More and more young people — in their late teens and 20s caught up in court cases
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man who is accused of being rude and disrespectful to his grandmother was ordered by the court to find another place to live while his matter is pending in court.
Police arrested Faalata Taase from his home last moth, and he made his initial appearance in District Court.
Taase is charged with public peace disturbance, a class B misdemeanor.
The court released him on his own recognizance, subject to certain conditions, including staying away from his home and his grandmother, and he has to find another place to stay while this matter is still pending.
“Do not go back to your grandmother or try to contact her. No phone call or any other form of communication. If you fail to comply with orders of the court, you will be rearrested and held in jail without bond,” the court told Taase.
Taase is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 22nd for his pretrial conference.
The government claims that on July 20th around 12 p.m, a woman called Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) and asked for police assistance after her grandson Taase was very rude and disrespectful towards her. The grandmother stated to police that while she was yelling at her grandson, he turned around and started to jeer her with profane words in Samoan.
As the grandmother was giving her verbal statement, officers noticed that she didn’t look well.
EMS was then contacted to check on her and when they arrived and took her blood pressure, they then notified officers that they needed to take her in because her blood pressure was very high. However, the woman refused to go to the hospital saying she was waiting for her granddaughter to bring her medicine.
At the time of the argument, the victim’s granddaughter witnessed how her brother was trying to assault their grandmother. The grandmother had used a piece of wood for self defense — to protect herself.
Taase was booked and taken to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) to be confined until the next sitting of the court. There was no alcohol involved.
The 26-year-old man, who was convicted of breaking into a house, was ordered by the court to serve a period of detention of 12 months, as a condition of his 5-year probation.
Roymond Talaleu who was released on bond, was originally charged with 1st degree burglary and resisting arrest; however, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court last week, he pled guilty to the amended charge of 2nd degree attempted burglary.
With his guilty plea, Talaleu admits that on Jan. 5, 2021, with the intent to steal, he entered his neighbor's home with a machete in hand.
Talaleu appeared in court last week for sentencing.
When given the chance to address the court, Talaleu apologized for what he did and asked the court for a second chance so that he can go back home and care for his family. He also told the court that he’s truly remorseful for what he did.
His attorney asked the court for a probated sentence, saying that his client is a first offender and has taken full responsibility for his actions. The prosecutor echoed the defense attorney’s submission, saying that the defendant is a young man who made a careless mistake.
In delivering its decision, the court stated that according to the Pre Sentence Report, Talaleu was convicted of 2nd degree attempted burglary. The court also stated that the defendant told the Probation Office that the reason he went to the house where he was caught was to get drugs from a man who lives at the house. However, the man was not at the house when Talaleu entered.
Talaleu was sentenced to a period of probation of 5 years, subject to several conditions from the court. He has to serve a period of detention of 20 months, however, he will be credited for time served, while awaiting his bond being posted last year, which was 4 months. The balance of detention will be stayed until further order of the court.
Upon release from prison, Talaleu was ordered to seek and retain gainful employment.
Police arrested a young woman and held her at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) for one night last month, for yelling at her mother during a verbal altercation between the two.
It was around 4:19 p.m on July 28, 2021 when the TPS received a distress phone call from a female reporting that her 19-year-old daughter, Catherine Ameperosa was yelling at her when she was asking about money that was missing from her car.
Several police officers responded to the call.
Upon arrival at the area in the Tafuna area, officers could hear a girl yelling and arguing with someone. Officers then met with the female who was the reporter/ victim in the matter. According to the statement given to police, the woman asked her daughter about some money that was missing from the car because she was the one who took off with the car.
Her daughter turned around and was yelling at her that she did not know where the money was. She (defendant) then got into a verbal altercation with her mother and the defendant was making unreasonable noises and would not calm down and that alarmed the neighbors.
Officers apprehended the defendant at the scene, but during the apprehension, the defendant kept on yelling at her mother.
Ameperosa made her initial appearance in court last month. She is charged with public peace disturbance, a class B misdemeanor. She was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Robert Morrison.
The court released Ameperosa on her own recognizance subject to certain conditions, including keeping the peace at her residence; remaining law abiding, and making all of her court appearances.
A 25-year-old man, who was convicted of stealing, was released from custody last week, after the Court determined that the 12 months he served in jail, to await sentencing, was enough.
Manu Talosaga, 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.
With his guilty plea, Talosaga admits that sometime during May of last year, he misappropriated property by stealing cement and lumber belonging to his neighbor.
During sentencing, Talosaga apologized to the government, the court, and people of American Samoa for his behavior 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 any stupid thing like this again. Please, I want to go home to my family,” Talosaga said.
His mother took the witness stand and asked the court for a light sentence for her son. The mother said that after the incident, they went with her husband to the victim’s home and apologized on behalf of her son’s actions. In December of last year, they went back to the victim’s home and gave them $500 for the items her son stole.
Talosaga’s mother’s account was confirmed by attorneys of both parties.
The defense attorney told the court that he received the copy of the receipts from the victim confirming that his client’s parents paid them $500 for the items he stole. However if the restitution is higher, Talosaga’s parents are prepared to pay whatever balance the order requires his client is to pay.
The defense attorney then asked the court to give Talosaga another chance. He said his client is only 25 years old, very immature, and he has advised him to think about his future. He noted his client is a suitable candidate for probation. The prosecutor echoed the statement.
The court said that while Talosaga is only 25, the pre-sentence report shows that he's had a prior run-in with the law.
The court said that at the time it seemed minor and the punishment that was ordered in those cases also 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.”
Talosaga was placed on probation for 5 years under certain conditions. He has to remain a law abiding at all times, visit the probation office once a month, and serve 14 months at the TCF.
Talosaga will be credited the time already served; the balance of 6 months will be stayed as long as he complies with all conditions of his probation. Talosaga was also ordered to pay a $500 fine within 6 months, restitution of $641 and secure gainful employment.
The second of the four defendants arrested after police executed two search warrants last January at two homes in Tafuna and Iliili has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Mike Alesana, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $5,000 cash bond, appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.
Alesana was originally charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth, a felony punishable by 5-10 years in jail, a fine of $5,000- $20,000, or both.
However, in a plea agreement with the government, Alesana pled guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of meth. Alesana admits that on June. 23, 2020 he had on him two glass pipes containing meth.
According to terms of the plea agreement, cops executed a search warrant on a silver pickup that was parked in front of a Tafuna store last January. Alesana and another male individual were inside the vehicle when police approached them.
During a body search, officers discovered two glass pipes containing meth in Alesana’s front left pocket. When asked about the glass pipes, Alesana said he got it from a friend, who lived in Vaitogi.
Sentencing is set for October 19.