AMERICAN SAMOA COURT REPORT
Acting Associate Justice Elvis Patea has accepted a request from the Public Defender's Office to continue Marty Tanielu’s pretrial conference to next month, so they can go through all the information pertaining to the first three criminal cases filed against him, including a new criminal case filed just last week.
During Tanielu’s most recent court appearance last month, his attorney informed the court that they have received discovery and an offer from the government, and he asked for a continuance to Feb. 27, which was yesterday.
When Tanielu’s case was called, Deputy Public Defender Michael White informed the court that they have reached an agreement with the government in the first three criminal cases filed late last year, but they are seeking one more continuance to see if they can combine those three cases with a new case.
Prosecutor Woodrow Pengelly echoed the defense attorney's request for another continuance, saying the defendant has a new criminal case in the District Court, and he’s scheduled to have his preliminary examination (PX) this Friday.
Tanielu, who remains in custody unable to post a $10,000 bond was initially charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; marijuana — both felonies.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred Nov. 22, 2017 when police found drugs inside his vehicle and in his possession. A male passenger who was with Tanielu, when police searched his vehicle, told police he went twice with Tanielu to the Aute to buy drugs.
One week after Tanielu was arrested and charged with drug possession, the government filed two more criminal cases against him, charging him with felony stealing for each case. The government claims the defendant took properties from a person and sold them without the owner’s authorization.
For the fourth case — the one filed last week — the government is charging Tanielu with one count of felony stealing.
A man who claimed a package mailed through the Post Office on Oct. 13, 2016 in which crystal methamphetamine was found entered into a plea bargain with the government yesterday morning.
Yuseff Carter, 44, was initially charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine, a felony punishable by a mandatory term of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than 10 years, a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000, or both.
However, under a plea bargain with the government, Carter agreed to plead guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine, also a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to five years, and/or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
With his guilty plea, the defendant admits that on or about Oct. 13, 2016 he went to the Post Office to pick up a package — in form of a container with the amazon.com label — knowing there was methamphetamine inside.
The meth was found inside an electronic device and weighed 1.2 ounces.
When questioned by police, Carter told investigators he was expecting a package from his father in San Diego and thought it had arrived. When informed about the illegal substance inside the package, Carter told investigators he was expecting something from Amazon but not this kind of package, with drugs inside.
As part of the plea agreement, the government is not seeking prison time for Carter, who is aware that he is not able to withdraw his guilty plea if he doesn't agree with the sentence the court will hand down.
Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Woodrow Pengelly while Deputy Public Defender Michael White is representing Carter, who is out on bond while awaiting sentencing on April 20th.
Acting Associate Justice Elvis Patea has accepted a motion for travel off island from an 87-year-old man facing three felony charges including molesting a child under 12 years, which carries a maximum 30-year jail sentence.
Joseph Yandall, who is out on $75,000 surety bond was in court Monday, requesting permission to travel to Hawai’i to attend his brother’s Purple Heart ceremony.
Defense attorney, Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde told the court her client will be off island for one week and that prosecutor Christy Dunn has signed off on the motion.
Dunn confirmed the government is not opposed to the motion to allow Yandall to travel.
Yandall’s case is still pending in High Court. He is facing one count of child molestation, a class A felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than 10 years and not more than 30 years.
Additionally, he is also charged with one count each of attempted kidnapping and attempted sexual abuse in the first degree — both felonies. The government claims the alleged female victims in the case are 12 and 16 years old.