Barlow files complaint with Interior Secretary against local AG’s Office
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Territorial Correctional Facility inmate, James Glenn Barlow, through his legal team, has filed a complaint with the US Secretary of Interior against the territory’s Attorney General’s Office, whose attorneys were accused of “deliberately” concealing inconsistent statements made by Barlow’s “alleged victims”.
This is according to the Joint Status Report, calling for a federal investigation, filed last Friday at federal court in Washington D.C. by Barlow’s legal team and the federal attorneys representing US Secretary of Interior David L. Bernhardt.
As previously reported by Samoa News, Barlow is currently serving a 24-year jail term at TCF for a conviction in a case involving three male juveniles.
Barlow, the petitioner, last year filed a habeas corpus petition — first with the federal court in Honolulu that later was transferred to the federal court in Washington D.C — challenging his detention in American Samoa.
He argued that various components of his trial in the High Court of American Samoa violated his rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The case was moved to D.C. federal court as it was deemed the proper venue because the U.S Secretary of Interior has plenary authority over the judicial system of American Samoa.
According to the status report, Barlow — the petitioner — filed last week Thursday, a complaint with the US Interior Secretary against the AG’s Office in American Samoa.
The complaint says the report is that attorneys with the AG’s office “deliberately concealed and failed to disclose exculpatory prior inconsistent statements made to that office’s attorneys and staff by the alleged victims” in Barlow’s criminal case that was heard by the High Court.
The report points out that Barlow’s petition for habeas corpus details some of the prosecutor’s misconduct in this regard, and the complaint to the Interior Secretary is based on information newly obtained from former American Samoa Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, who filed a June 24th affidavit, which was submitted to the federal court last Friday. (See yesterday’s Samoa News edition on Cardin’s affidavit.)
Petitioner’s complaint was delivered July 16th to the Interior Secretary’s attorney, who informed Barlow’s legal team that the complaint has been forwarded to the DOI, but they “don’t have anything else to say about it at this point,” the report states.
The petitioner explained that the complaint being filed with the Secretary was based on the Honolulu federal court ruling last December that the Secretary “has plenary authority over the judicial system in American Samoa.”
Petitioner is hopeful that the Secretary, as the “supervisory official for American Samoa’s judicial system, will conduct an appropriate, thorough, fair, and impartial investigation of the facts stated in Ms. Cardin’s affidavit.”
Additionally, the “petitioner has considerably more confidence in the integrity” of the Secretary and the U.S Attorney for the District of Columbia — representing the Secretary — “than the American Samoa government.”
According to the report, Barlow “is willing to give” the Secretary and the US Attorney “the opportunity to prove his trust is not misplaced. The Secretary will need time to consider and investigate the petitioner’s complaint.”
Depending on the outcome of the complaint, the petitioner anticipates he may be seeking leave of this court at some point to take the depositions of present and former members of the AG’s Office in American Samoa concerning these new allegations.
PAROLE AND COMMUTATION
The federal court was also informed that the American Samoa Parole Board met July 1st and conducted a hearing on petitioner’s application for parole. A few days thereafter local attorney David Vargas, representing Barlow on the parole proceedings, was informed by officials at the prison that a parole had been granted.
Then on July 10th, another of petitioner’s attorneys, Thomas Jones, received an email from local assistant attorney general Jason Mitchell which advised that he was “expecting the order for parole to be signed” on that date.
“However, no parole order has been received, and Barlow remains in the territorial correctional facility,” according to the petitioner’s legal team, who explained that on July 16th, they sought confirmation with the Assistant U.S Attorney representing the Secretary regarding Barlow’s release from jail. Petitioner’s legal team was advised the same day that Barlow’s parole application was still “under review”.
As to the status of Barlow’s application to the territory’s governor for pardon and commutation of sentence, the petition said the papers were sent priority express mail on June 13th and received by the Governor’s office on July 15. However, no decision on the application has been received at the time of the filing with federal court.
According to the report, the Respondent – Secretary of Interior — is prepared to move forward with setting a briefing schedule on the habeas petition. Given the petitioner’s ongoing efforts to secure relief through other means, however, respondent does not object to Barlow’s request for a further continuance of these proceedings.
Attorney for the Secretary requires additional time to assess this case and determine how to proceed, according to the report, which shows that parties on both sides request that the court permit the parties an additional sixty days—until Sept. 15 — in which to confer and propose a schedule for further proceedings in this case.
The court is expected to issue a decision soon on the request for further proceedings.