12 Feb 2004

American Samoa senate chamber to hold contempt hearing

10:00 am on 12 February 2004

American Samoa senators will act as judge and jury today in the contempt hearing for Public Safety Commissioner Tuiteleleapaga Peseta Fue and prison warden Mika Kelemete.

Their alleged crime is not honouring a Senate Select Investigatuve Committee subpeona to appear last week.

This will be the first time in the territory's history that the legislature will engage in contempt proceedings, a responsibility which has heretofore rested with the Judiciary.

Senate rules provide that if a contempt issue arises and the senate is in session, the upper chamber is to review an application for Contempt, which is a class D felony and carries a jail term and/or fine.

Tuiteleleapaga and Kelemete were called to testify at a hearing into an incident in which an inmate was killed by another prisoner two weeks ago.