Court hands down sentences in PPDs and hears property damage case
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who pled guilty to public peace disturbance has been sentenced to 12 months probation, because the court said the 6 months recommended by attorneys from both sides is not enough.
Feaunati Utumapu was initially charged with two counts of third degree assault and public peace disturbance. Under a plea agreement with the government, Utumapu pled guilty to PPD and the remaining charges were dismissed.
With his guilty plea, Utumapu admits that on Sept. 20, 2020 he was engaged in a fight, which involved 3 people, and some of them were juveniles.
In rendering sentence, the court noted that Utumapu's record reflects other PPD charges in 2015 and also 2017
The court said Utumapu is young, in his early 20s, and the court feels that a 12-month probation sentence is needed, to put him under longer supervision.
In addition to probation, Utumapu is ordered to pay off a citation ($50) that was issued in 2020 and a fine of $150 within 60 days.
"Find a job and pay your fines," the court said.
A man who allegedly slashed two tires on his wife's truck has been arrested and charged with third degree property damage.
Mikaele Tivoli made his initial appearance in District Court last month, where he entered a 'not guilty' plea to the single charge against him.
The court ordered Tivoli to be released on his own recognizance, and a pretrial conference is set for next month.
Conditions of release include maintaining peace at home and being law abiding. He is also not to "harass, assault, annoy, or disturb the well being of any members of his household."
According to the government's case, the Tafuna Police Substation received a call for assistance from the defendant's wife, who claimed that Tivoli was intoxicated and yelling profanities at home.
The woman allegedly told police that Tivoli was looking for the car keys and when she said she didn't know where they were, he allegedly left the room, grabbed a knife, and proceeded to slash two tires on the family's truck.
Investigators note that the truck is registered under the victim's name, as sole owner. According to what the victim told police, Tivoli had also been drunk and unruly the night before, and she contacted police because she wants him to stay away.
The criminal complaint notes that Tivoli "reeked of alcohol from a distance."
The first of three cases against Tevita Samuelu has been dismissed, under a plea agreement with the government. Last month, the defendant appeared in District Court and pled guilty to public peace disturbance (PPD) in the second case. In the third case, the defendant pled guilty to contempt of court and third degree property damage, which was amended from the initial charge of trespassing. The two remaining charges in that case were dismissed.
A motion from defense attorney to dismiss the first two cases against his client, on the grounds of a speedy trial, were dismissed by court.
For the second case, Samuelu admits that he got into a fight at a store in Tafuna last year. He was released on his own recognizance from that case, after spending only one night in jail. In the third case, Samuelu admits that on Mar. 22, 2021 he damaged the window of a home into which he was peeping.
This went against a court order that he remain law abiding, as a condition of his release from the second case.
When given a chance to speak, Samuelu apologized for his actions and said things happen for a reason,"to teach us lessons that we can learn from."
Samuelu's history in District Court dates back to 2014, where he was brought in twice for underage drinking, once for trespassing, and again for PPD.
Under the plea agreement, the first case against Samuelu was dismissed.
For the second case, he was sentenced to 60 days imprisonment in jail for each count. The sentences are to run concurrently. Samuelu will be credited with 45 days for time served.
For the third case, Samuelu was sentenced to 20 days incarceration, and credited for 1 day of time served.
He is remanded to the Territorial Correctional Facility to serve out the duration of his sentences.
In the meantime, there is a High Court matter pending against him, an order to show cause based on the District Court cases. Samuelu is said to have failed to remain law abiding, and also failed to make restitution.