“…Never, never, never lie to the Judge, it’s worse than stealing”
A young man who was convicted for misdemeanor stealing has been ordered to serve 30 days behind bars.
Ben Iosefa Tiapula was convicted of stealing from his friend’s mother. The stolen property included a speaker, a telephone, and a bag. The stolen items were recovered by police and returned to the owner.
Court records show that Tiapula lived at his friend’s house for quite some time; and it was during this time that he went to his friend’s mother’s room and stole the items, before running away.
During sentencing, Tiapula apologized to the Court for his actions, and asked for another chance so he can return home and care for his parents. His attorney, Ryan Nelson asked the Court for a probated sentence to allow his client to go home and start a new life.
District Court Judge Fiti Sunia said the defendant turned 18 years old in August; two months later, he committed a crime and the government charged him as an adult. It was noted by the Court that the defendant has had no family member to support him ever since he was arrested last month.
When asked where his parents are, the defendant said he doesn’t know.
“Are your parents still alive? Does your family know where you are? So — why do you want to go back home if you don’t know where your parents are? How do you know what’s going on with your family right now?” Sunia asked the defendant. Tiapula replied, his parents are still at home waiting for him to come back.
Sunia looked straight at the defendant and warned him: “Don’t you ever lie to the Judge. Never, never, never lie to the Judge, it’s worse than stealing. If the Court asks you where your parents are, tell the truth,” Sunia said, before sentencing Tiapula to serve 30 days at the TCF.
“If you commit another crime again, your sentence will be doubled. Today (yesterday) you are ordered to serve 30 days; next time you come back to Court, you will serve 60 days,” Sunia concluded.