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More and more cases of failure to comply with probation conditions in High and District courts

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Pago Pago, AMERICANN SAMOA — A 32-year-old man accused of failing to comply with conditions of his release — he was ordered to remain alcohol and drug free — has denied the allegations against him. His case is set for a preliminary examination next month.

Henry Tapuala was arrested two weeks ago after testing positive for marijuana. He appeared in High Court last week for his initial appearance.

Tapuala is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), a class D felony; and attempt to import a controlled substance (marijuana), a class A misdemeanor.

According to Probation, a random urinalysis test was conducted on the defendant on Mar. 4, 2019 at the District Court building. The test results came back positive for marijuana. The defendant allegedly admitted to Probation that he smoked weed 4 weeks ago.

Tapuala was later released from custody to await his next hearing — now set for next month — after posting bond. He has been ordered  to comply with existing conditions of release while his matter is pending in court.

Tapuala was arrested after a Customs agent at the airport, during a routine search at the arrival terminal on June 20, 2018, allegedly found marijuana leaves wrapped in a brown paper inside Tapuala's left pants' pocket.

He told the Customs agent that the marijuana did not belong to him.


“Get a job”. This was the simple message Associate Justice Fiti Sunia gave to Anetele’a Peni when he appeared in High Court last week for an Order To Show Cause (OSC) hearing, and a preliminary examination (PX) for failure to comply with conditions of probation.

According to the government, Peni failed to comply with 2 conditions of his 5-year probation term. Not only has he failed to remain law abiding (he was convicted in District Court a few weeks ago for disturbing the public peace), but he has also failed to secure gainful employment.

Court records show that Peni is on probation in both High Court and District Court. During his hearing last week, Peni admitted to violating his probation and told the court he’s trying his best to look for a job.

Peni said he's waiting for 2 construction companies to contact him for an interview.

When asked why it took so long for him to secure gainful employment, Peni said his criminal record makes it hard for him to get a job.

He said he was hired by a construction company in Leone last year, and he worked there for 2 months. However, when the boss’s wife found out that he had been locked up, "she fired me,” Peni told the court.

Sunia told Peni that the only option the court has in mind is to revoke his probation and order him to serve the suspended period of detention, which is 40 months.

After hearing Sunia’s statement, Peni begged for a second chance, saying he will go back to the construction company in Leone and ask the boss to give him another chance.

Sunia has continued the matter for another 3 months, to allow Peni to seek gainful employment. “The court is giving you 3 months to get a job. Our message for you Peni is very simple: get a job or you will face the consequences for your actions,” Sunia said.

Peni is on probation in High Court for 5 years for assault convictions, and he’s on probation in District Court for 3 years for disturbing the public peace (PPD).



A man charged with criminal contempt and private peace disturbance made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday morning.

Vitale Vaimaa is remanded to custody at the Territorial Correctional Facility on $500 bail.

According to the government's case, it was the defendant's mom who called police last Friday, Mar. 15 for assistance, claiming that her son was drunk and breaking dishes in the kitchen.

When police arrive at the scene, they observed Vaimaa venting — in a loud voice — to a friend outside of the family's kitchen.

Cops say the defendant reeked of alcohol.

According to the criminal complaint, when he was picked up by authorities, Vaimaa "spontaneously uttered" that no matter how many times he goes to jail, the court will release him.

Samoa News understands that Vaimaa is currently on probation for another matter.

He violated conditions of his release, by consuming alcohol and causing a disturbance at his home.

Police were told that Vaimaa had started drinking earlier that night and he was yelling profanities. His father had told him to go rest and it "angered him", resulting in him breaking the dishes.


Two women appeared in District Court yesterday for their initial appearances on a criminal summons, and both were released on their own recognizance, subject to several conditions.

Kerupi Malia Mulitalo is charged with public peace disturbance, third degree assault, and trespassing. She entered 'not guilty' pleas to all three charges.

Her next court appearance is Apr. 24.

Among conditions of her release, Mulitalo is not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim in this case. She is also to remain law abiding and not leave or attempt to leave the territory without prior permission from the court.

Arieta Hall is charged with trespassing and property damage. She too has entered a 'not guilty' plea to the charges against her. A pretrial conference is set for April 24.

Judge Elvis P. Patea has released Hall on her own recognizance and ordered her to abide by standard conditions. In addition, she is to stay off the land on which the incident occurred.

Hall was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while Mulitalo was represented by private counsel M. Leupolu. Prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.