Another young mother in court — sentenced to 6 months at TCF
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young mother convicted of stealing and unlawful possession of illegal drugs was sentenced to 180 days at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
Julie Uiese, who was released on a $10,000 surety bond appeared in High Court last week for sentencing.
Uiese was initially charged with two separate cases. In the first case, she was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, (methamphetamine), a felony, punishable by imprisonment between 5-10 years, a fine between $5,000-$10,000 or both. In the second case, she was charged with one count of stealing and one count of fraud, both class C felonies, punishably by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
But under a plea agreement with the government, Uiese pled guilty to an amended charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, and one count of stealing.
With her guilty plea, the defendant admits that on the morning of June 29, 2019 in Futiga, she had in her possession a small baggie containing methamphetamine. She further admits that she took a rental vehicle from a rental car company and never returned it to the owner, committing the crime of stealing.
When given the chance to address the court, Uiese apologized to the court for her action and asked for another chance to be with her young children. She told the court that she is truly remorseful for what she did and in the future she would not violate any laws of the territory.
The defense attorney asked the court for a probated sentence to allow his client to be at home to care for her young children. According to the defense attorney, his client’s husband is serving time at the TCF, and if the defendant is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, no one will look after their children.
Samoa News understands that Uiese is the wife of an inmate accused of escaping from confinement in August of 2018, and allegedly shooting a man in Leone.
The prosecutor echoed the defense’s argument and asked the court for a light sentence for the defendant.
Uiese was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and a $2,000 fine. Execution of detention is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation for 5 years subject to several conditions.
She was ordered to serve 20 months at the TCF without any release, however, the court stayed 14 months of detention, and ordered the defendant to serve only 180 days, which is 6 months.
Uiese was also ordered not to consume or possess any alcohol or illegal drugs, and she must seek and secure gainful employment within the first 90 days when she is released from jail.
The government claims that on the morning of June 29, 2019, cops spotted a rental car and another vehicle parked on the side of the road in Futiga. The drivers were talking to each other, while still inside the vehicles. The rental car driver was later identified as Uiese, the defendant, while the driver of the other vehicle was a male.
Police stopped at the scene, in an effort to find out who was driving the rental car, as the Tafuna Substation received a complaint from a woman on June 25th, claiming that one of her rental units was stolen by a woman named Julie Uiese.
According to the vehicle’s owner, Uiese took the car and didn’t turn it back in.
Police spotted the rental car and the other vehicle parked on the dirt road next to the Futiga Catholic Church.
Police approached the driver of the rental car to let her know about the reports regarding the rental unit being stolen.
For safety purposes, cops asked Uiese to exit the vehicle and when she did, she asked one of the officers if she could take all her property to the driver of the other car.
A cop escorted Uiese when she was taking her property to the other driver, who was still sitting inside his vehicle.
When Uiese handed over her stuff, the officer observed a small glass pipe commonly used to smoke meth, and a small stamp sized straw with a white crystalline substance that appeared to be meth.
The officer immediately seized the items from the male driver and then detained Uiese inside the police unit. Both Uiese and the male driver were taken to the Tafuna Substation for questioning.
During an inventory of the property Uiese handed over to the male driver, officers discovered one small straw of meth, one glass pipe containing meth, a lighter, 3 cell phones, and one ‘Hookah’ pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana.
In an interview with police, the male driver said Uiese came to his house to hide because the police were looking for the vehicle she was driving. He said he stopped Uiese’s vehicle and asked her to leave his residence because he didn’t want to be involved with her problems.
According to him, he had nothing to do with the drugs Uiese handed to him in the presence of police officers. He said the reason why he accepted Uiese’s property was because he knew the police were going to take her to jail for the rental car. The man told police the items do not belong to him.
Uiese refused to make a statement.