43.1528 Real property of Samoans not subject to execution-Exception.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 43.1528]

(a) No real property of a Samoan may be subject to sale under a writ of a court to satisfy any judgment other than a judgment foreclosing a valid mortgage, but the court may appoint a receiver to gather produce lying and being upon the property belonging to a Samoan debtor. Such receiver shall convert the same into cash for the purpose of satisfying any judgment.

(b) The remuneration to be paid to the receiver for his service shall be fixed by the court.

(c) For the purposes of this section “Samoan” includes American Samoans of at least one-half Samoan blood and persons born on other islands in the Pacific Ocean who are of at least one-half Polynesian, Melanesian or Micronesian blood and who reside in American Samoa.

History: 1962, PL 7-32; 1968 PL 10-66; readopted 1980, PL 16-88 § 1; 1982, PL 17-31, § 1.

Reviser’s Comment: The law dealing with alienation of land contained in the ASCA as recodified by the legislative reference bureau had been questioned as to whether the requirements of Art. I, § 3 and Art. II, § 9, American Samoa Constitution, had been fulfilled. Since the records were not available to answer the question, the Legislature passed PL 16-88 and PL 17-31 to ensure that the law dealing with alienation of land complies with the Constitution.

Case Notes

No separation agreement to prevent the apartment from being the real property of a Samoan and therefore not subject to execution under this section. Fin’s, Inc. v. Shimasaki, ASR (1979).

Territorial statute prohibiting sale of real property of a Samoan to satisfy a judgment does not prohibit judgment creditor from recovering the cash proceeds resulting from a voluntary sale of property by the judgment debtor. A.S.C.A. § 43.1528(a). Te'o v. Continental Insurance Co., 6 A.S.R.2d 135 (1987).

Policy underlying statutory prohibition on sale of Samoan real property to satisfy judgment, unlike policy underlying statutory homestead exemptions in the United States, is to discourage alienation of land; a Samoan who has voluntarily alienated his land and converted it into cash has placed himself not only outside the language of the statutory protection but also beyond its rationale. A.S.C.A. § 43.1528(a). Te'o v. Continental Insurance Co., 6 A.S.R.2d 135 (1987).

Although real property of a Samoan may not be sold under a writ of court to satisfy a judgment, the proceeds from a voluntary sale of such property are not exempt from execution to satisfy a judgment. A.S.C.A. § 43.1528(a). Tedrow v. Manuma, 12 A.S.R.2d 51 (1989).

Purpose of territorial statute providing that real property of a Samoan may not be sold under a writ of court to satisfy a judgment is to protect land held by Samoans from being involuntarily alienated, and is not served by exempting from judgment the proceeds of voluntary sales. A.S.C.A. § 43.1528(a). Tedrow v. Manuma, 12 A.S.R.2d 51 (1989).

Analogy between territorial statute prohibiting forced sale of real property owned by a Samoan to satisfy a judgment and statutes in other jurisdictions exempting the proceeds of a homestead sale from execution of judgment is not entirely helpful; the purpose of the homestead exemption is to protect a rather small investment as a minimum means of survival for the debtor, whereas the Samoan land exemption applies to all land owned by a Samoan no matter how extensive the holdings, and once the land is voluntarily sold the policy against alienation is no longer served by protecting the proceeds. A.S.C.A. § 43.1528(a). Tedrow v. Manuma, 12 A.S.R.2d 51 (1989).