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Lack of discovery, immigration office failures postpone PPD case for 4th time

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — No discovery and the failure of the Immigration Office to confirm the status of a man charged with public peace disturbance has resulted in the government's case against Sooane Taafua being continued to today, Feb. 15

Taafua appeared in District Court yesterday morning for a pretrial conference.

Judge Patea noted that Taafua's initial appearance was back in Dec. 31, 2018 and he has appeared in court four more times since.

When Judge Patea inquired about the defendant's immigration status, an immigration officer, who was in court, requested 'more time' to locate Taafua's file.

Judge Patea is giving them until the end of this week to provide a confirmed answer to the court.

Meanwhile, Taafua is remanded back to custody at the TCF.


A man who fired at a dog with a 22-rifle has been sentenced to 6 months probation and ordered to pay $100 within 30 days.

Douglas Utu pled guilty Tuesday to possession of an unlicensed firearm, a class A misdemeanor.

With his guilty plea, Utu admitted to the court that he used a firearm, belonging to someone else, to shoot a dog last year.

Judge Patea has ordered that the weapon in question be confiscated and destroyed in the presence of the court Marshall.


The plea agreement for a man charged with public peace disturbance and two counts of assault (class A and class C misdemeanors) was accepted by the court Tuesday morning.

Simona Tanielu pled guilty to public peace disturbance, a class B misdemeanor, and in return, the remaining charges against him were dismissed.

With his guilty plea, Tanieliu admits that in June 2018, he was involved in a verbal altercation with another person in Faleniu, and it was he who initiated physical contact, but it was in "self defense".

The 52-year-old was sentenced by Judge Elvis P. Patea to 6 months probation and he has to pay a fine of $100 within the next 30 days.


A man who told the court that he was "too drunk" and therefore can't recall exactly what resulted in him being charged with trespass, property damage, and public peace disturbance has been sentenced to 12 months probation and fined $100

Tofiga Ale appeared in District Court yesterday for a pretrial conference during which a plea agreement between him and the government was accepted by the court.

Ale pled guilty to trespass and the two remaining charges against him were dismissed.

He apologized for his actions and asked the court for forgiveness.

"It appears that alcohol is the root of all your problems here," said Judge Patea, who noted that Ale has had previous encounters with the system.

Prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell had argued for 24 months probation and alcohol counseling, saying Ale was involved in peace disturbance cases in the past, and for this case, he went over to the neighbors home, uninvited, at night.

According to information revealed in court, Ale had gone to another family's home at 1a.m and ended up on their doorstep, allegedly engaged in a confrontation with the victim's wife.

Part of the conditions of probation include Ale attending and successfully completing an alcohol counseling program.


Three bench warrants were issued earlier this week for a trio of defendants who failed to appear in court.

Judge Elvis Patea had ordered a bench warrant for Solotaiotumua "Solo" Matagia, Sam Patea Jr., and Sa Taala. Bond is set at $500 for each of them.

Judge Patea has forfeited the $300 bond for Matagia, and has recused himself from the case against Patea Jr., citing a conflict of interest, and noting that District Court Judge Pro Tem Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde will preside over future hearings for said defendant.