Former firefighter convicted for meth possession back in court
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A former firefighter who was convicted of unlawful possession of methamphetamine last year is now before the court for a probation violation.
Methodist Kuka Mika appeared in High Court last Friday for a preliminary hearing for not complying with conditions of his probation. He was represented by Public Defender Michael White while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
When Mika’s case was called, his attorney informed the court that his client wants to waive his PX and stipulate to the violation.
When Chief Justice Michael Kruse asked Mika how he violated conditions of his probation, the defendant said he was convicted in District Court last month for a public peace disturbance (PPD).
Kruse asked White to put something on record to prove that his client was in violation of conditions of his 5-year probation. According to White, Mika was charged in the District Court for resisting arrest, and was later convicted and sentenced to serve 30 days at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
Kruse reminded Mika that he’s still on probation with the High Court, which requires him to — among other things — remain law abiding. The court found that Mika violated conditions of his probation. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 11, 2019 for a deposition hearing.
A 24-year-old man accused of breaking into a home last year will be sentenced Jan. 24, 2019, after he entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Lafaele Tavita was initially charged with one felony count of first degree burglary and two misdemeanor counts of third degree assault.
However, under a plea agreement with the government, Tavita pled guilty to the amended count of felony stealing. The remaining charges were dismissed.
With his guilty plea, Tavita admits that some time on May 21, 2018 at around 4:12.a.m, he broke into a home, and saw a person in the house heading towards him. He said he punched the person, who was holding a laptop that he made off with.
According to the government’s case, Tavita sold the laptop to his friend, Richard Ifopo, one of the three co-defendants is this case. Ifopo is facing one count of receiving stolen property, a class D felony. The other two co-defendants are juveniles.
The government claims that Tavita, along with the two juveniles, had planned to break into the house for the purpose of stealing. Tavita ended up assaulting a man who was inside the house, and stealing the laptop, while the two juveniles broke into a room and stole shoes and clothes.
The two juveniles were later released from the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) to await trial. Ifopo was released on a $2,000 surety bond pending his jury trial next year while Tavita is still in custody awaiting sentencing.
A man who is charged with unlawful possession of illegal drugs has asked the court to set his case for trial.
Vise Gauta, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $5,000 surety bond, appeared in High Court last Friday for a pretrial conference. He was represented by Public Defender Michael White while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
When Gauta’s case was called, his attorney informed the court that they have received all the discovery from the government, along with an offer. However, after discussing the offer with his client, they were unable to accept it. White then asked the court to set his client’s case for trial.
Gauta’s trial is set for May 02, 2022.
One of two men arrested in May of this year for alleged possession of illegal drugs is set for a jury trial, after he denied an offer from the government last week. Laloata Unasa, who is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, will appear in High Court on Apr. 15, 2019 for a jury trial.
His plea agreement with the government was scheduled to be announced last week before Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea, but his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill told the court that his client wants to settle the matter via a jury trial, and the court accepted the request.
According to the court affidavit, Unasa was with Alfred Tagiilima when armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Units executed a search warrant for Tagiilima’s house and car, and it is alleged that Unasa had in his possession a stamp sized plastic baggie, which he tried to throw away when police saw him.
Attorney for the government, Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey told the court that an offer was given to Unasa last week, to plead guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, but he didn’t accept it.
Unasa remains in custody, awaiting his next court appearance.