Judge Patea gives man a second chance after bench warrant issued
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Judge Patea has given a second chance to a man for whom a bench warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court this past Wednesday.
Viliamu Ueli is charged with public peace disturbance. His pretrial conference is set for March 15.
At first, Judge Elvis P. Patea ordered that Ueli be remanded to custody at the TCF. But Ueli's attorney Assistant Public Defender Anna Whiles sought the court's leniency, saying her client is gainfully employed at ASPA and he can't miss work.
When asked why he failed to make his court appearance, Ueli said he had to look for money to send his mother off island for medical treatment.
"You are of no use to your mother if you are in jail," Judge Patea said to Ueli, adding that however many court dates are set, it is "your priority" to appear.
Judge Patea then reinstated the R.O.R. that was ordered by the court back in Nov. 2018 and told Ueli to maintain the peace at home.
"In the future — job or not — if you fail to appear in court again, you will be arrested and you will sit in jail until your next court date," Patea warned.
Judge Patea ordered the issuance of bench warrants for the following individuals who failed to appear in District Court for scheduled court dates.
Wednesday, four bench warrants were issued (with a $500 bond for each) for Iopu Aitu, Viliamu Ueli, Muaau Lamauta, and Malae Sola. All were scheduled for pretrial conferences yesterday morning; none of them were present in court.