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Court directs defendant to address ongoing alcohol problem

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Judge Elvis P. Patea says Sene Filemoni needs to find a way to address his alcohol problem.

During arguments regarding the defendant’s bail, Patea said it’s clear from court records that Filemoni has been in and out of court since 2007 on cases resulting from alcohol use.

Filemoni, 50, was taken into custody last Saturday afternoon after family members contacted police for help because Filemoni was intoxicated, causing trouble, and swearing at neighbors and others. He also assaulted a man who tried to calm him down by punching him in the face twice and then throwing an empty beer bottle at him.

A neighbor told police that he got into an argument with Filemoni, “who was drunk” and started swearing, according to court information, which also says Filemoni called the neighbor “stupid”. Filemoni allegedly claimed that he is not afraid of beating anyone up.

Enroute to the main Fagatogo police station, cops detected a “strong odor” of alcohol emitting from Filemoni’s breath and clothes. Filemoni had to be helped into the police station because he could barely stand, let alone walk.

During the booking process, Filemoni responded with “a slurred speech” and sometimes struggled to answer questions. The defendant was released on his own recognizance (OR) after he appeared in court this week for initial appearance.

Filemoni is charged with third degree assault, public peace disturbance, and trespass - all misdemeanors. Pretrial conference is Aug. 22nd.

One of the conditions of release require Filemoni not to have any contact with the government witnesses, including the victim and his family.