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Court looks for help dealing with overstayers from Samoa Consulate office

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea is hoping that the Samoa Consulate office will work with the American Samoa Government in an effort to push forward the process involving travel documents for two Samoa overstayers who remain in custody at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).

Both Valentino Sam Chong and Keneti Filisi appeared in District Court last Friday for a Status Hearing.

When the two cases were called, Judge Patea wanted an update on the travel documents for both defendants.

Prosecutor Jason Mitchell informed the court that they are still working with family members of the two defendants, along with the Office of the Samoa Consulate, to finalize everything before the travel documents are released this week.

Patea said the longer it takes to process travel documents for the two defendants, the longer they will remain in custody.

Defense attorney Anna Whiles said both her clients have their return tickets to Samoa. According to Whiles, Filisi is scheduled to depart the territory Thursday this week, while Sam Chong is still waiting for his travel documents.

She told the court that she’s concerned because her client has been in custody since his initial appearance in late December 2018.

Patea said both sides have to work together to make sure these two men have their travel documents in hand soon.

As a condition of his 24-month probation, following a public peace disturbance conviction last month, Sam Chong is ordered to depart the territory immediately and not return at any time during his probation term.

According to the court, Chong entered the territory on a 14-day on June 30, 2016 and he’s been here since.

Filisi was convicted of third-degree assault, after he assaulted a bus driver in Malaeloa in March of this year. He too was ordered to depart the territory and not return for the duration of his 24-months probation. According to court records, Filisi’s Immigration ID expired in 2014.


A young man accused of private peace disturbance (PPD) and damaging his dad’s house entered into a plea agreement with the government last Friday in District Court.

Maiava, who has been released on his own recognizance, was initially charged with PPD and second degree property damage. But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Maiava pled guilty to the amended charge of third degree property damage.

Maiva admits that on June 18, 2018, he destroyed his dad’s property by breaking the windows of his house and also damaging the doors and walls.

When asked why he did what he did, Maiava said he was mad at his family.

Judge Elvis P. Patea sentenced Maiava to 6 months imprisonment and a $500 fine. The execution of sentence is suspended and Maiava is placed on probation for 6 months subject to several conditions.

“If you violate any condition of your probation, the court will revoke it and you will be ordered to serve the suspended imprisonment term of 6 months. So, change your ways and comply with all the court's orders,” Patea advised Maiava.