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Court decides not to revoke probation for man testing positive for pot

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested for violating conditions of his 5 years probation after testing positive for for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in the controlled substance marijuana was released from custody last week after the court decided not to revoke his probation but to modify it.

Tavita Lupe appeared in court last week for his Disposition Hearing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Kristine Soule.

When given a chance to address the court, Lupe apologized for his action and told the court that he wanted to return home to care for his wife and three young children. He stated that he made a terrible mistake that affected not only his young family but also cost him his job.

He promised the court that if he’s given another chance to return back home, the first thing he will do is to secure gainful employment to provide food and everything for his family. He told the court that the two months he spent in custody taught him a lesson that violating court orders is not a joke.

Defense attorney, Anderson asked the court not to revoke his client’s probation but to give him another chance so that he continues on probation. Anderson said that his client did good on probation for the first 18 months after he was sentenced, however, things changed when he started hanging out with the wrong friends. As a result, he tested positive for marijuana during his monthly visit in December of last year.

Prosecutor Soule echoed the defense’s submission and asked the court not to revoke the defendant’s probation but to give him another chance to prove himself to the court.

After reviewing submissions by attorneys and the defendant’s statement, the court accepted the recommendation and decided not to revoke probation but to give Lupe one more chance to prove himself.

The court ordered that the defendant serve two months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) for violating conditions of his probation. The court will not revoke his probation but will add special conditions, including that the defendant shall neither consume alcohol nor possess any illegal drugs. He shall submit himself for random testing demanded by the Probation Office or another police officers.

Lupe was released from TCF last week and he’s now ordered to secure gainful employment.