived at the TCF,  the defendant took off on foot and police went after him and again apprehended him in front of a store not far from TCF.

The police said the defendant was overly intoxicated and was swearing at the police officers.


Chief Justice Michael Kruse initially rejected the plea agreement between the government and Andrew Peter, who is accused of burglarizing a taxi that was parked in front of a store in Pago Pago, where he allegedly took off with an iPhone.

However following a hearing held earlier this week, Kruse vacated the previous order denying the plea deal and accepted the new plea agreement.

Peters was initially charged with burglary, stealing and fleeing from police, however the defendant pleaded guilty to fleeing from police while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.  Peters who remains in the custody of police with bail set at $30,000 is scheduled to be sentenced on October 22, 2012.  

According to the government’s case, police received a call from the complaining witness that someone had stolen an iPhone from his taxi.

 Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin represents the defendant while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag.


The government and the public defender’s office are continuing negotiations for resolution in the case of Naomi Mavaega accused of stealing a wallet, using the cash in it and then attempting to use the credit card belonging to the victim. She is charged with stealing and fraudulent use of a credit device.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse granted the continuance request.

According to the government’s case, the victim’s wallet was stolen at the LBJ ER on August 26, 2011.

The government claims the defendant admitted to police she had grabbed the victim’s wallet when she left the hospital, used the $40 cash, and also went to ASCO Motors with a man she owed money to, to buy tires in order to pay him back. The victim didn’t realize her wallet was stolen until she was called about the attempted use of her credit card to purchase the tires.

Pretrial conference for this matter is now scheduled on September 12, 2012. Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin represents Mavaega while prosecuting for the government is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.


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