AMERICAN SAMOA COURT REPORT
METHODIST KUKA MIKA
The 24-year-old man who was arrested by police on Dec. 31, 2017 for violating local drug laws told the court that the allegations against him are true.
Methodist Kuka Mika was initially charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine, and marijuana — both class D felonies.
However, under a plea agreement with the government, Mika pled guilty to the meth charge and admits that on the night in question, he was in possession of a glass pipe that contained meth.
When asked by Chief Justice Michael Kruse for details, Mika said the pipe belonged to him and he used it to smoke meth.
Mika remains in custody and is scheduled to appear for sentencing on April 20.
This is the second time police officers have arrested Mika for unlawful possession of illegal drugs.
In the first case, District Court Judge Fiti Sunia dismissed it after the court found no probable cause to bind the case over to High Court, after a preliminary examination on Oct. 22, 2017, found that a police search conducted during a traffic stop on Sept. 12, 2017 was unlawful, and violated the defendant’s constitutional rights under local laws.
In that incident, cops from the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit who were conducting a traffic stop in the Iliili area pulled over a vehicle for having a loud muffler. There were two people inside the vehicle — the driver, identified as Sierra Isaia, and Mika, who was in the passenger seat. Illegal drugs were found on both suspects following a police search.
Repeat offender Vaitele Tago was ordered by Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea last Friday to serve out the remaining 8 months of a 20-month sentence from a 2016 case. The decision came after the court found Tago in violation of conditions of his 5-year probation sentence.
Tago was found guilty by District Court Judge Fiti Sunia last week of disturbing the public peace and subsequently sentenced to 152 days in jail — that was the amount of time he served while awaiting his sentence.
He appeared in High Court last Friday for a hearing after he failed to comply with conditions of his probation from a previous conviction.
Tago’s attorney, Public Defender Douglas Fiaui informed the court that Judge Sunia sentenced his client to time served, after he was convicted of disturbing the public peace, and the remaining charges of third degree assault and resisting arrest were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with the government.
Instead of revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his suspended 5-year jail term, Fiaui asked the court to modify the conditions of probation, to allow Tago to return home and continue to be a law-abiding citizen.
Although he was convicted of disturbing the public peace, Fiaui told the court there was no alcohol involved when police arrested his client.
Tago apologized to the court for his actions, and begged for another chance to go home. He told the court he would not violate any conditions of his probation in the future.
Prosecutor Christy Dunn agreed with the defense’s argument to modify conditions of Tago's probation. But she emphasized the seriousness of the defendant’s actions, when he resisted as police were trying to arrest him.
Patea reminded Tago that one of the conditions of his 5-year probation the court handed down two years ago was that he serves 20 months at the TCF.
“The court then ordered you to serve only 12 months in jail, and the balance of 8 months was stayed, based on your good behavior," Patea continued. "The court urges you to comply with all other conditions of your probation, including being a law-abiding citizen."
Patea said Tago's failure to comply with this condition is what brought him to court.
He said the court believes revoking Tago's probation is not necessary at this time, and he will be given a chance to straighten out his life.
The court then modified the conditions of Tago's probation, and ordered him to serve the stayed period of detention — which is 8 months.
“Tago, it is our hope that we will not see you in court next time for another Order to Show Cause because your chances are running out,” Patea concluded.