New Citizenship Filings Available

The American Samoa Bar Association has posted new filings in the federal case of Tuaua v. United States, concerning citizenship for American Samoans. The new filings include the U.S. Government's motion to dismiss, and Rep. Eni Faleomavaega's amicus brief in opposition to the plaintiffs. These filings and more information can be found on the Legal Issues page concerning citizenship - here.

American Samoa Bar Association Grants Annual Scholarship

The American Samoa Bar Association is proud to announce that Janelle Etelagi has been awarded the ASBA Legal Education Scholarship for 2011. Ms. Etelagi is a graduate from Tafuna High School. She received a BA in Political Science at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa with a minor in English, and an MS in Criminal Justice Administration at Chaminade University of Honolulu. She is currently in her first year at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai’i. We are very pleased to present Ms. Etelagi with a scholarship for $1,000.00 to help her in her studies, and we are excited to see her join the legal profession. Congratulations Janelle!

Every year the American Samoa Bar Association presents its Legal Education Scholarship to a law student who has graduated from an American Samoa high school or has personal ties to American Samoa. The scholarship is a key part of the Bar Association’s efforts to promote the legal profession in the territory, and to help home-grown students become licensed attorneys.

Update: Corrections made.

ASBA In The News

Governor Togiola T.A. Tulafono congratulated the ASBA for the recent gain of a seat in the American Bar Association House of Delegates. The Governor called it an “important recognition” of the ASBA. During the 2010 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the Governor gave a speech in support of American Samoa’s recognition in the House of Delegates.

For more, please visit

ASBA Welcomed To ABA By Guam Delegate

Guam’s delegate to the American Bar Association, Joaquin Arriola, welcomed American Samoa to the ABA in a letter to Governor Tulafono, Chief Justice Kruse, and ASBA President Sean Morrison. In the letter, Mr. Arriola states that he is “proud and pleased” to welcome American Samoa to the ABA. He said the proposal was passed by an “overwhelming voice vote.”

Mr. Arriola was a strong supporter of the proposal to add American Samoa to the ABA House of Delegates,and one of its leading speakers.

A full copy of the letter may be read here [pdf 91kb].

Conference On International Criminal Court

In February 2012, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Australian Human Rights Centre of the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales will host an international conference Justice for All? The International Criminal Court – A Conference: A Ten Year Review. The conference will mark the 10th Anniversary of the operation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and discuss the work and impact of the ICC during its first decade. The President and  Registrar of the ICC will be attending the conference.

For more information, please visit the University of New South Wales website.

ASBA In The News

The local news has been reporting on American Samoa’s recent admission to the ABA House of Delegates. ASBA President Sean Morrison spoke with Monica Miller of KHJ Radio.

Interview - KHJ Radio via

Story - KHJ Radio via

American Samoa Now In The ABA

The American Bar Association, at its annual meeting in Toronto, voted to approve an amendment to their constitution to provide a seat in the House of Delegates to American Samoa. This is the first time that American Samoa will be represented in the ABA House of Delegates.

The amendment also provided seats to the Northern Marianas and Guam, who had previously shared a rotating seat. It was thanks to the hard work of our sister territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, that this was made possible, and the American Samoa Bar Association cannot thank them enough. This will be the beginning of a long tradition of the islands working together towards our common goals.

Mr. Charles Alailima has been selected by the ASBA as the first American Samoa ABA delegate.

New ASBA Secretary

Sadly, ASBA Secretary Kelly Smith has left the island to pursue a new career. At last night’s meeting, Blake Hanley was chosen to be the new ASBA secretary. Blake will be an excellent addition to the executive committee, and the ASBA is proud to have him on board.

Nick Deganhart Speaks About Practicing Law In American Samoa

Departing Assistant Attorney General, and ASBA member, Nick Deganhart spoke with KHJ Radio about practicing criminal law in American Samoa. Deganhart suggested that the criminal justice system should seek alternatives to jail in sentencing.

To read more and hear audio, please visit:

KHJ Radio via

High Court Building Back In Business

High Court will resume in the High Court building beginning June 20, 2011. Since the tsunami in 2009, court has been held in the GHC Reid Building. All renovations will be completed by next Monday, and all scheduled hearings will be moved. Attorneys are encouraged to call the High Court to determine whether their hearings will be affected.

Update: Samoa News Story

Law Reform Committee In The News

KHJ Radio spoke with ASBA President Sean Morrison regarding the work of the law reform committee.  They discussed the  revisions of Titles 46 and 13 and the attempts to implement these laws. The revisions can be found on the law reform committee page.

To read more and hear audio, please visit:

KHJ Radio via

ASBA On Facebook

The American Samoa Bar Association now has a page on Facebook. Have a look, and “like” us.


Dog Law In The News

Samoa News has written a piece on the Dog Law: Vicious Dogs, Your Rights and Responsibilities panel discussion put on by the ASBA and Human Society. For more on the Dog Law discussion, please visit our event page.

Samoa News

Dog Law: Vicious Dogs; Your Rights And Responsibilities

The American Samoa Bar Association, in conjunction with the American Samoa Humane Society, hosted a panel discussion entitled “Dog Law: Vicious Dogs, Your Rights and Responsibilities.”  This panel presented on the local laws relating to vicious dogs, including the criminal laws, civil liability and rights, and ownership issues.  The event was open to the public.

For more information, please follow the link here – Vicious Dogs