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Probation violations trip up repeat offender

American Samoa District Court building


Repeat offender Ualesi Ugapo was ordered by the court last week to serve out the remaining 8 months of a 20-month sentence from a 2017 case. The decision came after the court found Ugapo in violation of conditions of his 5-year probation.

Ugapo was found guilty by the District Court last month of disturbing the public peace and subsequently sentenced to 152 days in jail — that was the amount of time he served while awaiting his sentencing.

He appeared in High Court last week for a hearing after he failed to comply with conditions of his probation from a previous conviction.

Ugapo’s defense attorney informed the court that the District Court sentenced his client to time served, after he was convicted of disturbing the public peace, and the remaining charges of third degree assault and resisting arrest were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with the government.

Instead of revoking his probation and ordering him to serve the remainder of his suspended 5-year jail term, the defense attorney asked the court to modify the conditions of probation, to allow Ugapo to return home and continue to be a law-abiding citizen.

Although he was convicted of disturbing the public peace, the defense attorney told the court there was no alcohol involved when police arrested his client.

Ugapo apologized to the court for his actions, and begged for another chance to go home. He told the court he would not violate any conditions of his probation in the future.

The government attorney agreed with the defense’s argument to modify conditions of Ugapo’s probation. But she emphasized the seriousness of the defendant’s actions, when he resisted arrest.

The court reminded Ugapo that one of the conditions of his 5-year probation from three years ago was that he serves 20 months at the TCF.

“The court then ordered you to serve only 12 months in jail, and the balance of 8 months was stayed, based on your good behavior," the court continued. "The court urges you to comply with all other conditions of your probation, including being a law-abiding citizen."

The judge said the court believes revoking Ugapo’s probation is not necessary at this time, and he will be given a chance to straighten out his life.

The court then modified the conditions of Ugapo’s probation, and ordered him to serve the stayed period of detention — which is 8 months.

“Ugapo, it is our hope that we will not see you in court for another Order to Show Cause because your chances are running out,” the court concluded.