American Samoa Gov’t; Rees v.




High Court of American Samoa
Appellate Division

AP No. 24-79

November 28, 1980


In prosecution of driver for act of passenger government need not prove that driver knew part of passenger extended beyond interior of vehicle.

Before MIYAMOTO, Chief Justice, presiding, McNICHOLS*, Acting Associate Justice, NIELSEN**, Acting Associate Justice, POUTOA, Associate Judge, and SEVA'AETASI,Associate Judge.


This is an appeal from a finding by the trial court that Appellant was guilty of a violation of 22 ASC 1002.1. The sole issue on the appeal is whether the government must prove at the trial that the driver of a vehicle knows a passenger in or on his vehicle has his body extending beyond the interior portion of the vehicle. We hold that the statute in question defines a crime we term "malum prohibitum" and which was within the proper legislative ambit of the Fono [1ASR2d48]and that it is not necessary for the government to prove knowledge on the part of the driver in order to support a finding of guilty.


*Honorable Ray McNichols, United States District Court Judge, District of Idaho, sitting by designation of the secretary of the Department of the Interior.

**Honorable Leland C. Nielsen, United States District Court Judge, Southern District of California, sitting by designation of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior.