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Man convicted of homicide by vehicle back in court again

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An Asian man who was convicted by the High Court of homicide by vehicle a few years back appeared in court again last week for a probation revocation hearing.

Chung Se Lee was represented by private attorney Matalupevao Leupolu Jr, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn.

The government claimed that Lee violated conditions of his 5 years probation after he was arrested by police for driving under the influence of alcohol last week. He later appeared in District Court for a DUI traffic citation along with several other traffic violations.

Lee appeared in court last week pursuant to an Order to Show Cause (OSC) from the government, claiming that he failed to comply with conditions of his probation i.e. remain a law-abiding citizen.

When Lee’s case was called in court last week, his attorney Leupolu Jr asked to set his client’s preliminary hearing to the end of January. According to the attorney, Lee’s trial in District Court for his DUI matter is scheduled for Jan 18, 2019.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse stated that the reason he’s going to continue Lee’s PX was because the Probation officer who is handling the case is on military leave. He also pointed out to both parties that Probation Revocation hearings are not based on what a jury says.

“My concern is that, the court (needs) to stop this man from driving, but the hearing is scheduled for next year,” Kruse said. He then ordered Lee to surrender his driver’s license to the court, and ordered him not to drive while his license is suspended.

Lee’s interpreter, who was sitting beside him at the court stood up and handed over Lee’s driver’s license to the Clerk of the Court.

“That is your bond,” Kruse told Lee referring to his driver’s license which had been handed over to the court.

“Mr. Lee, remember, do not drive any vehicle while your case is pending, and do not try to get a duplicate license from somewhere else.”

Under his old case, Lee was ordered to serve a period of detention of 20 months, as a condition of his 5 years probation, after being found guilt of homicide by vehicle, a class D felony. The facts of the case were that, Lee, who was a driver for one of the Asian restaurants in Nuuuli killed an infant while backing up his truck in an effort to load items for the restaurant. The infant that was killed was the child of the owner of the restaurant, who’s also the defendant’s sponsor and employer.