Parole Board grants James Barlow’s request for early release
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Parole Board (ASPB) has granted James Barlow’s request for an early release after serving 8 years of his 24-year sentenced at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
This was confirmed by Barlow’s new defense attorney in American Samoa, Thomas B. Jones to Samoa News yesterday morning.
Jones stated that the ASPB last week granted his client’s motion for an early release after they reviewed all factors surrounding his appeal, including his age, his health conditions, the period he has been in TCF and also his behavior towards other inmates while serving his sentence.
When asked about the next step for Barlow, Jones said that his client will wait until the borders are open so that he can get on the plane and return to his country and family in the United States.
However, Barlow needs to get airfare and make sure he has completed his civil case that is before the High Court at this time.
Barlow, is a 72-year-old U.S. citizen currently imprisoned at the TCF. [SN file photo]
In 2012, Barlow was jailed under felony charges of sexually engaging two underage teen boys after he and three boys were caught under the influence of alcohol in a car together. Court records show that the boys initially told their lawyers that no sexual interaction ever occurred between them and Barlow.
THE CIVIL CASE
Barlow’s civil case was called in court yesterday morning for a Status Hearing. Appearing for the government was Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell, while representing Barlow is private attorney, Thomas Jones.
The first Status Hearing for Barlow’s case was called in court in April of this year and after hearing from both attorneys, the court set another hearing for yesterday, July 7th, 2020.
When the case was called in court yesterday, Associate Justice Fiti Sunia informed counsel Jones that the court has already signed off on his motion for substitution.
When given the chance to address the court, Jones asked the court for another continuance. He said that he still trying to locate Barlow’s file from several attorneys who represented him in past years. Jones said that he believed that the files were transferred from [Mark] Ude to Lupe [Mataipulevao Leupolu Jr] and then to [Richard] deSaulles.
Jones further stated to the court that he needed more time to review the file in order for him to be familiar with Barlow’s civil case, and also a chance to respond to the government’s motion to dismiss Barlow’s claims for lack of prosecution.
Sunia broke in and informed both parties that the court had already made a ruling on the government’s motion.
According to Sunia, on April 29th, 2020, the court denied without prejudice the government’s motion to dismiss Barlow’s claim for lack of prosecution, citing that plaintiff had new discovery for the case.
In 2015, Barlow (plaintiff) through his attorney, Mark Ude brought two actions alleging two separate causes of Negligence as well as Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress and Intentional Infliction of Emotion Distress.
The allegations arose out of the plaintiff’s incarceration at the TCF while awaiting trial where he was allegedly beaten up by other inmates.
Barlow alleged that since being in prison he has been assaulted more than 17 times, causing the breakage of half of his teeth. One time, he was assaulted by a weapon-wielding convicted murderer causing a brain aneurysm, broken bones, damaged hearing and PTSD. Barlow also says the jail does not provide soap, toilet paper, or bedding and TCF is filthy with broken plumbing, leaking roofs, rat and insect infestations, and pig slop served as food that causes food poisoning.
Despite his conviction, Barlow alleged that the former Assistant Attorney General, Terry Bullinger coerced confessions from the boys in closed-door interrogations in the office where Assistant AG allegedly threatened to jail them for drinking alcohol and revoke their immigrant parents’ work visas unless they accused Barlow. During these unrecorded interviews, neither the boys’ parents nor their attorneys were present.
In response to the plaintiff’s claims, the defendant (American Samoa Government) stated that there have been no filings in this case since January 2016. It is ASG’s understanding that Ude has departed the territory with no intent to return. This period of inactivity of over four years warrants the dismissal of this matter.
The defendant claims that the allegation made in the complaint allegedly occurred from 2012 through 2014. In the first cause of action, plaintiff alleges negligence in that the prosecution of his case was delayed due to a lack of discovery. The count also alleges, in essence that while plaintiff was in TCF awaiting trial, an officer at TCF negligently entrusted an inmate with keys and the inmate assaulted Barlow.
In the second negligence count, plaintiff alleged a violation of his privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 when an officer was present with him while plaintiff was treated, and that an officer took his medication from him, and a doctor reduced his medication.
As a result, plaintiff claims that he suffered fear and difficulty sleeping.
Defendant filed an answer to the complaint on Apr. 1, 2015.
After that discovery proceeded with some intervention from the court. A hearing was set for January 15, 2015 and several pleadings were filed by the defendant in January, 2015. Since then, there has been no further action by the plaintiff in this matter.
For this reason, the defendant asked the court to deny the plaintiff’s complaint for lack of prosecution.
The motion was denied by the court without prejudice.