Former TCF warden back in fed jail for violating probation
The former warden of the Territorial Correctional Facility, Amituana’i Mika Kelemete is back in federal jail in Honolulu for violating condition of his probation, a case which stems from charges against him during the time he was TCF boss.
Amituana’i, who has been working at the Fono, was accused of beating an inmate inside TCF grounds and in January 2008 was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, with several conditions attached. One of those conditions mandated that he contact his probation officer when he leaves the territory for foreign countries.
(Federal Bureau of Prison’s electronic record shows that Amituana’i was released from federal custody on Dec. 2, 2009.)
However, Amituna’i, who served his supervised release term in the territory, departed to a foreign country — Samoa — without informing his local probation officer.
On Wednesday this week, federal court records showed that Amituana’i was to appear yesterday, Nov. 30, before U.S. District Court Judge David Alan Ezra in Honolulu for the revocation of supervised release hearing.
Samoa News learned late Thursday afternoon that Amituana’i was to leave for Honolulu that evening on Hawaiian Airlines for the hearing. Upon arriving in Honolulu early yesterday morning, it’s understood that he was taken into custody by federal marshals, for his court hearing later in the morning.
Amituana’i’s attorney, First Federal Public Defender Alexander Silvert, told Samoa News yesterday afternoon that a “violation notice” was issued against his client for traveling outside of the territory “on multiple occasions without telling his probation officer”.
“He violated conditions of his supervised release and he admitted to the judge that he travelled outside of the territory for ‘matai business’, his ‘matai’ responsibilities,” Silvert said in a telephone interview from Honolulu. “He can fly to Samoa for matai business, but he must inform his probation officer.”
Silvert said the federal judge understood the Samoan ‘matai’ responsibility. “However, for not being honest with the probation officer, my client was sentenced to six days in federal jail.”
Silvert said Amituana’i thereafter immediately started serving his six days, which should be completed by next week Wednesday. Besides the six-days jail term, court documents released late yesterday afternoon state that the defendant is then placed on 35 months of supervised released and among the conditions of supervised released, Amituana’i must:
• perform 200 hours of community service as directed by the U.S. Probation Office and supervised by the Probation Office in Pago Pago. The community service shall be done at public parks in Pago Pago and outside government office buildings, such as picking up trash and other manual labor type of work.
• notify the U.S. Probation Officer in writing one month (preferred) in advance prior to making an airline reservation to travel outside of the territory for legitimate reasons. In case of emergency, the U.S. Probation Officer may approve travel outside the territory at its discretion and direction.
• keep a record of all significant activities or events that he participates in as a Matai during the month and provide that information to the U.S. Probation Officer as part of his Monthly Supervision Report.
• report all monetary transactions to the U.S. Probation Officer and on his Monthly Supervision Report.
• not commit any crimes, federal, state, or local (mandatory condition).
• not possess illegal controlled substances (mandatory condition).
Samoa News should point out that it’s the probation office of the local judicial branch that plays the role of probation officer for federal defendants who decide to return to the territory to serve their probation or supervised release time.
The local probation staff for the judicial system is overseen by chief probation officer Tauiliili Silivelio Iosefo.
In early 2006, Amituna’i was arrested here and taken to Honolulu where he was charged in federal court, in connection with the beating of an inmate on TCF grounds. He later pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the civil rights of an inmate.
Under the plea agreement with the federal government, Amituana’i admitted that in August 2003, he ordered two corrections officers to remove an inmate from his cell and bring him to the center of TCF, where the inmate was handcuffed to a pole.
At that point, Amituana’i picked up a board and struck the inmate on his head and his back until the board broke.