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Repeat offender is sentenced for misdemeanor stealing

American Samoa District Court building
This is the defendant’s 5th appearance in court

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was convicted of misdemeanor stealing has been ordered to serve 60 days at the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF), as a condition of a 12-month probation sentence.

Mikaele Mauga has been in custody since May, this year. He was initially charged with public peace disturbance, stealing, and third degree assault. However, in a plea agreement with the government, Mauga pled guilty to stealing and the remaining charges were dismissed.

When he appeared before District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea last week for sentencing, Mauga apologized for his actions and begged for a second chance to return home to care for his parents and to serve his family and church.

He also apologized to the victim and asked for forgiveness. The defendant said he is truly remorseful for what he did and assured the judge that he will never again break any laws, adding that if given another chance, he will do everything he can to change his life.

Patea asked the defendant what happened to the many chances the court gave him when he appeared 4 times for previous court cases. Mauga said he messed up and he was trying his best to abide by the law, but he failed.

Attorneys from both sides asked the court to sentence Mauga to 12 months probation, under the condition that he attend and complete alcohol counseling, and refrain from consuming alcohol.

Patea told Mauga that the court gave him a lot of chances before, but it appears he’s not learning. A report from Probation notes that Mauga has completed alcohol counseling that was ordered by the court, as a condition in a previous matter.

“You’re not new in this court, this is the fifth time you've come before this court. You have been convicted of public peace disturbance three times. You've also been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) and now you’re convicted of stealing. Who knows, maybe your next criminal act will be a felony?” Patea told Mauga.

According to court records, Mauga was placed on 12-months probation in April last year, for a DUI conviction. A few months later, he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor stealing.

The judge revoked Mauga’s 12-month probation from the DUI matter, and ordered him to serve the suspended sentence of 60 days. He will be credited for the 51 days he's already spent in confinement.

For the stealing case, Mauga will serve 12 months at the TCF.

The sentence is suspended however, and he is placed on probation for 12 months, under the condition that he serve 60 days behind bars.The remaining term is stayed, as long as he complies with probation conditions.

Mauga is also ordered to pay a $100 fine within 30 days, and he must be gainfully employed after he is released from prison — the beginning of next month.