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High court orders AG’s Office to seek safe location for prisoner to be with her newborn

joy@samoanews.com

Chief Justice Michael Kruse has ordered the Attorney General’s office to seek a safe location that would allow Etevise Tomasi to be with her newborn child, given the Tafuna Correctional Facility is not a safe place for a newborn child.
 
Tomasi, a mother of four, was arrested and charged last year in connection with a fight in a bar, and Tomasi — who has been in jail since the incident occurred in July 2013 — had pled guilty to second degree assault as a result of throwing a glass at another woman in a night club. The glass landed on the victim’s face who suffered severe injuries.
 
Tomasi was to be sentenced, however when the case was called, Assistant Public Defender Joel Shiver informed the court the defendant was in the hospital and had since given birth to her fourth child.
 
The last time the sentencing hearing was held last month the prosecutor at the time, Assistant AG Julie Pasquale, told the court the defendant should be jailed with the maximum allowable under the law because of her violent history.
 
The prosecutor said Tomasi had thrown a glass twice at the victim, and the victim’s face is permanently scarred leaving 17 stitches as a result of this violent attack and the victim will be heading to Hawai’i to seek plastic surgery due to the severity of the scars on her face.
 
The prosecutor further stated Tomasi was in court back in 2009 for a Public Peace Disturbance, where she had thrown a beer bottle at another girl, but had missed. In 2010 Tomasi was also arrested and charged for throwing an object at another girl in a drinking session at a hotel, however the victim refused to testify in that case and in 2011, the defendant was again charged with disturbing the public peace.
 
Pasquale said the government believes wholeheartedly Tomasi is a violent woman and a threat to society.
 
During this matter last week, Ass’t Public Defender Shiver asked the court to allow the defendant to return to her family for sixty days so she can feed and care for her newborn.
 
Shiver also pointed out the defendant has three other minor children. However Assistant AG Tiffany Oldsfield objected, noting the defendant should not be allowed to return home, given the severity of her actions, also the defendant may end up consuming alcohol when she’s at her home, which eventually will lead to an incident.
 
The prosecutor noted she’s concerned Tomasi has a violent history and pointed out she did not care about her children when she was drinking at the Bowling Alley, which led to the incident landing her before the court on this matter. 
 
Kruse denied Shiver’s motion and ordered the government to seek a safe place for Tomasi to care for her newborn child then put this matter back on calendar in March. Kruse said jail is not a safe place for a minor child.
 
When Tomasi was before the court for initial sentencing hearing, she apologized for her actions and said her incarceration has taught her a lesson. She asked the court for a chance to return home to her husband and children. Tomasi’s mother also pleaded with the court to release her daughter from jail, saying she’s needed at home because she has children.
 
Court filings say Tomasi and her co-defendant Mua were dancing in front of the table where the victim was sitting and when the victim was about to move away from where she was sitting, Tomasi intentionally bumped into the victim, causing the victim to fall over on the speaker inside the club.
 
The victim turned around and argued with Mua, when Etevise grabbed a glass and threw it at the victim, which landed on her face. Court filings say Etevise then grabbed another glass and threw it at the victim, which landed on her face again. The victim suffered five deep cuts on the left side of her face, which required 17 stitches and the victim also sustained a fractured nose.



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