COURT REPORT: One man ordered to service out suspended sentence, another released from custody
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A father of five who violated conditions of his 5-year probation handed down last year, has been ordered to serve out his suspended sentence — which is 12 months.
Oliva Fuimaono tested positive for methamphetamine when he visited the Probation Office in February of this year, and was then remanded back into custody to await the outcome of this matter.
Fuimaono appeared in court last week for a disposition hearing where he apologized and begged for another chance so he can return home and start a new life. He told the court that he has alcohol and anger problems that need to be addressed.
He also blames the problems that affected his marriage, as reasons why he acts out. He promised to be a good person if given another chance, and he’ll look for a job to take care of his 5 young children.
Fuimaono’s defense attorney asked the court to modify Fuimaono’s probation, instead of revoking it. He said Fuimaono is truly remorseful and wants to go home to seek employment to provide for his wife and children.
The prosecutor, however, asked that Fuimaono be ordered to serve out his suspended sentence of 12 months, because this is the only way for him to learn a lesson. The court agreed.
Fuimaono appeared in court last month for a preliminary hearing on the allegation that he failed to comply with the probation condition requiring him to be law abiding. He was placed on probation 2 years ago, following a January 2017 conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine.
As a condition of his 5-year probation, Fuimaono was ordered to serve 20 months at the TCF, however, he was credited for the 8 months he served while awaiting the outcome of his matter. The balance of detention of 12 months was stayed until further order of the court.
A few months after sentencing, Fuimaono assaulted a man and as a result, was convicted in District Court of third degree assault. He also pled “no contest” to careless driving in another case, and was sentenced to 120 days at the TCF. In February of this year, he tested positive with methamphetamine.
A 25-year-old man, who was convicted of stealing, was released from custody last week, after the High Court determined that the 16 months he served at the TCF to await sentencing was enough.
Niue Faanatu, under a plea agreement with the government, pled guilty to the amended charge of stealing, a class C felony, punishable by not more than 7 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of not more than $5,000.
With his guilty plea, Faanatu admits that sometime during October of 2018, he misappropriated properties belonging to another person, by entering into a home in Ottovile and stealing several items with the value of over $100.
During sentencing, he apologized to the government, the court, and people of American Samoa and asked for forgiveness.
“I didn’t mean to break the law; unfortunately, I made a mistake and I can't take back what happened. This is coming from a man who is truly remorseful. I promise I will never do any stupid thing like this again. Please, I want to go home to my family,” Faanatu said.
Faanatu’s defense attorney asked the court to give his client another chance, saying his client is truly remorseful and takes full responsibility for his actions. The defendant’s attorney said that his client is a suitable candidate for probation.
The government’s attorney while echoing the defense’s attorney submission, added that the court must order the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $525 and noted that none of the stolen items were recovered, and the couple who own the house that was burglarized lost over $1,000 in cash because of the defendant’s action.
Aside from the value of the stolen items, there is also the money spent to fix the back door of their home along with windows that were damaged during the crime.
The court reminded the government’s attorney that the court would not order restitution unless the government provides proof of the value of items that were stolen.
Faanatu was placed on probation for 7 years under conditions that he remain law abiding, visit Probation once a month, and serve 28 months at the TCF.
“You will be credited the 16 months you have already served; the balance of 12 months will be stayed as long as you comply with all conditions of your probation,” the court told Faanatu, who is also ordered to pay a $500 fine within 4 months, and find a job.
Upon release from detention, Faanatu is ordered to immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its border for the remainder of his probation. The court, however, is staying this decision until further order of the court.