Court Report

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE SETTLED IN PLEA AGREEMENT

 

A man accused of assaulting his wife admitted to his criminal conduct during his change of plea hearing on Thursday morning. In the interest of protecting the identity of the victim in this case Samoa News will not name the defendant.

 

The defendant was facing charges of second degree assault and public peace disturbance. However in the plea deal with the government, the defendant pleaded guilty to third degree assault, which was amended from the felony assault. The government moved to dismiss the PPD count.

 

According to the plea deal, upon the defendant's plea of guilt, he admitted that on Feb. 7, 2014 in Pava'ia'i he assaulted his wife. He told the court that he was angry which led to the assault.

 

The defendant said he understood that defense counsel and the prosecutor can make recommendations, however the court is not bound to take them, rather the court can impose sentencing they feel necessary in accordance with the law.

 

Associate Justice Lyle L. Richmond accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for this matter on May 15, 2014.

 

Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley then moved to ask the court to release the defendant on his own recognizance, until his sentencing day. She further told the court the victim, has stated that the couple has already sorted out their differences and she wishes to reunite with her husband.

 

The High Court granted the request and released the defendant O.R. on Thursday.

 

STATUS ON FINAI NIMAROTA'S CASE

 

An inmate who was sentenced to depart the territory upon completion of his 20-month jail term sentence has asked the court if he can remain in the territory.

 

Fina'i Nimarota was sentenced in 2012 in connection with an assault case and yesterday morning was the completion of his 20 months. Assistant Public Defender Mike White asked the court to reconsider its probationary terms on the defendant, as he has been a resident of American Samoa for over 16 years.

 

The attorney further stated the defendant wants to remain with his family on island. Assistant Attorney General Tiffany Oldfield did not object to the motion. During the hearing on the matter, defense counsel Mike White pointed out the defendant has three children in the territory, which is why Nimarota is seeking to remain in the territory. As there was no quorum of judges, Chief Justice Michael Kruse ordered the matter rescheduled to next week to await the return of the judges who are out sick.

 

BROTHERS CHARGED IN SEX CASE TO ENTER GUILTY PLEA

 

Two brothers from Leone who are each charged with child molesting, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree, endangering the welfare of a child and furnishing pornographic materials to a minor are scheduled to enter a guilty plea to the criminal charges.

 

Samoa News is withholding the names of the defendants to protect the identity of the young victim in this case.

 

This matter was continued on several occasions as attorneys informed the court they were close to a resolution in this case. It’s unclear at this time what the plea negotiations are, however the pair are set to enter guilty pleas next week.

 

According to the government's case, on Dec. 29, 2012 it was reported to the Leone Substation that a six-year-old boy had allegedly been drugged and sexually abused by two brothers. According to the government's case, the mother said her son has some developmental disabilities.

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