Faaili Mata’u back in the slammer after testing positive for meth
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The man who failed to keep his promise that he would never use drugs again, but use his time wisely to care for his sick father and sister, was ordered by the court last week to serve the 15 months that was suspended from his sentence, after he failed to comply with conditions of his probation.
Faaili Mata’u, also known as “Whistle” appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse last Friday for his Deposition Hearing, for failure to comply with court orders, after he tested positive for methamphetamine a few days after being released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) in March of this year.
Mata’u was represented by Acting Public Defender, Michael White, while Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell appeared on behalf of the government.
When given the chance to address the court, Mata’u again apologized for his action and asked for another chance to go back home.
“What happen to the chance we gave you when you appeared before us in March of this year?” Kruse asked the defendant. Mata’u did not respond to the question, but stated to the court that he made a mistake.
“I made a careless mistake by not complying with conditions of my probation, not only did I used methamphetamines again but I also failed to visit the probation office once a month. Please your honor, give me another chance. I take full responsibility for my actions and what I did was wrong,” Mata’u said.
Kruse did not rest. He told Mata’u that during his sentencing in March of this year, he hid behind his sick father and sister, by asking the court to allow him to go back home to care for them. A few days later, his submission turned out to be a lie, after he tested positive for methamphetamine.
Counsel White asked the court to give his client another chance to change his life. White told the court that Matau has a drug problem — he is addicted to methamphetamine.
The Prosecutor however asked the court to order the defendant to serve a period of detention, so that the probation office can monitor him. The government attorney further stated that the defendant could change his ways if probation is able to monitor him monthly.
Kruse laughed at the government’s submission, saying that the court gave the defendant what he asked for, however, not even a week after he was released from jail, he went back to his old life style.
The Probation Office’s report on the defendant was also revealed in court.
According to the report, as a condition of his 5-year probation, stemming from a conviction for unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), Mata'u was ordered to remain alcohol and drug free, and he was to submit to random testing.
Another condition of Mata'u’s probation required him to serve 20-months at the TCF without release. He was credited for the 4 1/2 months he spent in pretrial confinement. The remainder of the detention period was stayed until further order of the court, and Mata'u was ordered to be released that day, which was Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2018. He was then ordered to visit the Probation office on Monday, Apr. 2, 2018.
After Mata’u signed in at the Probation Office on Apr. 2, the Chief Probation Officer (CPO) performed a drug test on him. He tested positive for methamphetamine.
Before the court heard final submissions from attorneys of both sides, Kruse asked the defendant some questions.
“You are now asking for another chance to go back home, but we gave you that chance before,” Kruse told the defendant who was sitting beside his attorney, and reminded the defendant about the facts of the case when he was first arrested and charged last year.
Kruse told Mata’u that the reason why he was first arrested last year was that, police found him sleeping at a bus stop with some marijuana and a little ice on him.
“According to the police investigation, you have some drug addiction problems and that is against the law. It was your own personal choice that brought you to court,” Kruse told the defendant.
“Mata’u, we stayed your period of detention last March after you asked for a chance to go back home and care for your sick Dad and sister. Now, it’s turned out … you lied to the court and we will now give you something to show that people like you do not deserve a second chance from the court,” Kruse told the defendant.
Kruse then ordered that the stay period of detention be vacated, and the defendant was ordered to serve the term of 15 months. He will be credited for the 159 days he served while detained in prison to await the outcome of his Deposition Hearing.
Kruse turned to the defense’s counsel and told him that the other option the court has looked at was to revoke probation and order the defendant to serve the full five years sentence that was suspended.
The case against the defendant stemmed from an incident that occurred on Oct. 29, 2017 when two police officers observed the defendant sleeping at one of the bus stops in the Tafuna area. Police approached the defendant to check if he was intoxicated or in need of assistance.
When one of the cops woke Mata'u, they observed a knife at the bus stop when Mata'u stood up. The knife was concealed by Mata’u’s back while he was sleeping.
Mata’u gave police officers a container he was holding and inside, they found clear plastic baggies containing methamphetamine and a small hand rolled cigarette which appeared to have been smoked.