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Cases of overstayers allegedly committing crimes crowd court dockets

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA The 31-year-old man from Pago Pago accused of using a piece of timber to assault another man has entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Joshua Filiga appeared in court last week for a Change of Plea hearing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Filiga was initially charged with second degree assault, a felony; and two misdemeanor charges: unlawful use of a weapon and public peace disturbance.

However, in a plea agreement with the government, Filiga pled guilty to second degree assault. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Filiga admits that on Mar. 05, 2018 he struck a man multiple times in the head and body with a piece of timber.

According to terms of the plea agreement, Filiga and the victim had gotten into a disagreement. The victim allegedly attempted to assault Filiga but failed. That's when Filiga turned around and assaulted the victim.

The victim suffered severe head injuries and spent four days at the LBJ Hospital.

The government is recommending probation and departure for Filiga, who is an overstayer from Samoa He entered the territory on a 30-day permit in October 2017.

The government is also recommending restitution of $1,209 to be paid to the victim for his medical bills.



An overstayer who has been in custody on a 'no bail' status due to his immigration situation has been sentenced to 24 months probation under the condition that he depart the territory immediately and not return at any time during his probation term.

Valentino Sam Chong a.k.a. Filipo Soane appeared in District Court yesterday morning for a pretrial conference where he pled guilty to the sole criminal charge against him: public peace disturbance.

Sam Chong has admitted that on Dec. 30, 2018 he was involved in a fight while he was intoxicated.

Judge Elvis P. Patea has ordered Immigration to get Sam Chong's travel documents and fare squared away so he can be en route to Samoa sooner than later.

A certified copy of the court's judgment and order is to be sent to the Chief Immigration Officer so Sam Chong's name can be on the lookout list at the territory's points of entry.

Sam Chong has been in and out of court because of his immigration status. In addition, he had provided 3 different names to police.


Pea Toso is scheduled to depart the territory today on the Lady Naomi, bound for independent Samoa.

A condition of Toso's 24-month probation sentence requires him to depart the territory immediately and remain outside of its borders for a duration of 2 years.

Toso was initially charged with trespass and third degree property damage. Samoa News understands he entered the territory on a 30-day permit between August and September of last year.

During his pretrial conference in District Court yesterday, Toso pled guilty to trespass and the remaining charge was dismissed, under a plea agreement that was accepted by the court.

According to the Immigration Office, Toso has a paid ticket for today's sailing of the Lady Naomi.

With his guilty plea, Toso admits that on Jan. 2, 2019 he unlawfully entered a home that wasn't his, and damaged things that were inside. When given the chance to speak, Toso apologized for his actions, saying he made a 'mistake'.

A certified copy of the court's judgment and sentence will be delivered to the Chief Immigration Officer so Toso's name can be placed on the lookout list.

Judge Elvis P. Patea warned Toso that if he re-enters or attempts to re-enter the territory within the next 24 months, probation may be revoked and a sentence will be imposed.