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District Court sentences two for misdemeanors

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Last week, District Court sentenced Finau 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.

“So, if you want to try the court again, go ahead because your next conviction will be higher than this one,” the court told Valaau during sentencing last week.

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 (Nov. 28) at 6 p.m. and be released on Sunday at 6 p.m. starting this weekend, until the last weekend of Dec. 25- 27, 2020.

The court strongly advised Valaau that if he fail to comply with conditions of his probation again, there will be no more weekends at TCF, but he would be ordered to serve the suspended period of his detention, which is 12 months.


The District Court sentenced Nafatali Mareko 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, Mareko’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, Mareko apologized to the court for his actions. The court said Mareko’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 Mareko’s probation is that he pay a $135 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.

The court reminded Mareko 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.