Court Report

ausage@samoanews.com

OKETI POLEVIA 

A woman convicted of misdemeanor stealing was released from prison yesterday to await sentencing, which is set for next Friday.

Oketi Polevia, 42, of Iliili was initially charged with stealing; however under a plea agreement with the government, the charge was amended from a felony to a misdemeanor.

With her guilty plea, Polevia admits that between Aug. 22 and Sept. 15, 2017 she stole 56 packages of Similac baby formula milk from a store in Iliili, and the items are valued at $1,232

When asked by Chief Justice Michael Kruse what she did with the stolen baby formula, Polevia said she used it to feed her baby.

She also told the Court that she paid $300 to the storeowner for the items she took.

Polevia's attorney, Public Defender Douglas Fiaui confirmed this to be true.

Kruse has released Polevia on her own recognizance, under two special conditions: she is not allowed to enter the store she stole the items from, and she is not to carry any big shopping bags at any store. She is only to have a purse.

SIO OLOMALI’I

A 31-year-old man from Samoa has admitted to the court that on/or about Sept. 21, 2017, he had in his possession a glass pipe containing methamphetamine.

Sio Olomali'i is a bus driver who was recently convicted of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

According to the summary of facts for the case, a witness contacted police for assistance after he witnessed Olomali'i smoking a glass pipe inside his aiga bus.

The witness told police he's known the defendant for a long time, and this isn't the first time he’s witnessed him doing this.

When police pulled the defendant's bus over for a traffic violation, a search of the bus and Olomali'i produced a glass pipe with meth inside.

Olomali’i remains in custody unable to post a $5,000 surety bond. His sentencing is set for Feb. 2, 2018.

SOOSOO FA’APALE

A young man convicted of resisting arrest and violating conditions of his probation is going to prison for 90 days. Prosecutor Bianca Lherisson asked the court for a period of detention and alcohol counseling for the defendant, as a condition of his 12-month probation sentence.

According to the government’s case, Fa’apale was serving a 24-month probation sentence for an assault conviction from 2015 when he was involved in a fight this past October. When police arrived at the scene, Fa’apale took off and a foot chase ensued.

Lherisson told the Court that Fa’apale ran 100 yards from police before he was caught. He was also under the influence of alcohol when he was arrested.

Fa’apale has admitted that his actions violated conditions of his probation.

His attorney, Asst. Public Defender Ryan Nelson asked the Court for a probated sentence, to allow his client to continue with anger and alcohol counseling. District Court Judge Fiti Sunia quickly intervened and told Nelson that his client was ordered by the Court in 2015 to attend anger management and alcohol counseling.

“Why should the Court allow him to go back to counseling if he didn’t take the opportunity the Court gave him 2 years ago?" Sunia asked. "He was placed on probation under several conditions but it appears he hasn't learned his lesson."

Sunia sentenced Fa’apale to 90 days in jail as a condition of a 12-month probation term.

“This is the lowest sentence the Court can give you and we’ll go from 90 days upwards if you violate any condition of your probation," Sunia told Faapale. “It seems like the first chance the Court gave you didn't work so we have to consider another way to teach you a good lesson.”

FOLASA GALEA’I

The young man charged with one count of vehicular homicide for an incident that led to the death of an elderly man last year has requested a jury trial.

This comes after the parties have been unable to reach a plea agreement in the matter.

During his pretrial conference hearing last Friday, Galea’i's attorney, Public Defender Douglas Fiaui asked for a jury trial, saying the government hasn't made his client an offer.

 When asked by Chief Justice Michael Kruse, prosecutor Robert Morris confirmed that the government has not made a plea offer in this case.

The case against Galea’i stems from a fatal accident that occurred June 9, 2016 in Faga’alu, when his vehicle allegedly struck a man who was standing in front of his car on the side of the road.

Galea’i, who allegedly told police he fell asleep at the wheel, is out on a $2,500 surety bond.

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