High Court needs more information from TCF in Kelemete and Isaia cases
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chief Justice Michael Kruse has issued subpoenas for the TCF Warden and the Watch Commander who was on duty on Feb. 17, 2021, to appear in court on Apr. 23 to provide more information regarding the issue where an inmate tested positive for methamphetamine (meth) while another inmate refused to take the test.
The two inmates were Sonny Mu Kelemete and Sierra Isaia, who appeared in High Court this week for preliminary examinations. Both inmates were represent by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Kristine Soule.
In the case where an inmate tested positive for meth, the court stated that “the big wall” is not keeping out drugs.
(Samoa News should point out that this is not the first time inmates have tested positive for meth during tests conducted by the Probation Office.)
The Chief Probation Officer, Malcolm Polu was called to the witness stand to testify on the allegations against Isaia and Kelemete.
Polu told the court that it was part of his duty to enforce probation conditions for inmates and probationers to make sure they’re in compliance.
When asked about the two inmates’ cases, Polu said both inmates are serving sentences of imprisonment after being convicted for unlawful possession of drugs. As a condition of each inmates’ probation, the court ordered that they shall refrain from consuming alcohol or possess any drugs. Furthermore, they must submit themselves for random testing upon demand of a probation officer or a police officer.
On Feb. 17, 2021, Polu, along with another probation officer went to the TCF to conduct drug tests to certain inmates. Isaia and Kelemete were among those inmates who were required to perform the test.
Polu said their request was made to the TCF Watch Commander that day and provided him with the list of inmates that needed to be tested. The Watch Commander instructed two of his Correctional Guards to bring the inmates whose names were on the list.
Polu said all inmates answered the request to come for a drug test except Kelemete who refused to come. Kelemete was summoned twice to come for the test but continued to refuse.
In cross examination, defense attorney Anderson asked Polu if he ever spoke directly to his client about the drug test. Polu said no, the request was given to the Watch Commander, who then instructed his two guards to ask Kelemete to come for the test.
Chief Justice Michael Kruse wanted to know the name of the Watch Commander. According to Polu, his name is Captain Aokuso.
Kruse asked Polu if he can identify the two guards who went to inform the inmates about the random drug test. Polu said no because all communication between the Watch Commander and the two guards were made through radio. The Watch Commander radioed his two guards to bring the inmates to the front office.
That’s when Kruse said that the court would subpoena the Warden and the Watch Commander to appear in court on Apr 23, the date scheduled for Kelemete’s Revocation Hearing.
As for Isaia’s case, two probation officers administered a random urinalysis test and the test result was positive for meth. After he was informed about the outcome of his test, Isaia congratulated the probation officers for their hard work before he returned to his cell.
Isaia’s Revocation Hearing is also scheduled for Apr. 23 at 9 a.m.
Associate Judge Muasau assisted Kruse on the bench.
Kelemete is serving a sentence of 40 months as a condition of his ten years probation after being convicted of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. His conviction stems from an incident where cops found drugs and a firearm in his vehicle during a traffic stop for a traffic violation.
Isaia, 42 is serving 80 months at TCF after being convicted of two counts of unlawful possession of meth. On August 2017, cops found a glass pipe containing meth in Isaia’s possession. Four months later after being released from custody for his first case, Isaia was arrested again in December 2017 after cops found a glass pipe containing meth in his possession.
In May of last year, Isaia appeared in court for a probation violation hearing. The government alleged that Isaia refused to submit himself for a drug test after two Probation officers visited TCF to conduct drug testing for several inmates including Isaia.
Isaia’s Revocation Hearing from last year is still pending in court.