Siaumau files motion for early release — serving 20 months on pot conviction
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chief Justice Michael Kruse has taken under advisement a motion filed by Titifalaula Siaumau, seeking an order to modify conditions of his sentence, so he can be released early from confinement.
Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei represents the defendant while Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn is prosecuting.
The defense called two witnesses to the stand: Chief Probation Officer (CPO) Malcolm Kilomita Polu and the defendant, Siaumau.
Polu testified that one of his many duties is to oversee all probationers, and Siaumau is one of them.
He told the court that Siaumau is serving a 20-month detention term, as a condition of his 5-year probation sentence, handed down after he was convicted of conspiracy to import illegal drugs (marijuana) to American Samoa.
According to Polu, Siaumau was sentenced on Feb. 5, 2018.
He's spent over 16 months at the TCF.
Based on his evaluation, Siaumau has been doing good since being detained, he's been in compliance with all conditions of probation, and he has never been in trouble since he started serving his time.
When he took the witness stand, Siaumau told the court that he filed the motion because he wants to return home to care for his three young children and wife. He said that while he's been in custody, his father and others from his wife's family have been working together to care for his wife and children.
He said he is unemployed and there is no one who can provide for his family. But he wants to change that, and that's why he's been in contact with his father, who he believes can help him find a job.
Kruse told Uiagalelei that maybe 90% of all the probationers are eligible for early release. He wanted to know why the court should give Siaumau special treatment for his case, when there are other inmates who are also eligible for the same chance.
Kruse did point to something that was mentioned in the government's facts in Siaumau's case. And that is, the defendant had over $10,000 cash in his possession when apprehended by California law enforcement officials.
Siaumau is remanded back to custody to await the court's