Woman with a long list of PPD convictions is sentenced to probation
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A woman who has been in and out of court for disturbing the public peace has been warned by Judge Elvis P. Patea that if she doesn't straighten out her life, she will end up in jail.
Vaitui Tavui appeared in District Court yesterday morning for a pretrial conference.
Under a plea agreement with the government, Tavui pled guilty to public peace disturbance. In return, the remaining charges of resisting arrest and endangering the welfare of a child were dismissed.
With her guilty plea, Tavui admits that in December 2018, she was yelling at her husband inside their home and continued to yell when she walked out, causing a disturbance in the neighborhood.
In rendering sentence, Judge Patea noted that Tavui has prior convictions for the same charge (PPD): one in 2010, another in 2015, and three in 2016.
(She had just completed probation for a PPD in October 2018, two months before she was arrested again — for the same thing).
"Why do you keep coming back to court?" Judge Patea asked while looking directly at Tavui. "You've gone through all the intensive programs, you've been placed on probation, you've served time in prison. The only thing left to do is extend your jail term," he continued.
When asked about her situation at home, Tavui said she takes care of her husband, who is unable to walk. Judge Patea told Tavui to "think hard" and consider the fact that her husband will be without a caretaker if she is sentenced to serve time.
"At this point in your life, you need to change," Judge Patea said, adding that the maximum sentence for a class B misdemeanor — which Tavui pled guilty to — is 6 months imprisonment.
Judge Patea then sentenced Tavui to 45 days in jail and a fine of $500
The execution of sentence is suspended and Tavui is placed on probation for 24 months, under the condition that she get assessed by the Catholic Social Services Program, be law abiding, and remain alcohol and drug free. She is also subjected to random testing by the Probation Office.
Half of the $500 fine is suspended, pending good behavior on probation, and the remaining $250 is to be paid within 60 days.
Judge Patea warned Tavui that if her probation is revoked, she is looking at sitting in jail for 6 months.
The court affidavit for the most recent case notes that on Christmas Eve 2018 in Fagaitua, an intoxicated Tavui tried to pick a fight with her husband and when police arrived, she told them she was only trying to help him up, as he is sick and can't walk.
She asked police if she could go back in the house to speak to her husband and when cops told her to go with them to the station, Tavui became aggressive and started resisting.
En route to the station, Tavui allegedly started yelling profanities at one of the cops and threatened to kill him when she gets out of jail. She also allegedly tried to bribe officers with money, food, and cigarettes if they let her go.