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Court shows mercy to a ’desperate’ mother who turned to drugs

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A woman convicted of unlawful possession of methamphetamine has been ordered to serve 20 months at the TCF and pay a $1,000 fine as conditions of her 5-year probation. Kalameli Faimasasa, who has been released on a $5,000 surety bond, appeared in court last week for sentencing.

She was initially charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony. But under a plea agreement, she pled guilty to a lesser amended 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.

When given the chance to speak, Faimasasa apologized and begged for another chance so she can be with her kids and fulfill her motherly duties. She then shared her story and explained why she ended up on the wrong side of the law. According to her, she was in a relationship that resulted in 2 kids; and she was unemployed when her relationship ended.

“During that hard time of my life, I was unable to survive because I didn’t have money to feed my children,” she said, adding that she “suffered” and because she was”desperate”, she committed a crime. “This is not an excuse for my actions and I want to apologize to the court,” she continued.

She apologized to the cops she disrespected when they came out to arrest her, and apologized to her mom and siblings for bringing shame to their family. She told the court she can't change the past but she can redeem herself for the future. "I am really sorry for what I did and I am truly remorseful. I spent over 10 months at the TCF and I have repented…”

According to Faimasasa, her 4-year-old is in ECE and her one-year-old doesn’t recognize her because she’s been away from home for almost a year. She promised the court that if she is given a second chance, she’ll do her best to prove that she’s a changed person.

Attorneys from both sides asked the court to adopt the recommendation by Probation; and that is, to place the defendant on probation and give her the chance to redeem herself.

Faimasasa was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Execution of sentence is suspended and she is placed on probation for 5 years with several conditions. She has to serve 20 months at the TCF without release. She will be credited for time she served, which is 10 months. The remaining period of detention is stayed until further order of the court.

Faimasasa is also to pay a  $1,000 fine, remain alcohol and drug free, and visit Probation once a month. “If you ever at anytime try to violate any conditions of your probation, think first about the term of imprisonment of 10 years,” the court warned her.