Court addresses domestic abuse, drug and alcohol cases — will they never end
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The court has suspended a 6-month jail term for a man convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, and instead, placed him on probation for 6 months subject to several conditions.
Orepa Amani Jr, who was released on bond appeared in court this week for sentencing and an Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing for violating conditions of probation.
Amani Jr was sentenced to 6 months probation on Dec. 4, 2018, after being convicted of disturbing the private peace - it was a domestic dispute between him and his spouse. One of the conditions of probation required him to remain law abiding and maintain the peace within the family. Two months later, on Feb. 14, 2019, Amani Jr was arrested again, for the case in which he appeared in court this week for sentencing.
Defense attorney, Ryan Anderson asked the court to adopt the recommendation in the Pre Sentence Report (PSR) and sentence his client to probation without any period of incarceration.
He said his client is a hard working man, who provides for his family, and they are the ones who will be affected if Amani Jr goes to jail, because he’s the only one who works.
Prosecutor Doug Lowe echoed the defense submission and said Amani Jr is a suitable candidate for a probated sentence. He added that more counseling and evaluation will help Amani Jr with his anger and alcohol problems.
According to the court, the conviction stems from an incident whereby the defendant was arguing with his spouse in the presence of their children. After reviewing the PSR, the court feels that more counseling will help Amani Jr change his behavior and make him a useful person for his family.
Amani Jr will not have to serve a 6-month term at the TCF; instead, he’s placed on probation for 6 months subject to conditions that include paying a $200 fine, and completing anger management and alcohol counseling.
He is to serve 90 days in jail; however, he is credited the 10 days he served in pretrial confinement and the balance is stayed, as long as he complies with all conditions of probation.
A man accused of possessing a glass pipe containing meth when police pulled over a vehicle he was riding in last year has pled guilty to an amended count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine.
Solomona Malaki, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $10,000 bond, appeared in High Court this week for a Change of Plea hearing.
Malaki was initially charged with resisting arrest and unlawful possession of methamphetamine, both felonies. However, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Malaki pled guilty to the amended, lesser charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Malaki admits that on the night of Nov. 17, 2018 he had in his possession a glass pipe containing meth. He also admits that on the night in question, he ran from police because he knew he had illegal drugs. As part of the plea agreement, both parties agreed to recommend a probated sentence without any further period of detention.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 4, 2019
Malaki was a passenger of a truck that was pulled over for defective lights. While cops were speaking to the driver, Malaki, who was on the passenger side, opened his door and fled the scene. While he was running, cops saw Malaki trying to reach in his pocket to get rid of something.
Judge Elvis P. Patea says Kelemete Lemi needs to find a way to address his alcohol problem. During arguments regarding the defendant’s bail, Patea said it’s clear from court records that Lemi has been in and out of court since 2009 for cases stemming from alcohol use.
Lemi, 40, was taken into custody last Saturday afternoon after family members contacted police for help because Lemi was intoxicated, causing trouble, and swearing at neighbors and others.
He also assaulted a man who tried to calm him down by punching him in the face twice and then throwing an empty beer bottle at him. A neighbor told police that he got into an argument with Lemi, “who was drunk” and started swearing, according to court information, which also says Lemi called the neighbor “stupid”.
Lemi said he is not afraid of beating anyone up.
Enroute to the police station, cops detected a “strong odor” of alcohol emitting from Lemi’s breath and clothes. Lemi had to be helped into the police station because he could barely stand, let alone walk. During the booking process, Lemi responded with “a slurred speech” and sometimes struggled to answer questions. He was released on his own recognizance (OR) after he appeared in court this week for initial appearance.
Lemii is charged with third degree assault, public peace disturbance, and trespass - all misdemeanors. Pretrial conference is Nov. 22nd. One of the conditions of release require Lemi not to make any contact with the government’s witnesses, including the victim and his family.