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Court Report

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STOLEN MONEY FOUND HIDDEN AT FAMILY FARM 
 
Police officers last week confiscated $600 worth of coins from a family farm in Nu’uuli in connection with a burglary that allegedly occurred in Nu’uuli. The defendants in this case are juveniles which is why Samoa News cannot reveal their names.
 
The minors, who appeared in District Court this week, are charged with burglary and stealing, on allegations the pair broke into a store in Nu’uuli. The Attorney General’s office intends to charge the adults for receiving stolen property in this matter.
 
According to the government’s case, the pair, ages 16 and 17, broke into a store and it’s alleged that over $6,000 worth of items were removed — including phone cards, food, miscellaneous items and $600 worth of coins from said store.
 
One of the juveniles admitted to police that following the burglary, he gave his father a bucket which contained $600 in coins. Police questioned the father who denied having the coins at his farm, however the second time police questioned the father he admitted to taking the bucket of coins and hiding it at his farm in the mountains. The coins have since been identified and returned to the store owners.
 
RONALD WELLS RELEASED FROM JAIL
 
A man charged in connection with a drug case last year was released from jail in time for the holidays. Ronald Wells was arrested and charged following a police raid where he faced one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.
 
In the plea agreement with the government, the defendant pled guilty to unlawful possession of methamphetamine, which is a lesser charge. Wells apologized for breaking the law and pleaded with the court that he’s much needed at home, given that his 21-year-old son has taken over their family since his arrest.
 
He asked the court for leniency and to grant him a second chance, given that his mother, wife and children need him at home to do his fatherly duties in their family.
 
Defense counsel and prosecutor both requested the court consider the recommendation by the Probation office to place the defendant on probation. Chief Justice Michael Kruse sentenced the defendant to five years in jail, however execution of sentencing was suspended and the defendant placed on probation for a period of 20 months as part of the plea.
 
Kruse then ordered that of the 20 months, the defendant will only be incarcerated for a year and fined him $2,000. However he stayed the jail time due to the defendant’s good behavior. When the defendant was arrested police confiscated $204 in the defendant’s possession, and he was ordered to pay that amount to the court as his fine, with the balance stayed given his good behavior.
 
Wells was also ordered not to posses any controlled substance or alcohol and he’s to remain a law abiding citizen. According to court filings Wells was in a vehicle that belonged to his co-defendant Tuaolo Puanefu, who’s name was on the search warrant.
 
Police pulled Tuaolo’s car over and saw Wells throw something on the floor while using his feet to shove it under the car seat. Police found a medium plastic baggie which contained methamphetamine where Wells was sitting.
 
COURT JAILS MAN WHO FAILED TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT
 
A man who owes $4,000 in child support was thrown in jail last week Friday, for not honoring the court order that he pay $250 per pay period for child support. Samoa News cannot name the man in this case to protect the identity of the minor children.
 
Chief Justice Michael Kruse during the hearing noted that the last time this case was called, the man failed to appear in court, and it appears that he does not follow court orders.
 
It was revealed the man failed to pay $225 each pay day as per the court order, and since the beginning of the year, he’s only paid $500 to his children, while he still owes $4,000.
 
Kruse pointed out that it’s clear the man disregards court orders, and he was remanded into police custody until he pays in full what he owes in child support.
 
FREDERICK MANUMA FINED AND PLACED ON TWO YEARS PROBATION
 
Associate Justice Lyle L. Richmond sentenced Fredrick Manuma to two years probation and also ordered him to pay a fine of up to $1,000. The defendant was initially charged with stealing and stalking, however in a plea deal with the government, Manuma pled guilty to misdemeanor stealing and stalking — also a misdemeanor.
 
The defendant apologized for his actions noting he’s full of remorse. He apologized to his family for his actions, which have ridiculed his family name, and apologized to the family whose home was involved. Manuma said he’s embarrassed for what he did and the time spent in jail has taught him a huge lesson. He said that given his young age, incarceration is not for him. 
 
Defense and Prosecution both recommended the defendant be placed on probation and his incarceration of three months should be enough penalty in this case.
 
Richmond took into consideration recommendations by both parties and sentenced the defendant to one year for stealing and one year for stalking, however the sentence was suspended and the defendant placed on probation, under certain conditions.
 
Aside from the fine, he was ordered to be gainfully employed, remain a law abiding citizen and undergo 200 hours of community service.



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