Courts hear everything from breaking and entering and PPDs to attempted rape and drug charges
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man was arrested by police last month after he allegedly entered a family home at night without permission.
Kalap Akeli made his initial appearance in court last month.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), a felony, along with one count of trespassing and one count of 3rd degree property damage, both class A misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $5,000.
The government’s attorney informed the court that they would be filing additional charges next week after police completed their investigation.
Akeli is scheduled to appear in court next week for a Status Hearing.
According to the government’s case, a woman contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for assistance after she found a young man inside her house uninvited. Police quickly responded to the call and observed a young man sitting outside of the house while two adult men were standing beside him.
The woman who reported the case told police that when she heard a loud noise from the back of the house she went to check. She was shocked when she saw a young man standing inside the kitchen. The woman called out to her boyfriend and nephew who immediately responded and stopped the man from fleeing.
The man found inside the house was later identified as the defendant in this case.
Akeli was apprehended at the scene and transported to the TPS for questioning.
When asked by police about the allegation that he entered the family’s home uninvited, Akeli said that his girlfriend told him to come to her house to spend the night with her, however, he was shocked when he found out that he was in the wrong house.
Akeli was heavily intoxicated when police arrested him. During his apprehension, officers found a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance inside his pant’s rear pocket. The white crystalline substance later tested positive for meth.
Akeli told police he doesn’t remember where he got the illegal substance from because he was heavily intoxicated.
A young man with two outstanding bench warrants from the High Court was arrested for allegedly trying to break into a vehicle at the LBJ parking lot last month.
Albert Lologa made his initial appearance in District Court last month where the court ordered him to be released on his own recognizance under certain conditions, including making all of his court appearances and being in close contact with his attorney.
Lologa is being charged with attempted stealing and public peace disturbance, both class A misdemeanors.
According to the government’s case, an eyewitness contacted police from the LBJ parking lot Thursday afternoon, reporting that someone was trying to break into a parked vehicle.
Several police officers arrived and found Lologa near the scene. While processing him for booking, police officers discovered that the defendant had two outstanding warrants from the High Court for failure to comply with conditions of his cases from 2017 and 2018.
Before he made his initial appearance in District Court, Lologa appeared in High Court for an Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing, where the court ordered him to be released on his own recognizance to await his next court appearance, scheduled for next month.
Last week, District Court sentenced Frank Valaau to 10 days behind bars, after he was convicted of public peace disturbance (PPD) while on probation.
“This is how things work in this courtroom; once you violate a condition of your probation, we’re no longer talking about counseling, we’re talking about jail terms, and that’s what you get for disobeying the court's order," the court said during sentencing last week. “So, if you want to try the court again, go ahead because your next conviction will be higher than this one.”
Valaau was on probation for 12 months after he was convicted last year of PPD and 3rd degree assault, both misdemeanors. One of the many conditions of his probation included keeping the peace with his girlfriend and remaining a law-abiding citizen.
In April of this year, police re-arrested the defendant on another PPD charge for which he was convicted last week. On the same date, he was sentenced to 10 days incarceration as a condition of violating his 24-month probation.
Valaau will have to spend 5 weekends at the TCF to cover his 10-day detention period.
He was ordered to report to the TCF on Friday (Sept. 17) at 6 p.m. and be released on Sunday at 6 p.m. starting this weekend, until the weekend of Oct. 15-17, 2021.
The District Court sentenced Mati Molesi to 12 months probation last week after he pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of trespassing on land belonging to a neighboring family, and third degree assault, under a plea agreement with the government.
According to court information, Molesi’s family got into a dispute with a neighbor, resulting in the accused going to the neighbor’s property and assaulting a male.
Prior to being sentenced, Molesi apologized to the court for his actions. The court said Molesi’s actions could have resulted in a more serious outcome, affecting the defendant’s life, as well as causing trouble in the neighborhood.
Among the conditions of Molesi’s probation is that he pay a $155 fine within 90-days of being on probation, and he must maintain the peace with his neighbors, be a law abiding citizen, and attend and complete anger management counseling.
Five years ago in 2017, Molesi was convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and was sentenced by the court to 6 months probation.
The court reminded Molesi that he now has a criminal record in the court system and he must be very careful because he might end up committing a more serious offense in the future.
In a seemingly ‘comedy of errors’, an overstayer from Samoa who told the court last week that his wife has already filed papers with the Immigration Office to renew his immigration status has been remanded to custody without bail until his next hearing, set for next week.
Vince Sili appeared twice last week in District Court for a Status Hearing.
He is charged with one count of public peace disturbance (PPD) and third degree assault, both class A misdemeanors. He was arrested on Feb. 01, 2020 and made his initial appearance in court the following day.
But due to his illegal immigration status, the court ordered that he be remanded in custody without bail to await a follow up hearing on the morning of Feb. 02.
On that day, Sili failed to appear in court and his attorney informed the court that Sili did not answer the phone when he called to inform him of his hearing.
According to court, Sili was remanded to custody without bail because of his illegal immigration status. But the defense attorney explained that his client was released after his initial appearance.
A subsequent court hearing was then scheduled for the next day, but when Sili's name was called, he wasn't present in court. It wasn't until later, towards the end of the court's calendar that day, that Sili was escorted in by a Territorial Correctional Facility guard.
When the court asked Sili where he had been, the defendant said he had been in custody since he was arrested.
The court told the defendant that the name Sili was calling numerous times in court, while Sili was sitting inside a cell at TCF.
When the court asked the defendant about his immigration status, Sili said his sponsor is off island. It was also during this hearing that an immigration officer testified that according to their records, Sili is not married.
He further added that the Immigration Office had never received any petition from anybody in an effort to take over Sili's sponsorship from his current sponsor, Faamanatu Uti of Tafuna.
Sili is scheduled to appear in Court in the next three weeks for his Status Hearing.
The 28-year-old man who is accused of breaking into a house has pled guilty.
Tasi Lologa, who has been in custody since he was arrested last year, was originally charged with 1st degree burglary and resisting arrest; however, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the High Court last week, Lologa pled guilty to the amended charge of 2nd degree attempted burglary.
With his guilty plea, Lologa admits that on Oct 25, 2020, with the intent to steal, he entered his neighbor's home with a machete in hand.
As a condition of the signed agreement between the parties, the government is recommending a probation term of 5 years.
Sentencing for Lologa is scheduled for next month.
One of the 4 defendants in a Tafuna area drug bust waived his rights to a preliminary examination (PX) and he appeared in High Court for arraignment last week, where he entered a not guilty plea to one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine (meth).
Tavita Lama’s pretrial conference is set for Oct. 18, 2020 at 9a.m
He remains in custody, unable to post a cash bond of $5,000.
Lama was arrested along with three co-defendants, Army Tagaloa; Uelese Apelu and Satilo Fiso, after detectives from the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit executed a pair of search warrants two months ago.
The government alleges that police officers discovered a baggie containing a crystalline substance in Lama’s pocket during a body search.
Lama is alleged to have told police that the three of them were inside Tagaloa’s vehicle and they had gone to Iliili to deliver meth to another person earlier that day, and the person had bought $150 worth of meth from Tagaloa while they were there.
He allegedly also told police that he had seen a lot of money and meth inside Tagaloa’s black pouch while he was in Tagaloa’s vehicle.
According to the government, Lama claims that the baggie that was found in his pocket was given to him by Tagaloa free of charge. He said he helped Tagaloa sell meth for two months before they were caught, and Tagaloa would sell meth out of his home or deliver the product if people could not come to Tagaloa’s house.
A 38-year-old man who was accused of inappropriately touching a woman has pled guilty.
Roma Levi was initially charged with attempted rape and 1st degree sexual abuse, both class C felonies, punishable by a jail term of not more than 7 years, a fine of $5,000, or both.
Under a plea agreement with the government, Levi pled guilty to the amended charge of attempted sexual abuse in the 2nd degree, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.
With his guilty plea, Levi admits that on Dec. 17, 2020 he inappropriately touched a woman, without her consent, to arouse and gratify his sexual desires.
After accepting the plea agreement on Monday, the court asked both attorneys how they want to deal with sentencing, as the defendant has been in jail for almost a year now.
Both sides said Levi’s sentence should be announced next week and the defendant was released on his own recognizance awaiting sentencing next week.