Court hears cases involving probation, warrant issues and plea agreement
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — James Taito was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) last Friday, after the court decided not to revoke his probation.
Taito, who was held in custody without bail for 73 days since his arrest on Feb. 18, appeared in High Court last week for a Disposition Hearing, for failure to comply with conditions of his 2014 probation.
Taito apologized to the court and begged for another chance to return home to care for his family. He said if given another chance, he will use his time wisely to be a good person and seek employment to pay his fine and restitution.
Defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson, along prosecutor, Christy Dunn both asked the court for a second chance for Taito.
Chief Justice Michael Kruse said the court will not revoke Taito's probation but instead, will add 2 conditions to his probation: Taito must find a job in 90 days, and Probation — based on the pre-sentence report — must see to it that Taito undergoes a mental evaluation.
Taito was convicted of stealing, under a plea agreement with the government. He was sentenced to 7 years of probation. Taito, along with two co-defendants, unlawfully entered a home in Ottoville, where Taito stole a computer.
Taito was ordered to serve 28 months at TCF, pay a fine of $1,000 and restitution of $1,800.
Taito was arrested in February this year for failure to pay his fine and restitution.
Associate Justice Fiti Sunia granted a motion by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson, to quash the bench warrant issued for Talitonu Faalogo, for failure to appear last week for an Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing, which was scheduled after Faalogo failed to comply with conditions of probation.
According to Probation, Faalogo failed to pay his $2,000 fine and restitution of $1,210. He also failed to visit Probation every month, as required by the court.
Faalogo did not appear in court when his case was called last Tuesday. His attorney said he tried his best to contact Faalogo, who didn't answer his phone calls. Sunia then issued a bench warrant.
On Wednesday, Faalogo was arrested and taken to custody. He appeared in court Friday and explained that he had lost his phone and forgot about his court hearing.
Faalogo was released from custody after Sunia quashed the warrant. He is to appear in court for an OSC hearing next month.
One of the two defendants arrested for burglarizing two homes and a store in Vaitogi last year entered into a plea agreement with the government last week.
Adam Viliamu, who has been in custody since his arrest last July, unable to post a $10,000 surety bond, appeared in court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.
Viliamu, 25, was initially charged with 3 counts of stealing and 3 counts of first degree burglary and 2 misdemeanor charges of trespass and 3rd degree property damage.
Under a plea agreement, Viliamu pled guilty to 2 counts of stealing. The remaining charges were dismissed.
With his guilty plea, Viliamu admits that on the night of July 12, 2018 he unlawfully entered a home in Vaitogi and stole several items, valued at more than $100.
Viliamu admits that on the same night, he broke into an Asian store in Vaitogi and stole several items and a box containing $258 cash.
The items Viliamu stole included clothes, shoes, and a cell phone which he sold to a friend. He used the money to buy beer and food.
The government is recommending probation, with the condition that Viliamu pay $680 in restitution. Viliamu will be sentenced June 6th.