COURT REPORT: Repeat offenders in court
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was ordered to pay $1,045.24 restitution for the tools he stole from his neighbor, is asking the court to give him 6 months to pay it in full. Olataga Siaosi appeared in court last week for an Order To Show Cause (OSC) hearing, for failing to comply with conditions of his 7-year probation that was handed down in 2014 for a stealing conviction.
Conditions of probation include: restitution, a $1,000 fine, finding a job, and monthly Probation visits. But according to Probation, Siaosi has only paid $350 of his fine and $340 in restitution. Siaosi told the court he didn't pay the full amounts because he was unable to find a job. He said he was hired by a local construction company in 2017 but was terminated 8 months later after the company owner found out he was convicted of stealing.
Siaosi said he used some of the money he earned in that 8 months to pay part of his fine and restitution, and the rest went to feeding his family and his elderly mother, who passed away last year. He begged the court to give him another 6 months to pay off the balance. He said he has a plantation and it's been 2 months since he started selling taro, banana, and vegetables at the market.
The court has granted Siaosi’s request and given him 8 months to pay his fine and restitution. Siaosi was reminded that once the court revokes his probation, he will have to serve the suspended period of imprisonment, which is 7 years.
Under a plea agreement, Siaosi pled guilty to stealing, a class C felony, and the remaining charges of first degree burglary, trespass, and third degree property damage were dismissed. He was sentenced to 7 years and a fine of $1,000. But execution of sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for 7 years, subject to conditions. He was to serve 28 months; however, he only served 14 months and the balance was suspended.
Siaosi burglarized the home of his neighbor in Kokoland. He damaged the back door, entered the home late at night, and stole several electric tools that were in the garage.
The High Court is taking under advisement a government motion to revoke bail for Saili Onetala. Prosecutor Laura Garvey said the government feels that Onetala violated conditions of his release from a previous case filed last year that is still pending in court.
On Feb. 9th, Onetala was re-arrested and charged in District Court with two misdemeanors: public peace disturbance and third degree assault. According to the government, Onetala was picked up after he allegedly assaulted his neighbor during a party at his home. Onetala was heavily intoxicated when police took him in. Garvey is asking the court to revoke and forfeit his bond. Defense attorney, Ryan Anderson said the allegations are based on things on a piece of paper, not solid evidence like someone being sworn-in to tell the court what happened. He argues that there isn't sufficient evidence from the government to prove its motion, and for that reason, it must be denied.
Garvey said the government has a copy of the new complaint against Onetala, which can support the motion. Onetala, who is out on a $15,000 surety, has been ordered to comply with conditions of release, especially the one requiring him to be law abiding.
Onetala is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The charges against him stem from a July 21, 2019 incident whereby cops allegedly found drugs in his vehicle during a traffic stop in Nu’uuli