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Man released after time served waiting for trial

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was convicted of stealing was released from custody, after the High Court determined that the 12 months he served at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), to await sentencing, was enough punishment.

Allen Faumuina, under a plea agreement with the government, pled guilty to the amended charge of stealing, a class C felony, punishable by not more than 7 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of not more than $5,000.

During sentencing, Faumuina apologized and asked for forgiveness. “I didn’t mean to break the law; unfortunately, I made a mistake and I can't take back what happened. This is coming from a man who is truly remorseful. I promise I will never do anything stupid like this again. Please, I want to go home to my family,” said Faumuina, whose father and grandmother, both present in court, were in tears.

Deputy Public Defender Rob McNeill asked the court to give Faumuina another chance, saying he’s only 24 years old and very immature. Both McNeill and prosecutor Laura Garvey agreed to a probated sentence.

The court noted that Faumuina, while young, has had a prior run-in with the law. “At the time it seemed minor… now you’re in the big league, so the offenses are no longer considered minor, and the punishment will no longer be minor, and you ought to keep that in mind as you go forward,” the court warned.

Faumuina was sentenced to 5 years probation under certain conditions. He must remain law abiding and serve 20 months at the TCF. He is credited the 12 months he spent in pretrial confinement and the balance (8 months) is stayed as long as he complies with all conditions of probation. Faumuina is ordered to pay a $500 fine within 6 months, and find a job.