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Courts hear stealing and PPD cases

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A verbal altercation that resulted in a taxi driver getting punched in the eye has netted Teofilo Faamanatu a 12-month probation sentence and a $100 fine to be paid within 30 days.

Faamanatu was initially charged with public peace disturbance and two counts of third degree assault (class A and class C misdemeanors). But under a plea agreement with the government, Faamanatu pled guilty to third degree assault (class A misdemeanor). The remaining charges were dismissed.

According to information revealed last week in District Court, Faamanatu was intoxicated when he got into a verbal altercation with a taxi driver, who was "joking" about Faamanatu driving while under the influence. This occurred Sept. 24, 2018

"If this is true, I hope it has stopped," said Judge Elvis P. Patea before he handed down Faamanatu’s sentence. "People's lives are at stake when you drive while drunk."

The victim sustained injuries to his left eye as a result of the physical altercation.

When given a chance to speak, Faamanatu apologized for his actions and said it will not happen again.

Faamanatu is to remain sober and he is subjected to random testing. His probation review is set for June 20, 2020.


Sentencing for  Iakopo Stuart in District Court last week takes care of his matters there, but he is still in custody for a matter pending in High Court.

Stuart was initially charged with stealing. But under a plea agreement with the government, the charge was amended to third degree property damage.

Last Thursday, Nov. 21, Stuart pled guilty to the amended charge. The charge against him stems from an incident that occurred Oct. 19, 2018, where he damaged a cellphone at Jane’s Mini Mart in Tafuna. Stuart is alleged to have walked into the store and asked to borrow a cellphone. After using it, he dropped it on the ground on the way out.

Defense attorney Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart said his client is remorseful, and he requested that he be sentenced to time served (66 days).

Judge Elvis P. Patea sentenced Taito to 66 days at the TCF, with credit for time served. He is also to pay restitution of $100 for the phone he damaged, and a $100 fine to the court.

Earlier that same day, Stuart appeared in High Court where he admitted to violating conditions of his probation. He didn't visit the Probation Office, he didn't pay his fine, and he didn't seek employment. A disposition hearing for that matter is set for Dec. 20, 2020.