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Court Report


A 34-year old Caucasian man from San Diego was arrested Sunday afternoon as a result of an alleged marijuana substance found in a family container at the Port. The Department of Public Safety has placed the San Diego man under 48 hours arrest while awaiting the arrest warrant from the Attorney General’s office, a fact confirmed by police officers at the Tafuna Correctional Facility. In the meantime, an official from the AG’s office says they are working on the warrant, which should be ready today, and it’s possible the man will appear in District Court this morning.

Samoa News understands the container belongs to a family who moved to the territory recently from the United States.

According to police, K-9 dogs ‘alerted’ near a medium size jam jar (with no label) that was found during a routine Customs office check. When police opened the jar there were three much smaller metal containers. These containers were found to allegedly have drugs, which police tested positive for marijuana.

(Samoa News first reported on this story in its January 21, 2012 issue.)


There are nine juvenile suspects allegedly involved in the vandalizing of Coleman Elementary School in December 2011, as confirmed by Assistant Attorney General Terrie Bullinger. The prosecutor said she had just received the report from police. In the meantime, the Pago Pago village council has fined the families of five of the boys accused of vandalizing the school — slapping a fine of $1,000 on each of them. According to police, three classrooms were damaged and the juveniles also spilled cartons of milk on the road to the school.

Samoa News asked Bullinger if they will continue with prosecuting five of the nine juveniles despite already being fined by the village council. Bullinger explained they are reviewing the police report at the moment and the government is expecting to prosecute this matter. "The juveniles might not be ordered to pay restitution, but at least the government will ask the court to place them under probation with the condition to undergo counseling, and they also might get a curfew", said Bullinger.

(Samoa News first reported on this story in its December 22, 2011 issue.)


A man charged with misdemeanor arson has signed a plea agreement with the government. The defendant is accused of burning his wife's clothes following an argument. Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Ranar told the court the defendant had signed the plea deal; however it has not been filed with the court, and she requested a continuance which was granted by Associate Justice Lyle Richmond. The case is now re-scheduled for this coming Thursday. According to the government's case, the defendant got into a verbal argument with his wife and she threatened to leave their home and move to live with her mother.

It’s alleged the defendant left the house and came back several hours later intoxicated, grabbed his wife's suitcase, dragged it outside the house and burned it. It was the unpleasant smell coming from the fire which led neighbors to contact police. Court affidavit says when police arrived, the wife's clothes were still burning and the officers put out the fire.


The government’s case against a man in his 50’s facing property damage and first degree assault on allegations that he struck his neighbor with his vehicle in December last year has been continued to February 9, 2012.

Sopi Senio appeared before High Court Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judges Mamea Sala Jr and Fa’amausili Pomele. The continuance came at the request of Assistant Public Defender Michael White who represents Senio. White told the court that he had just received discovery from the government and he needs time to review it.

Richmond granted the request and re-scheduled the defendant to appear next month. According to the government’s case, the defendant and his neighbor had a disagreement over land. Senio, who denies the charges against him is out on bail of $25,000. As a condition of his release the defendant was ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with the complaining witness and to be a law abiding citizen.

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