Motion denied in case after attorney asks for client to be housed at LBJ
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The court has denied a motion by the defense attorney of James Fatu earlier this month to reduce Fatu’s bond from $2,000 to $500, and allow him to be housed at the LBJ Medical Center due to his heart condition.
Fatu is one of the two men arrested from the Tafuna area last month during a public peace disturbance and he was later charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth). He appeared in court last week for his preliminary examination.
When Fatu’s case was called, his defense attorney immediately argued a motion for bail reduction — from $2,000 to $500. According to the defense, his client suffers from a heart problem, and he needs to be at the LBJ Hospital for treatment. The attorney argued that the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) is not the right place for his client, because he is a patient, and a patient needs to be held at the local hospital.
Furthermore, the defense attorney said the client is not a flight risk, because he is planning to stay in American Samoa with his two sons and daughter-in-law.
The government attorney strongly opposed the defense’s motion and argued that the government believes he is a flight risk.
Before the court denied the defense’s motion, the court pointed out that one of the common crimes in the territory right now is unlawful possession of meth. The court said that this year alone, the court has signed numerous warrants to arrest people for unlawful possession of meth and meth instruments.
“This charge is a felony, which carries a mandatory imprisonment term of not less than 5 years. Whether a small quantity of drugs was found or a large amount was found, the mandatory imprisonment is still the same,” the court said. The court then denied the motion to reduce bail.
The defense attorney then asked the court to continue the client’s PX until the following week, in order to discuss with him some issues before the hearing.
The court granted that defense motion and re-scheduled Fatu’s PX.
When Fatu was at the Tafuna Police Substation after his arrest at the stadium, police saw another male sitting next to him, trying to get something from inside Fatu’s pockets.
He was later identified as Fatu’s son.
At the same time, a cop saw small pieces of broken glass near ’Fatu’s feet and underneath his feet was a small clear baggie containing a white substance. Fatu’s son told police that his father has a heart problem. According to the son, Fatu recently arrived in the territory and he has a habit of smoking meth when he is off island.