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With arson case resolved, former cop appears for Order to Show Cause

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Former cop, Steven Tuato’o is scheduled to appear in High Court on Aug. 17, 2022 at 9am for Disposition Hearing after he admitted to violating conditions of his 2020 probation after testing positive for illegal drugs.

Tuatoo, 49, who was sentenced by Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea last week to 7 years probation after being convicted of burning down his own house appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse last Friday for an Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing. Assisting the CJ on the bench were Associate Judges Faamausili Pomele and Muasau T. Tofili.

Tuatoo was represented by former public defender Michael White while prosecuting the case was Angela Grummond.


Shortly after a monthly visit to probation, the Probation office filed for an OSC for Tuatoo after he tested positive for drugs. The matter was set for a preliminary examination (PX) where Tuatoo contested the test and the matter was then set for a Revocation hearing.

Later, Tuatoo was prosecuted for a new matter in District Court where he was charged by the government with arson and the assistant public defender at the time, jointly with the government, asked the court to continue the Revocation hearing pending the new case.

The court accepted the joint motion and Tuatoo’s hearing was continued until the arson charge was resolved.

During the Revocation hearing, defense attorney White told the court that his client stipulated to the drug violation.

When questioned by the court, Tuatoo admitted that he failed his drug test during one of his monthly visits to probation.

Disposition of the hearing is scheduled for Aug. 17 and Tuatoo was remanded back to the custody of the government awaiting his next court appearance.


Last week, Tuatoo was sentenced by Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea to 7 years probation after he was found guilty of arson.

Tuatoo was initially charged with 1st- degree arson, the same charge he pled guilty to under a plea agreement with the government, a class C felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to seven years, and a fine of up to $5,000.

By his guilty plea, Tuatoo admitted that on the morning of July 27, 2021, he burned down his house in Alofau causing concern to neighboring families for their safety and the safety of their homes.

He was sentenced to probation with a period of detention of 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) and he was credited for time spent in detention since his arrest on Sept. 22, 2021.

Previous to this, in 2020, Tuatoo had been sentenced to a period of probation of 5 year after the court found him guilty of violating local drug laws.

One of the conditions of his probation was that Tuatoo was ordered to serve a period of detention of 20 months at the TCF, remain drug and alcohol free, and submit to random drug tests.

This is the case that precipitated the Order to Show Cause after he tested positive to a drug test during a monthly probation visit.