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Family fight lands man at TCF for probation violation

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who attempted to pick a fight with his 58-year-old stepfather and then assaulted his brother-in-law has been ordered to serve 45 days in jail for violating conditions of his probation. He was also placed on probation for 24 months after he pled guilty to private peace disturbance (PPD) and third degree assault.

Taumalua Filisi appeared in court last week for a pretrial conference, where his attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson revealed that both sides had reached an agreement and his client wished to plead guilty to the charges against him.

Filisi was initially facing charges in two separate cases.

For the first case, he was charged with PPD. In a separate case, he was charged with third degree assault and PPD.

Filisi pled guilty to PPD in the first case, and third degree assault in the other. The remaining charges were dismissed.

He admits that on Oct. 22, 2020, while he was drunk, he engaged in a fist fight with his brother-in-law, during which he punched him in the face multiple times.

He also admits that on the same date and time while he was drunk, he disturbed the peace at home by engaging in a verbal argument with his stepfather and challenging him to a fight.

With his pleas of guilt in both cases, Filisi admits that he violated conditions of his 24-month probation by consuming alcohol and disturbing the peace.

(Filisi was placed on probation for 24 months last year following a third degree assault conviction. In Mar. 09, 2019, a few months after he was placed on probation, Filisi was in court again, charged with PPD, but he was later released after he posted a $500 cash bond, under the condition that he maintain the peace within his family.)

When given the chance to speak, Filisi, apologized for his actions and asked for another chance to return home. He said being in prison is not good for him, because he misses his parents and his family. But he didn't apologize to his uncle and brother-in-law, the victims in the two cases.

Anderson asked the court to adopt the government’s recommendation in their agreement, to give Filisi a probated sentence instead of revoking his probation.

The prosecutor asked the court to sentence Filisi to jail time because not only did he violate conditions of his probation, he also poses a threat to his own family, evident in his engaging in a fight with his brother-in-law (his sister’s husband).

“You are living a dangerous life sir. You need to change your behavior before it’s too late. Your probation is revoked and you’re ordered to serve 45 days at the TCF in Tafuna,” the court told the defendant.

Filisi was ordered to serve 15 days for PPD, and 120 days for third degree assault. But the court suspended the execution of the prison sentences and placed Filisi on probation for 24 months under the following conditions: He has to keep the peace at home at all times; he must stay alcohol and drug free; he has to attend and complete anger management and alcohol counseling; and he has to pay a fine of $100.

“If you’re back in court again, you will be ordered to serve your suspended imprisonment terms,” the court told the defendant. “Do something good in life and don’t appear before the court again.”