Former American Samoa firefighter counts his blessings after court “gives him another chance”
Pago Pago, AMAERICAN SAMOA — The 24-year-old man who violated conditions of his 5-year probation 4 days after he was released from jail is now counting his blessings after the court gave him another chance to rebuild his life.
Methodist Kuka Mika, a former firefighter, was arrested Dec. 31, 2017 on drug charges. In March of this year, he pled guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). He was sentenced on April 22 of this year where he was placed on probation for a period of 5 years under certain conditions he has to comply with.
As a condition of his 5-year probation, Mika was to remain alcohol and drug free. But when the Probation Office conducted random testing on him 4 days after he was released from the prison, Mika tested positive for methamphetamine. Police then arrested him and held him in custody without bail to await his case.
Last week, Mika appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse, along with Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr for his Deposition Hearing.
When given the chance to address the court, the defendant apologized for violating conditions of his probation, and promised the court that he will never make this mistake again. Mika further told the court that the test for him was too early.
Kruse asked Mika if his statement was an excuse for what he did. The defendant responded no.
The CJ then turned to the government’s attorney, Woodrow Pengelly and told him the reason the RSAT Unit at the TCF was established is to make sure inmates are free from drugs.
Pengelly responded, saying that based on his understanding, the DPS Commissioner and his staff are working so hard to make sure this problem will never happen again. Pengelly recommended to the court that Mika serve 6 months in prison.
“What have you learned from this experience?” Kruse asked the defendant. Mika replied he would never have good things in life if he continues to do drugs. Furthermore, he said that the drug test for him was too early. He did not expect it.
Kruse smiled and said to the defendant, “I give you one thing, you’re honest to the court. You said you did not expect that Probation officers would conduct your drug test so early.”
The CJ said that Mika’s action was a clear violation of his probation conditions, which is contempt of court. He then sentenced him to time served, which was 28 days for contempt of court.
Kruse also reminded Mika that all conditions of his 5-year probation are still valid, and he must comply with all the conditions that were given out by the court.
In April of this year, Mika was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000. His imprisonment sentence was then suspended and he was placed on probation for a period of 5 years under certain conditions.
The court ordered Mika to serve 20 months at TCF and he was credited with the 4 months he had already served. The execution of the remaining 16 months was stayed as follows; 10 months of the detention shall be served commencing Apr. 20, 2019, while the last 6 months of detention shall be served commencing July 1st, 2020.
Kruse said that detention would be served down the line not upfront as is usual, and the court will re-visit the probation during this time to ascertain whether the defendant is in compliance with probation. With respect to the fine, all but $3,000 is suspended with $2,000 payable forthwith.