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Court Report


The Attorney General’s office has released a Vaitogi man who was arrested last week Wednesday in connection with the alleged sale of marijuana.

Police had a confidential informant allegedly buy from the man the equivalent of 20 marijuana joints in the plants’ leaves.

The Vaitogi man was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility late Friday afternoon, after the 48 hours had expired. 

Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop Folau declined to comment as to why the Vaitogi man was released, however she said the police are still investigating the matter to determine if criminal charges should be filed against the accused.


A man who drove to get his ill mother a hospital bed, while his driver’s license was suspended, was fined $1,500.

Leilua Tuitele in his 20’s was facing felony driving after he was caught driving while his driver’s license was suspended for a DUI. Sentencing was handed down by Chief Justice Michael Kruse.

Tuitele told the court that he has put his life on hold while he cared for his mother who was very ill. “Basically I canceled everything — going to school off island, going into active duty — but I stayed behind to care for my mother who was very sick.” he told the court.

“My mother was bedridden, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t move, her last two weeks were very difficult for her.  When my mother and my aunt asked if I could get a hospital bed for my mother, I said yes I’ll go get it for her”.

Tuitele said in court that he knew there would be consequences if he was caught driving while his driver’s license was suspended, but he did it anyway for his mother, who was very ill.

Tuitele noted that after he fetched the bed from the hospital he was pulled over by police. He said all he wanted to do was to get home and set up his mother’s bed so she could rest. The man went on to say that when he got home, he set up his mother’s bed and finally she rested on her bed. A few hours later, his mother was gone, the court heard.

Tuitele apologized for violating the law.

Kruse placed Tuitele on a three-year probation and as a condition of his probation he was fined $1,500. Other conditions of his probation are that he is not to consume alcohol, or operate a motor vehicle while his license is suspended. He was also ordered to attend and complete alcohol counseling.


Associate Justice Lyle Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr have denied the government’s motion to dismiss Vaimili Tuialu'ulu'u’s lawsuit against the American Samoa Government and Inter Island Airways.

Tuialu’ulu’u filed the lawsuit after he allegedly slipped and fell from an airplane ladder at the airport last year. The Attorney General’s office moved to have the lawsuit dismissed, noting that the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

The three-page ruling issued last week stated that ASG opposes the Tuialu’ulu’u case for failure to provide a factual basis showing that ASG  had breached a duty toward him. The court denied the government's dismissal motion following a hearing on a motion held late last month. While the matter was under advisement with the court, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint to the trial court.

Richmond and Mamea stated in the ruling that the plaintiff’s original complaint lacked, but the amended complaint alleges sufficient facts to support a plausible claim for relief from damages suffered as a consequence of ASG's negligence.

The ruling says the plaintiff alleges he was injured due to a poorly maintained ladder either owned by ASG or by a third party and ASG had allowed this ladder to be brought onto its property.


The trial date for Pati Lepou, one of the four inmates who escaped from the Territorial Correctional  facility and assaulted an ANZ bank security guard back in 2010 is now scheduled for March 5, 2012.

Lepou appeared in the High Court last Friday on a motion by his lawyer Mark Ude to reschedule his trial date to another available date. Ude explained to Chief Justice Michael Kruse that he has cases next month on the same week Lepou’s case is set to go on trial.

Kruse granted the motion and set March 5 for Lepou’s trial.

Lepou is charged together with Sefo Lemalu, David Maea, and Gasona Mafiti, also known as Na’asona Momoe. Lepou is facing first-degree robbery, escape from custody and first-degree assault.  

Court filings state that the defendants escaped from jail and allegedly walked towards the ANZ bank and saw the security guard.

According to the government’s case, Lepou struck the guard and kicked the guard while demanding the guard’s car keys. He’s alleged to tell co-defendant Maea to stab the guard with a butter knife he was holding. Maea and Lepou allegedly continued to attack the victim until they saw a truck approaching, so they fled the scene and returned to the TCF.

In the meantime, the three co-defendants Maea, Lemalu and Mafiti’s cases are pending before the High Court and they have already entered into a plea agreement with the government.