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1. Rules of Criminal Procedure
a. Generally
b. Jurisdiction
c. Prosecutorial Discretion
2. Criminal Complaints, Indictments and Bills of Information
a. Generally
b. Indictments
c. Amending Information
d. Sufficiency of Information
e. Arguments Inconsistent with Information
f. Bill of Particulars
g. Probable Cause Determination
h. Multiplicitous Charging
i. Pro Se Pleadings
3. Pleas
a. Generally
b. Court's Duties
c. Sufficient Factual Basis
d. Voluntarily Made
e. Interpretation of Plea Agreements
f. Breach of Plea Agreements
g. Withdrawal of Pleas
4. Parties & Procedure
a. Bifurcated Proceedings
b. Severance of Charges or Defendants
c. Joinder of Offenses
d. Joinder of Defendants
5. Pre-Trial Matters
a. Generally - click for more -
The Fifth Amendment protects civil detainees in the custody of the United States from conditions that amount to punishment. Immigration detainees are civil detainees and should receive the same level of due process protection as pre-trial criminal detainees.   - Bartolome v. JKL, Inc., CA No. 30-08, slip op. (Trial Div. Jun. 21, 2012) (order granting in part and denying in part def.’s mot. for summ. j.)

b. Initial Appearance
c. Continuances
d. Competence to Stand Trial
e. Motions to Suppress Evidence
f. Pre-Trial Conferences
g. Notice of Alibi
h. Defense Based on Mental Condition
i. Notice of Intent to Use Evidence
j. Release from Custody
k. Discovery Generally
l. Depositions
m. Disclosure of Information & Witnesses
n. Witness Identifications
o. Subpoena of Witnesses
p. Juveniles
q. Collateral Estoppel
r. Failure to Prosecute
s. Immunity from Prosecution
t. Change of Venue
6. Trial
a. Bifurcated Proceedings
b. Due Process of Law
c. Equal Protection
d. Double Jeopardy
e. Self Incrimination - click for more -
Sobriety tests are carefully scripted and not designed to, nor would likely be perceived as, requiring any response from a criminal defendant. A criminal defendant’s statements during such tests are therefore voluntary, non-testimonial, and admissible.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

Reviewed solely under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and considering the totality of circumstances, the stop, detention and brief, voluntary transport to a safe location to conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests would not violate a person’s U.S. Constitutional rights.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The 5th Amendment protects the accused’s right to not be compelled to testify against himself, or otherwise provide the state with evidence of a testimonial or communicative nature. An accused may be compelled, however, by the state to produce real or physical evidence. To be testimonial, the communication must, explicitly or implicitly, relate a factual assertion or disclose information.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

f. Right to a Speedy Trial
g. Trial by Jury
h. Right to a Public Trial
i. Opening and Closing Arguments
j. Motion for Judgment of Acquittal
k. Mistrial
l. Jury Instructions
m. Sufficiency of the Evidence
n. Record of Proceedings
7. Punishment and Sentencing
a. Cruel & Unusual Punishment
b. Constitutional Restrictions on Prisons
c. Deportation - click for more -
It is the Immigration Board’s responsibility to determine whether an alien is deportable. Such determinations are made at a hearing, wherein, the alien facing deportation is entitled to be present. A.S.C.A. § 41.0605. Consequently, ASG is obligated to provide the alien, whose immigration status is at issue at the deportation hearing, with reasonable notice of the hearing, including the time and place of the hearing. A.S.C.A. §§ 41.0205(7)(a), 41.0607(a)(1). A deportation proceeding is not required if the alien, “admits [to   - Bartolome v. JKL, Inc., CA No. 30-08, slip op. (Trial Div. Jun. 21, 2012) (order granting in part and denying in part def.’s mot. for summ. j.)

d. Probation
a. Generally
b. Terms of Probation
c. Conditions of Probation
e. Parole
f. Parole Revocation
g. Conditions upon Release
h. Work Release
i. General Provisions - click for more -
A sentenced defendant cannot tack a civil motion for a special writ concerning his imprisonment onto his criminal case; the defendant must file a civil action or seek redress with the Corrections Division.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Noa, CR No. 96-10, slip op. (Trial Div. July 10, 2012) (order dismissing motion)

8. Post-Verdict Motions
a. Motion for New Trial
b. Motion for Arrest of Judgment
c. Motion to Vacate Sentence
d. Motion to Correct or Reduce Sentence
e. Stays of Proceedings
f. Habeas Corpus & Conditions of Confinement
g. Miscellaneous Motions
9. Appeals
a. Generally
b. Power of Appellate Court
c. Time for Appeal
d. Appellate Jurisdiction
e. Good Faith
f. Right to Appeal
g. Appellate Standards of Review
10. Interrogation and Miranda
a. Generally
b. Custody - click for more -
Conceivably, upon a suspected drunk-driver’s police-escorted entry into the Central Police Station, but certainly upon entering a secure room therein, the suspected drunk-driver is in custody for all practical purposes. If there is no probable cause to support such a seizure (being in custody), Article I, § 5, of the Revised Constitution of American Samoa will operate to exclude any evidence after such a seizure, including Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that indeed indicated the suspected drunk-driver had driven under the influence.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The same protections against unconstitutional custodial interrogations of persons arrested for felonies applies to misdemeanor arrests as well.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

c. Interrogation
d. Waiver of Rights
e. Invoking Miranda Rights
f. Evidence Obtained in Violation of Miranda - click for more -
The roadside questioning and administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests at a routine traffic stop do not constitute “custodial interrogation” requiring Miranda warnings to be given. Although a stopped motorist’s “freedom of action” is curtailed and some pressure may be felt by the motorist to answer the officer’s questions, in most stops the motorist believes he will soon be back on his way. Moreover, a traffic stop is normally brief and conducted in public, rather than in a “police dominated” station-house custodial interrogation setting requiring Miranda warnings.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

11. Searches & Seizures
a. Generally - click for more -
A traffic stop, however brief, is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, but generally not an unreasonable seizure absent prohibited police conduct.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

Where officers saw a driver perform two instances of unsafe driving; and upon pulling the driver over, the driver told one officer he consumed two beers but changed his story to admitting consumption of four to six beers to the other officer; and moreover the driver’s physical state of having red, watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath, an inability to stand outside his vehicle without using the vehicle for support, and difficulty in pulling out his wallet to present identification—all of this indicates under a totality of the circumstances that the officers had probable cause to seize the driver.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

b. Privacy Expectations
c. Probable Cause for Search Warrant - click for more -
Where officers saw a driver perform two instances of unsafe driving; and upon pulling the driver over, the driver told one officer he consumed two beers but changed his story to admitting consumption of four to six beers to the other officer; and moreover the driver’s physical state of having red, watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath, an inability to stand outside his vehicle without using the vehicle for support, and difficulty in pulling out his wallet to present identification—all of this indicates under a totality of the circumstances that the officers had probable cause to seize the driver.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

d. Execution of Search Warrant
e. Knock and Announce Rule
f. Warrantless Searches
g. Terry Stops - click for more -
Where there is no testimony or evidence exhibiting a driver suspected of a Driving Under the Influence violation (“D.U.I.”) beyond the standard litany of “red eyes, slurred speech and odor of alcohol,” is unreasonable and will divest an officer of the probable cause necessary to arrest a person for a D.U.I. violation.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

Under the Territory’s “Implied Consent” statutes, (A.S.C.A. § 22.0601-.0612), motorists operating on the highway in this Territory are deemed to have consented to a chemical test of breath, blood, urine, or saliva if arrested for D.U.I. Prior to the standard breathalyzer test used for these purposes by the Department of Public Safety, the arrested driver is advised of the test, the possible administrative suspension of driving privileges in the Territory for refusing the test, and the availability of additional (blood) testing for the driver if the B.A.C. is performed. (The driver, having been previously placed under arrest would have, according to standard police practices, also been read Miranda warnings).   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

A suspected drunk-driver’s voluntary transport to conduct field sobriety tests at a safer location resulted in being directly transported to the Central Police Station, escorted inside, placed in a room and requested to perform physical acts, Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (S.F.S.T.s), the results of which would be used as evidence against him in any subsequent prosecution for D.U.I. At or reasonably near the traffic stop scene, a suspected drunk-driver’s public performance of S.F.S.T.s would not have required prior Miranda warnings. Even incriminating statements made by a suspected drunk-driver during the performance of such tests at the scene prior to arrest would have been generally admissible in court under case-law. Further, S.F.S.T.s could also have been conducted or re-conducted at a police station if the suspect had been validly arrested for D.U.I. at or reasonably near the traffic stop.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The practice of routinely transporting D.U.I. suspects to police stations for in-custody “field” sobriety testing, in the absence of probable cause for arrest or other compelling, reasonable circumstances, neither significantly increases officer or suspect safety levels, nor preserves an individual’s constitutional rights against unreasonable seizure by the government.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The statutes and case-law of this Territory (as well as other jurisdictions), contemplate that a driver stopped by police during a traffic stop will generally be briefly detained, issued a traffic citation or given a warning, and be allowed to resume the route to the driver’s destination. Any further detention of the driver must be, under a totality of the circumstances, reasonable, and that detention of no longer duration than necessary to promptly complete the officer’s investigation. Unlike other police-citizen encounters in non-traffic situations (where an individual might voluntarily consent to appear for police questioning at a station-house, be advised of his freedom to leave and Miranda rights, and then voluntarily waive those rights and make incriminating statements that would be admissible in court), separate and distinct considerations arise in traffic stop, detention, and D.U.I. arrest situations.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The reasonableness of seizures effectuated by a brief voluntary transport of a detained suspect in their vehicle to a safe public location to conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Tests , however, decreases in direct proportion to the proximity of the police station and the decreased reasonable expectation of the detained suspect of promptly resuming his trip. A progression of loss of access to his vehicle, keys, and drivers’ license, by a suspect, coupled with his removal from a public place into the bowels of a police station, all in the absence of probable cause for his arrest, triggers concerns under the Revised Constitution of American Samoa’s Article I, Sec. 5.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

If a motorist stopped by police officers is subjected to treatment that renders the motorist “in custody” for practical purposes, he is entitled to the full panoply of protections prescribed by Miranda.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The reasonableness of a traffic stop detention’s duration requires a “totality of circumstances” evaluation of the facts.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

A traffic stop, however brief, is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, but generally not an unreasonable seizure absent prohibited police conduct.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

From a constitutional law standpoint, the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (“S.F.T.S.s”) also further the protections afforded by the 4th Amendment. A motorist stopped for a traffic violation who exhibits some level of intoxication during his initial contact with the police, would, within the few minutes necessary to undergo testing and evaluation at the scene of the traffic stop, reasonably expect to continue on his trip, (with or without a ticket for the violation prompting the initial stop), if he successfully performs the S.F.T.S.s.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The District Court takes judicial notice of the history and development of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. These uniform, field-testing procedures were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) in response to high rates of vehicle crash fatalities related to impaired driving during the 1960s and 1970s. NHTSA had previously provided local police forces nation-wide with detection guides listing 20-24 examples of bad driving by a motorist predictive of driving under the influence. The follow-up S.F.S.T.s were researched and developed by NHTSA as police tools to use after a traffic stop was made to better assess whether probable cause existed to arrest a motorist for D.U.I. These tests performed by officers developing a reasonable suspicion that a stopped motorist is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs generally include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmous Test (HGN), the 9-step Walk and Turn Test (WAT), and the One Leg Stand Test, (OLS). (The WAT and OLS tests are basically self-explanatory. The HGN test, on the other hand, relies upon studies of the effects of depressants, such as alcohol, upon a person’s central nervous system which naturally produce involuntary jerking of the eye’s iris when the effected person gazes to the side).   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

If a police-officer had seen a driver commit a moving violation and subsequently had articulable reasons to suspect that the driver was inebriated, a brief transport of the driver from the traffic stop scene to a safe, public location to conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, when warranted by the unsafe conditions prevailing at the scene, does not generally turn the detention of the driver into an arrest.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

The District Court has repeatedly ruled in bench decisions in D.U.I. cases that a brief detention of a motorist at a traffic stop while a trained and certified D.U.I. police officer is promptly brought to the stop scene does not on its face create an unreasonable seizure of the motorist. If the officer initiating the traffic stop has an articulable basis for initiating that stop, the initial stop is constitutionally valid.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

After a traffic stop based on an articulable basis, if the officer develops a reasonable suspicion that the driver had consumed alcohol or other drugs and might be intoxicated, a brief detention of the driver while a certified, trained D.U.I. police officer is promptly brought to the scene to take over the case development and evaluation of factors suggesting intoxication is also reasonable under the circumstances.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

Where officers saw a driver perform two instances of unsafe driving; and upon pulling the driver over, the driver told one officer he consumed two beers but changed his story to admitting consumption of four to six beers to the other officer; and moreover the driver’s physical state of having red, watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath, an inability to stand outside his vehicle without using the vehicle for support, and difficulty in pulling out his wallet to present identification—all of this indicates under a totality of the circumstances that the officers had probable cause to seize the driver.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

When officers under a totality of the circumstances had probable cause to seize a driver, the driver’s performance of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (non-testimonial evidence) in a police sub-station does not require a reading of Miranda rights as the results of those tests are non-testimonial evidence and admissible in court.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

h. Vehicle and Inventory Searches
i. Border and Custom Searches
j. Consensual Searches
k. Search Incident to Arrest
l. Plain View Doctrine
m. Open Fields Doctrine & Curtilage
n. Application of Exclusionary Rule - click for more -
A suspected drunk-driver’s voluntary transport to conduct field sobriety tests at a safer location resulted in being directly transported to the Central Police Station, escorted inside, placed in a room and requested to perform physical acts, Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (S.F.S.T.s), the results of which would be used as evidence against him in any subsequent prosecution for D.U.I. At or reasonably near the traffic stop scene, a suspected drunk-driver’s public performance of S.F.S.T.s would not have required prior Miranda warnings. Even incriminating statements made by a suspected drunk-driver during the performance of such tests at the scene prior to arrest would have been generally admissible in court under case-law. Further, S.F.S.T.s could also have been conducted or re-conducted at a police station if the suspect had been validly arrested for D.U.I. at or reasonably near the traffic stop.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The Revised Constitution of American Samoa, in Article I, Sec. 5, basically restates the language of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and then adds a closing sentence, “Evidence obtained in violation of this section shall not be admitted in any court.” The language is both broad and unconditional. It prohibits a court from admitting (ostensibly from any party), any evidence obtained from an unreasonable search or seizure.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

A traffic stop of a person, followed by a brief voluntary transport of that person in their vehicle to a safe public location to conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (“S.F.S.T.s”), under a totality of the circumstances, does not amount to an unreasonable seizure. If conducted in a reasonable time under the circumstances for the police officer to promptly determine whether that person should be released with a speeding citation or whether the results of the S.F.S.T.s indicated, with all other circumstances, that there was probable cause to arrest him for a Driving Under the Influence violation, a brief transport would not normally trigger exclusion of the S.F.S.T.s or subsequent Blood Alcohol Concentration results.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

The term “evidence” is not qualified or limited in Article I, § 5, of the Revised Constitution of American Samoa. Under this broad constitutional language, any evidence obtained from an unreasonable seizure may not be admitted in court. This language admits to no distinction between non-testimonial and testimonial evidence, nor even to voluntarily produced evidence, such as breathalyzer B.A.C. tests, if the earlier seizure of the suspect which caused this evidence to be generated was unreasonable. Notwithstanding the U.S. Supreme Court’s holdings as to types or categories of evidence which are or are not admissible at trial under the judicially created Exclusionary Rule, Article I, § 5, of the Revised Constitution of American Samoa establishes a broad constitutional guarantee that evidence, (ostensibly, all evidence), obtained from an unreasonable search or seizure is not admissible in the courts of this Territory.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Miscoi, UTC Nos. 286246 & 286247, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 4, 2012)

If a police-officer had seen a driver commit a moving violation and subsequently had some reasons to suspect that the driver was inebriated, transportation of the driver to a police substation, where the police officer escorted the driver inside the substation and conducted the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests therein, such practices effectively result in the driver being placed in police custody, and in the absence of probable cause for the officer to arrest, this seizure is no longer reasonable. Evidence obtained thereafter becomes inadmissible in court.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

When officers under a totality of the circumstances had probable cause to seize a driver, the driver’s performance of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (non-testimonial evidence) in a police sub-station does not require a reading of Miranda rights as the results of those tests are non-testimonial evidence and admissible in court.   - Am. Samoa Gov’t v. McDonald, UTC No. 298980, slip op. (Dist. Ct. Mar. 26, 2012).

o. Arrests
p. Detention of Foreign Nationals
12. Counsel
a. General Provisions
b. Right to Counsel
c. Effective Assistance of Counsel
d. Prosecutorial Misconduct
13. Extradition
a. General Provisions
b. Extradition Proceedings
c. of Witneses
d. Evidence