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Court Report



Chief Justice Michael Kruse’s court room is where Tala Maluseu is fighting the criminal charges filed against him in a jury trial, with jury selection begun yesterday morning. Maluseu is charged on allegations that he strangled, shook and abandoned his one year old daughter on several occasions.  


He’s facing first degree assault, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Maluseu has denied the charges against him and bail has been set at $50,000.


When the defendant was first charged, Assistant Public Defender Mike White said his client vehemently denied the allegations against him. Prosecuting this matter is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.


According to the government’s case, police and social services responded to a call  regarding possible child abandonment. It's alleged when police and Child Protect Service workers were let into the house where the child was left unattended by her parents, police observed an infant  alone on the floor, with a plastic bag around her neck, and another in her hand.


The landlord who contacted CPS workers told police the baby was left beginning about  10a.m. and her parents had only come back to the house shortly to check in on her. The landlord proceeded to say the parents then had left the house again, leaving the baby unattended and this prompted him to contact Social Services for help, because the baby had been home alone for awhile and was crying loudly, causing great concern to the landlord. The first witness is scheduled to testify in court today.




John Ioane, who entered a guilty plea to one count of stealing was sentenced to 20 months in jail as part of his five years probation. Sentencing was handed down by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied by Associate Judges Mamea Sala Jr and Musau Tasina Tofili.


The defendant was charged with felony stealing, to which he pled guilty.  The defendant apologized for his actions and pleaded with the court for a second chance to return home to care for his family. The defendant was sentenced to five years, however execution of sentence was suspended and he’s placed on probation for five years under the condition that he serves 20 months in jail.


According to the government’s case Ioane broke into a bush store and stole cash, and he admitted this before the court. "I went in the store. I took some money. I left." The defendant was represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Julie Pasquale. The incident is alleged to have occurred in the Tafuna area.




Aukusitino Fanene of Pago Pago, charged in connection with an alleged assault that occurred at his residence last year, has entered into a plea agreement. Initially, Fanene was to fight his case with a jury trial, however the court was informed the defendant will settle with a plea offer by the government.


Fanene was charged with second degree assault and private peace disturbance; however the plea agreement has it that the defendant pleads guilty to third degree assault, amended from second degree. Third degree assault is a misdemeanor, a lesser charge than the initial count.


The matter was heard before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judges, Mamea Sala Jr. and Muasau Tasina Tofili who accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing on August 29, 2013. According to the government’s case, it was reported to the police that an assault incident occurred on Nov. 17, 2012 in Pago Pago. 


A witness told police he observed the defendant strike the victim eight times with a folding chair on the head and body. The alleged assault resulted in the victim suffering swelling and bruises to his head and left arm. The police took into evidence the steel folding chair that was used in the alleged incident.




The government is prosecuting two brothers, who are each charged with child molesting, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree, endangering the welfare of a child and furnishing pornographic materials to a minor. Samoa News is withholding the names of the defendants to protect the identity of the young victim in this case.


The matter of both brothers was before the court last week for pre-trial conference, however it was moved to family court.


According to the government’s case, on Dec. 29, 2012 it was reported to the Leone Substation that a six-year-old boy was allegedly drugged and sexually abused by two brothers. The government claims the victim’s mother informed police of her allegations after  she approached the defendants and confronted them, who in return swore at her.


Court filings say police met with the older brother, who denied any sexual act towards the boy, and said he was watching movies with the boy on his laptop. 


Police also spoke to the young boy who said the brothers made him smoke and they both pulled down their pants and made him (the boy) perform oral sex, according to court documents.


According to the government’s case, the mother said her son has some developmental disabilities and the victim was interviewed by a UCEDD (University Center of Excellence on the Developmental Disability) specialist (who holds a Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology) where the boy told the UCEDD specialist that the defendants tied his hands with a rope and pulled down his pants and then they showed him their private parts and asked him to perform oral sex, which he did.