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Court releases man who spent 10 months in pretrial confinement for stealing

Territorial Correctional Facility, TCF

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 21-year-old man who was convicted of stealing was released from custody this week, after the High Court determined that the 10 months he has served at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), to await sentencing, is enough.

Rimoni Anapapa, under a plea agreement with the government, pled guilty to the amended charge of stealing, a class C felony, punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Anapapa admits that sometime during October of last year, he misappropriated properties belonging to another person.

During sentencing, Anapapa apologized and asked for forgiveness. “I didn’t mean to break the law; unfortunately, I made a mistake and I can't take back what happened. This is coming from a man who is truly remorseful. I promise I will never do any stupid thing like this again. Please, I want to go home to my family,” Anapapa said.

His father and his grandmother, both present in court, were in tears when Anapapa apologized.

Deputy Public Defender Rob McNeill asked the court to give Anapapa another chance. He said his client is only 21 years old, very immature, and he has advised him to think about his future.

McNeill said his client is a suitable candidate for probation and prosecutor Laura Garvey agreed. She asked the court to let the 10 months Anapapa spent at TCF be his sentence.

Associate Justice Fiti Sunia said that while Anapapa is only 21, the pre-sentence report shows that he's had a prior run-in with the law. “At the time, it seemed minor and the punishment that was ordered in those cases also seemed minor; now you’re in the big league, so the offenses are no longer considered minor, and the punishment will no longer be minor, and you ought to keep that in mind as you go forward,” Sunia told the defendant.

Anapapa was placed on probation for 5 years under certain conditions. He has to remain a law abiding, visit Probation once a month, and  serve 28 months at the TCF.

“You will be credited the 10 months you have already served; the balance of 18 months will be stayed as long as you comply with all conditions of your probation,” Sunia told Anapapa, who was also ordered to pay a $500 fine within 18 months, and find a job.

“If you choose to walk on the opposite side, then you remember that there will be no more second chance for you,” Sunia warned.