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Public Defenders office now left with only two attorneys

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Public Defender’s office is facing a shortage of attorneys, after two attorneys left the territory on the charter medical flight on Monday, leaving the office with only two attorneys.

The two former public defenders who left the island are Rob McNeil, whose contract had expired and Bob Stuart, who left the island for medical reasons.

The remaining two attorneys are Public Defender Michael White and Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson.

In High Court yesterday morning, two criminal cases scheduled before Associate Justice Fiti Sunia are now continued until Nov. 5th, due to the fact that both defendants were represented by McNeill.

Public Defender White appeared in court on behalf of the two defendants, who were supposed to have their change of plea hearings. However, Sunia continued both defendants’ hearings, to allow more time for Counsel White to discuss the case with his clients before the next hearing.

It’s unknown at this time what the next move is for the PD’s office, as borders are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.