Two inmates who tested positive for meth appear before CJ Kruse
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — “The only option the government has to ensure inmates will no longer have access to illegal drugs, is to order DPS to make sure that the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) and the Juveniles Detention Center (JDC) are drug free.”
This was the message from Chief Justice Michael Kruse during the sentencing of two inmates who tested positive for methamphetamine by the Chief Probation Officer and his team early last month inside TCF.
The two inmates, John Tuupo who is a Samoa citizen, and Wayne Gasolo who is a US National both appeared in District Court yesterday morning for a Disposition Hearing, for failure to comply with conditions of their probation, which includes staying away from alcohol and illegal drugs while on probation.
Prosecuting this matter was Assistant Attorney General, Christy Dunn, while Acting Public Defender, Michael White represented both defendants.
When given the chance to address the court, Gasolo apologized for what happened and asked for forgiveness. Gasolo stated to the court that he feels remorseful and he believes that this will never happen again.
Kruse asked Gasolo, what is the basis of his remorse? Is it the fact that he was caught or because he violated conditions of his probation. Gasolo responded, saying that he’s remorseful because he tested positive for drugs.
“So, in other words, you’re remorseful because you’re caught, is that what you’re saying?” Kruse asked Gasolo, while laughing.
Gasolo said, “Yes your honor.” Kruse then said, “Wow, what an honest man.”
His defense attorney did not offer any recommendation when given the chance to say something on behalf of his client.
“So, you want him to be locked up in jail for 5 years?” Kruse asked White. The defense then said that he believes that the defendant has learned his lesson and will make some changes in his life.
Kruse laughed again and told White that Gasolo will never learn anything good from his actions.
White then told the court, “It’s frustrating and he needs to change his life. Reports stated that this defendant had 18 more days of detention to go before he was caught,” White told the court.
When given the chance to speak, Dunn told the court that the government has no option but to ask the court to revoke the defendant’s probation.
“Are you telling me that the government is going to feed him for 5 years. What other option does the government have for this defendant?” Kruse asked the government’s attorney.
Her response was, “I don’t know what other option we have for this defendant.”
Kruse replied, “The other option for the government is find out how drugs got into the RSAT (Residential Substance Abuse Treatment) units.”
Dunn responded saying that she believes that the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is looking at this issue right now. Kruse fired back, saying that he has been talking about this issue for many years now.
“The reason for sending people to jail, is to separate them from drugs, unfortunately, it seems like the jail is insecure. We just finished the jury trial for one of the cop who works at the JDC, and that trial tells the story,” Kruse said.
Before delivering the court sentence for Gasolo, Kruse then called Tuupo’s case. He wanted to hear his story before the court delivered its decision.
When given the chance to speak, Tuupo apologized to the court for violating conditions of his probation, and admitted that he’s addicted to methamphetamine. “I also told Malcolm [Polu] (the Chief Probation Officer) that if he wants to perform any drug test on me, I would be happy and ready to comply. I also told him that I haven’t received any paper regarding conditions of my probation, which included the condition of random drug testing,” Tuupo told the court.
Before he concluded his statement, he informed the court that he need to share something with the court.
“The only sad part of what happen when we tested positive, was that, one of our roommates by the name of Sio Olomali’i, who also tested positive for methamphetamine was let go by the Chief Probation officer (CPO),” Tuupo told the court.
Kruse turned to where the CPO was sitting and asked him, “What happened to Olomali’i?”
Polu responded, saying that he was deported back to Samoa, pursuant to a court order that said he had to depart the territory upon serving his period of detention.
Kruse turned back to Tuupo and asked him, “So what are you asking for?”
Tuupo responded, “I want fairness. Olomali’i was released after he tested positive for methamphetamine.”
“Are you asking for the same thing, deport you upon serving your period of detention?” Kruse asked the defendant. His response was, “Yes your honor.”
In delivering the court decision, Kruse stated that the court would not revoke Gasolo’s probation, however, he was ordered to serve 60 days for failing to complied with court orders. His new sentences will run consecutive to his previous detention. He will be credited for the time he was detained after testing positive for using methamphetamine.
For Tuupo, the court sentenced him to serve 90 days for failing to comply with conditions of his probation along with the court order. His new period of detention would run consecutively with his previous period of detention.
Upon release from TCF, Tuupo is ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its border for the period of his probation, which is 5 years.
Both defendants were ordered to stay clean while serving time in jail. Kruse also directed the CPO to spot-check both defendants regularly to make sure they are in compliance with the court order.