Court Report


A 23-year old man charged in connection with a burglary of his uncle’s home has been jailed for six months as part of his seven-year probation term. Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond, who was accompanied by the Associate Judges, handed down sentencing. During sentencing Ronald Finau apologized for his actions noting his full remorse and also asked the court for leniency when handing down sentencing.
The defendant informed the court that he’s the eldest of three siblings and his help is much needed within his family. Finau said his wrongful actions have ridiculed his family’s good name and that this was out of character for him.
The defendant’s mother also took the stand telling the court that her son is a good child, however his lack of better judgment has led him before the court for breaking the law. She said she believed that his time in jail has taught him a huge lesson to refrain from criminal conduct.
The counsels of both parties recommended to the court to place the defendant on probation to allow him the opportunity to seek employment and become a better citizen.
The defendant was sentenced to seven years in jail, however the court suspended the sentence and placed the defendant on probation for seven years under certain conditions, among which is the defendant would serve six months (including 4 months already served) of his 28-month sentence. The rest was stayed.
The court also imposed a $1,000 fine, which should be paid within 12 months. In addition he’s to pay back $553 restitution for the items that were removed from the victim’s residence.
Finau was also instructed to remain a law-abiding citizen, seek employment and apologize to his uncle for his actions.
A young man who broke into a Vaitogi home and touched a girl inappropriately, who was sleeping, will be sentenced next month after rendering his guilty plea. Elden Sioka who faced charges of first-degree burglary, sodomy, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree and third degree assault, yesterday pleaded guilty to burglary second degree and sexual abuse.
The burglary count was amended from the more serious burglary charge of first degree.
In return for Sioka’s plea of guilty, the government moved for the court to dismiss the remaining charges.
According to the plea agreement read in open court, the defendant admits that on Dec. 27, 2013 he broke into a house in Vaitogi and went straight into the bedroom where a girl was sleeping and touched the girl inappropriately.
The girl woke up and screamed at the defendant, who apologized and left the bedroom, however the victim’s cousin woke up and caught the defendant, and then the victim punched and slapped the defendant on the face.
The government’s case claims, that when police spoke to the defendant, he allegedly told them that he was intoxicated, despite that he wanted to go see the victim in her bedroom.
The High Court accepted the defendant’s plea of guilty and the government’s motion to dismiss the remaining charges.
A man who was caught driving while his driver’s license was suspended has been charged with felony driving, which carries mandatory jail time of nine months.
The felony count was filed last week against Eti Logoitaeao. According to the government’s case the defendant is the alleged driver of the vehicle that ran into a fence in Pago Pago last month.
The defendant’s driver’s license was suspended for six months in December 2013 when he was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. District Court Judge John Ward at the time of sentencing ordered the defendant not to drive while his license was suspended.
The incident came to light following an accident on Feb. 22, 2014, in Pago Pago, where a family reported that a pick up truck had ran into their fence. The family suspected the defendant was under the influence of alcohol. Court filings say when police officers arrived at the scene the defendant was present and when the officers inquired for his license, the defendant noted that it was suspended, and he was then arrested.


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