12 Apr 2011

Call for review of American Samoa criminal justice laws

1:56 pm on 12 April 2011

A former prosecutor in America Samoa, who has left the Attorney General's Office before the end of his two-year contract, has called for a review of criminal justice laws.

James Zarones is one of four attorneys who decided to go from the AG's Office in the span of three weeks.

Mr Zarones is disillusioned with the ability of his office to follow through on cases, saying the language of some statutes makes it difficult to prosecute:

"I've had cases where people beat their wives and beat their children really badly and they don't go to jail, but if you get caught with a joint of marijuana on this island you do five years in prison, how does that make any sense?"

Mr Zarones says the territory needs to look at its criminal statues very seriously because people who commit violent crimes are being allowed to continue to offend.