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Court Report



Chief Justice Michael Kruse was not happy when the Attorney General’s office moved to dismiss the case on the day of a Jury Trial in a year-old sex case filed against Jackson Aumale last week. The defendant was arrested and charged last year September on allegations he touched a 14-year-old girl inappropriately. He was facing charges of Sodomy, Deviate Sexual Assault and Endangering the welfare of a child.


The incident in this case allegedly occurred in March last year, and the defendant was not charged until May 2013, when he was incarcerated.


When the matter was called before Chief Justice Michael Kruse on Monday for his Jury Trial, Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe moved to dismiss the case, noting they were unable to subpoena the complaining witness in the matter, who is the government’s main witness to the case, as she has since left island.


On the day of the Jury Trial, there were more than 50 individuals who showed up to be chosen as jury members.


Three days after the case was dismissed, Kruse called into court Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale, and his prosecutors, Public Defender Douglas Fiaui and his defense lawyer for a closed meeting, where lawyers say the CJ voiced his disappointment to the outcome of the case that should’ve been dealt with earlier rather then on the day of the jury trial.


The charges against Aumale were dropped and he was released from jail.


It’s unclear at this time, whether Aumale will proceed with a civil lawsuit in the matter, as family members claim he will.




Viane So’onalole was in court for sentencing, however due to certain information revealed before the court, Chief Justice Michael Kruse ordered the matter to be rescheduled. During the scheduled sentence hearing, So’onalole apologized for his actions noting he’s fully remorseful and asked the court, the government and his family to forgive his wrongful actions.


The defendant also apologized to his uncle for breaking into his office. Assistant Public Defender Mike White noted the defendant understands now the “foolishness of his actions” for doing something wrong to the people who love him. White told the court that So’onalole had informed him on several occasions how sorry he was for what he did to his uncle. Prosecuting this matter was Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.


Kruse noted that upon reading the pre sentence report prepared by the probation office he was “troubled with the basis of the charges”.


He pointed out the defendant in this case was charged with burglary, yet in facts revealed by the probation office, the defendant was already in the building when he broke into the office. The CJ noted that, if anything, trespassing would have been the appropriate charge and ordered to continue the matter for two weeks.




Dorian Salave’a and Otto Tupua were ordered to pay close to $3,000 in fines each as a result of their actions when they assaulted a young man whose jaw was broken during the assault. The defendants had been initially charged with second degree assault, however, in a plea deal with the government they both pled guilty to third degree assault.


During sentencing the defendants apologized for their actions, seeking the court’s leniency when handing down sentences. Assistant Public Defender Mike White told the court the defendants had assaulted a young man who was intoxicated and who was being obnoxious on the defendant’s land in Leone.


White noted the defendants had called the police and waited for 45 minutes for the police to come, and when they did not, they took the matter into their own hands. The defense attorney stated it was the defendants’ lapse of judgment.


Kruse noted there was a disagreement on the sentencing for the pair, because the defendants “can’t go beating up people breaking their jaws.” The prosecutor deferred sentencing to the court and asked for restitution in the matter.


Kruse sentenced the pair to one year in jail, which was suspended on condition they are placed on two years probation and pay a fine of $1,000 each, with restitution of $1,680 each. Kruse explained that $360 will go to victim’s medical bill at LBJ and $3,000 will go for the victim’s dental work.