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June 2018

Bus driver gets 7 years for rape, his second sex offense in 3 years

American Samoa High Court building

Michael Sene convicted of raping a young girl inside his shack has been jailed for 7 years. He apologized to the court for his action, and begged for a second chance to go back home and care for his mother, who is staying at home alone. Before the court delivered its sentence, a Probation Revocation Hearing was held before Justice Patea, along with Associate Judges, Mamea Sala Jr and Tunupopo Alalaga, due to the fact that Sene had violated conditions of his probation from his first criminal conviction back in 2014, which was also a sex offense. “Having considered all the facts, we feel that you’re going to serve your two sentences concurrently, meaning, you’re now going to jail for 7 years, not 12 years. You will also appear before the Parole Board in the future for your hearing.” The defendant was also ordered to register as a sex offender, and undergo a mandatory HIV testing as require by law.

Two inmates who tested positive for meth appear before CJ Kruse

Chief Justice Michael Kruse

The two inmates, John Tuupo who is a Samoa citizen, and Wayne Gasolo who is a US National both appeared in District Court yesterday morning for a Disposition Hearing, for failure to comply with conditions of their probation, which includes staying away from alcohol and illegal drugs while on probation. In delivering the court decision, Kruse stated that the court would not revoke Gasolo’s probation, however, he was ordered to serve 60 days for failing to complied with court orders. His new sentences will run consecutive to his previous detention. He will be credited for the time he was detained after testing positive for using methamphetamine. For Tuupo, the court sentenced him to serve 90 days for failing to comply with conditions of his probation along with the court order. His new period of detention would run consecutively with his previous period of detention.

Am. Samoa man has federal probation revoked

Federal District Court  Building in Honolulu, Hawaii

A federal judge has revoked probation for an American Samoan man who was sentenced early last year for interfering with a Hawaiian Airlines crew during a flight about two years ago from Pago Pago to Honolulu. Aumoeualogo Agaaoa Togia was sentenced Jan. 5, 2017 to three years probation for the Class C felony charge of interfering with a flight crew, under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Togia appeared Tuesday this week in court for a hearing under a court summons based on the US Probation Office’s request. The hearing was to determine whether to revoke probation due to non-compliance with all conditions set by the court in 2017. During the hearing, Togia admitted to violating conditions of his probation which was then revoked, according to court documents.

Amata welcomes Trump’s action to keep families together

Congresswoman Amata speaking with President Trump, June 19, 2018

“I welcome President Trump’s decision to sign an executive order ending family separations when adults are held longer in asylum cases. He is doing the right thing,” said Aumua Amata. “In discussions with my colleagues, my guiding principle was that we should all focus on keeping the best interests of the child first, and I firmly believe we can continue to do that and still ensure the law is upheld.” According to Associated Press, the order does not end the “zero-tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes all adults caught crossing the border illegally. But, at least for the next few weeks, it would keep families together while they are in custody, expedite their cases and ask the Defense Department to help house them. It also doesn’t change anything yet for the some 2,300 children taken from their families since the policy was put into place.