Chapter 35 - Offenses Against the Person
Chapter 35 - Offenses Against the Person
The following definitions are applicable in this chapter unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) "Criminal homicide" means conduct which causes the death of a person under circumstances constituting murder in the 1st or 2nd degree, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide.
(b) "Person", when referring to the victim of a homicide, means a human being who had been born and was alive at the time of the homicidal act.
(c) "Course of conduct" means following by maintaining visual or physical proximity to a specific person or directing verbal, written or other threats, whether express or implied, to a specific person on two or more occasions over a period of time, however short, but does not include constitutionally protected activity.
(d) "Immediate family member" means a spouse, parent, child or sibling or any other person who regularly resides in a person's household or resided in a person's household within the past six months.
(a) A person commits the crime of murder in the 1st degree if:
(1) intending or knowing that his conduct will cause death or serious bodily injury, he causes the death of another person with deliberation; or
(2) acting either alone or with 1 or more other persons, he commits or attempts to commit any class A felony and in the course of and in furtherance of the offense or immediate flight from it, he or another person who is a party to the offense recklessly causes the death of a person other than 1 of the parties to the commission of the offense:
(3) it is an affirmative defense to a charge of violation subparagraph (a)(2) that the defendant:
(A) was not the only participant in the underlying crime:
(B) did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, request, command importune, cause, or aid the commission of it:
(C) was not armed with a deadly weapon, or any instrument, article, or substance readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury and of a sort not ordinarily carried in public places by law-abiding persons;
(D) had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon, instrument, article, or substance; and
(E) had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious physical injury.
(b) For the purposes of this section, "deliberation" means that the defendant acts with either the intention or the knowledge that he will kill another human being or cause him serious bodily injury, when the intention or knowledge precedes the killing by an appreciable length of time to permit reflection; an act is not done with deliberation if it is the instant effort of impulse.
(c) The penalties for murder in the 1st degree are provided for in 46.3510 through 46.3516.
(a) A person commits the crime of murder in the 2nd degree if:
(1) he intentionally causes the death of another person;
(2) knowing that his conduct will cause death or serious physical injury, he causes the death of another person; or
(3) under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death of another person.
(b) Murder in the 2nd degree is a class A felony.
(a) Criminal homicide constitutes manslaughter when:
(1) it is committed recklessly; or
(2) a homicide which would otherwise be murder is committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse; the reasonableness of the explanation or excuse is determined from the viewpoint of a person in the actor's situation tinder the circumstances as he believes them to be:
(3) at the time of the killing, he believes the circumstances to be that, if they existed, would justify the killing under 46.3301 et seq., but his belief is unreasonable.
(b) Manslaughter is a class C felony.
(a) A person commits the crime of criminally negligent homicide if, with criminal negligence, he causes the death of another person.
(b) Criminally negligent homicide is a class D felony.
(a) A person is guilty of promoting suicide when he intentionally causes or aids another person to attempt suicide, or when he intentionally aids another person to commit suicide.
(b) Promoting suicide is a class D felony.
(a) At the conclusion of all trials upon an indictment or information for murder in the 1st degree heard by a jury, and after argument of counsel and proper charge from the court, the jury retires to consider a verdict of guilty or not guilty without any consideration of punishment, and by their verdict ascertains, whether the defendant is guilty of murder in the 1st degree, murder in the 2nd degree. manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or is not guilty of any offense.
(b) In nonjury murder cases, the court likewise first considers a finding of guilty or not guilty without any consideration of punishment, and by its verdict ascertains, whether the defendant is guilty of murder in the 1st degree, murder in the 2nd degree, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or is not guilty of any offense.
(a) Where the jury or judge returns a verdict or finding of guilty of murder in the 1st degree, the court resumes the trial and conducts a presentence hearing before the jury or judge at which time the only issue is the determination of the punishment to be imposed. In the hearing, subject to the laws or rules of evidence, the jury or judge hears additional evidence in mitigation and aggravation of punishment. Only the evidence in aggravation as the prosecution has made known to the defendant prior to his trial and as provided in 46.3514 is admissible.
(b) The jury or judge also hears argument by the defendant or his counsel and the prosecuting attorney regarding the punishment to be imposed. The additional procedure provided in 46.3514 is followed. The prosecuting attorney opens and the defendant concludes the argument to the jury or judge.
(c) Upon conclusion of the evidence and arguments, the judge gives the jury appropriate instructions and the jury retires to determine the punishment to be imposed. The jury, or the judge in cases tried by a judge, fixes a sentence within the limits prescribed by law.
(d) The judge imposes the sentence fixed by the jury or judge. If the jury cannot, within a reasonable time, agree to the punishment, the judge imposes sentence within the limits of the law, except that, the judge in no instance imposes the death penalty when, in cases tried by a jury, the jury cannot agree upon the punishment.
If the trial court is reversed on appeal because of error only in the presentence hearing, the new trial which may be ordered applies only to the issue of punishment.
Persons convicted of the offense of murder in the 1st degree shall, if the judge or jury so recommends after complying with the provisions of 46.3510 through 46.3512 and 46.3514, be punished by death. If the judge or jury does not recommend the imposition of the death penalty on a finding of guilty of murder in the 1st degree, the convicted person is punished by imprisonment by the corrections division for life and is not to be eligible for probation or parole until he has served a minimum of 40 years of his sentence.
(a) In cases of 1st degree murder, the judge or jury may impose the death penalty only if one or more of the statutory aggravating circumstances is proven. There is no mandatory death penalty.
(b) One or more of the statutory aggravating circumstances must be proved to impose the death penalty. In these cases the judge or jury must consider in determining the defendant's sentence any mitigating circumstances before the death penalty may be imposed.
(c) When 1 or more of the statutory aggravating circumstances is proved, the, judge or jury must decide whether the mitigating circumstances outweigh the aggravating circumstances.
(d) Statutory aggravating circumstances are limited to:
(1) the defendant previously has been convicted of 1st or 2nd degree murder;
(2) at the time of the murder, the defendant committed another murder;
(3) the defendant created a grave risk of death to many persons;
(4) the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, involving torture or other depravity;
(5) the murder was purposely committed for pecuniary gain for the defendant or another person.
(e) Statutory mitigating circumstances include:
(1) the defendant has no significant history of prior felony convictions within the last 10 years;
(2) the murder was committed while the defendant was under the influence of mental or emotional disturbance;
(3) the victim was a participant in or consented to the murder;
(4) the defendant was an accomplice in a murder and his role in the murder was relatively minor;
(5) the defendant acted under duress or under the domination of another person;
(6) the capacity of the defendant to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform to the law was substantially impaired;
(7) the defendant believed the conduct of the victim provided moral justification for the murder;
(8) the defendant was of a young age at the time of the murder;
(9) any other factors the defendant desires to be considered in imposition of sentence.
(a) Whenever the death penalty is imposed in any case, and upon the judgment becoming final in the trial court, the sentence is reviewed on the record by the High Court of American Samoa.
(b) The High Court considers the punishment as well as any errors listed by way of appeal.
(c) With regard to the sentence, the High Court determines:
(1) whether the sentence of death was imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor; and
(2) whether the evidence supports the jury's or judge's finding of a statutory aggravating circumstance as listed in 46.3514; and
(3) whether the sentence of death is excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering both the crime and the defendant.
(d) Both the defendant and the territory have the right to submit briefs within the time provided by the High Court, and to present oral argument to the High Court.
(e) The High Court includes in its decision a reference to those similar cases which it took into consideration. In addition to its authority regarding correction of errors, the High Court, with regard to review of death sentences, is authorized to:
(1) affirm the sentence of death; or
(2) set the sentence aside and remand the case for resentencing by the trial judge based on the record and argument of counsel. The records of those similar cases referred to by the High Court in its decision shall be provided to the resentencing judge for his consideration.
(f) The sentence review is in addition to direct appeal, if taken, and the review and appeal is consolidated for consideration. The court renders its decision on legal errors listed, the factual substantiation of the verdict, and the validity of the sentence.
(g) Decisions of the High Court affirming sentences of death are subject to review by the Governor.
(h) Decisions of the Governor affirming sentences of death are subject to review by the Secretary of the Interior.
If the United States Supreme Court or the High Court of American Samoa declares the death penalty to be in violation of any provision of the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of American Samoa, any killing in which the death penalty could otherwise be properly imposed shall be charged and, if convicted, punished as provided by law, except that, the defendant shall not be eligible for probation or parole until he has served a minimum of 40 years of his sentence.
(a) A person commits the crime of assault in the 1st degree if:
(1) he purposely or knowingly causes serious physical injury to another person; or
(2) he attempts to kill or to cause serious physical injury to another person; or
(3) under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person and thereby causes serious physical injury to another person.
(b) Assault in the 1st degree is a class B felony unless committed by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, then it is a class A felony.
(a) A person commits the crime of assault in the 2nd degree if:
(1) he knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
(2) he recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person; or
(3) he attempts to kill or to cause serious physical injury or causes serious physical injury under circumstances that would constitute assault in the 1st degree under 46.3520, but:
(A) acts under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there is a reasonable explanation or excuse; the reasonableness of the explanation or excuse is determined from the viewpoint of an ordinary person in the actor's situation under the circumstances as the actor believes them to be; or
(B) at the time of the act, he believes the circumstances to be that, if they existed, would justify killing or inflicting serious physical injury under the provisions of 46.3301 et seq., but his belief is unreasonable.
(b) The defendant has the burden of injecting the issues of extreme emotional disturbance under subparagraph (a) (3) (A) or belief in circumstances amounting to justification under subparagraph (a) (3) (B).
(c) Assault in the 2nd degree is a class D felony.
(a) A person commits the crime of assault in the 3rd degree if:
(1) he attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury to another person;
(2) with criminal negligence he causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or
(3) he purposely places another person in apprehension of immediate physical injury;
(4) he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death or serious physical injury to another person; or
(5) he knowingly causes physical contact with another person knowing the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
(b) Assault in the 3rd degree is a class A misdemeanor unless committed under paragraph (a) (3) or (5): then it is a class C misdemeanor.
(a) When conduct is charged to constitute an offense because it causes or threatens physical injury, consent to that conduct or to the infliction of the injury is a defense only if:
(1) the physical injury consented to or threatened by the conduct is not serious physical injury; or
(2) the conduct and the harm are reasonably foreseeable hazards of:
(A) the victim's occupation or profession; or
(B) Joint participation in a lawful athletic contest or competitive sport; or
(3) the consent establishes a justification for the conduct tinder 46.3301 et seq.
(b) The defendant has the burden of injecting the issue of consent.
(a) A person commits the crime of harassment if, with the purpose to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he:
(1) communicates with a person by telephone, telegraph, mail, or any other form of written communication in a manner which he knows is likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, telephone calls initiated by vendors for the purpose of selling goods or services; or
(2) makes repeated or anonymous telephone calls to another person, whether or not conversation ensues, knowing that he is thereby likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or
(3) knowingly permits any telephone under his control to be used for a purpose prohibited by this section.
(b) Harassment is a class A misdemeanor.
(a) A person commits the crime of stalking if he purposely or knowingly engages in a course of conduct that is directed toward another person and that conduct:
(1) causes reasonable fear of harm to the physical health, safety, or property of such person, a member of his immediate family, or a third party with whom he is acquainted; or
(2) causes harm to the mental or emotional health of such person after the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct; or
(3) is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear that his employment, business or career is threatened, where such conduct consists of appearing, telephoning or initiating communication or contact at his place of employment or business, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct.
(b) Stalking is a class B misdemeanor, unless the offense was committed when there is a temporary restraining order or an injunction, or both, or any other court order in effect prohibiting the conduct by the offender, then it is a Class A misdemeanor.
(a) It is an element of the offenses described in 46.3531 through 46.3533 that the confinement, movement, or restraint be committed without the consent of the victim.
(b) Lack of consent results from:
(1) forcible compulsion; or
(2) incapacity to consent.
(c) A person is considered incapable of consent if he is
(1) less than 14 years old, or
(a) A person commits the crime of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another without his consent from the place where lie is found or unlawfully confines another without his consent for a substantial period, for the purpose of:
(1) holding that person for ransom or reward or for any other act to be performed or not performed for the return or release of that person;
(2) using the person as a shield or as a hostage;
(3) interfering with the performance of any governmental or political function;
(4) facilitating the commission of any felony or flight thereafter; or
(5) inflicting physical injury on or terrorizing the victim or another.
(b) Kidnapping is a class A felony unless committed under paragraph (a) (4) or (5), in which case it is a class B felony.
(a) A person commits the crime of felonious restraint if he knowingly restrains another unlawfully and without consent interferes substantially with his liberty and exposes him to a substantial risk of serious physical injury.
(b) Felonious restraint is a class C felony.
(a) A person commits the crime of false imprisonment if he knowingly restrains another unlawfully and without consent interferes substantially with his liberty.
(b) False imprisonment is a class A misdemeanor unless the person unlawfully restrained is removed from the territory, then it is a class D felony.
(a) A person does not commit false imprisonment under 46.3533 if the person restrained is a child under the age of 17, and:
(1) a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the general supervision of the child's welfare has consented to the restraint; or
(2) the actor is a relative of the child; and
(A) the actor's sole purpose is to assume control of the child; and
(B) the child is not taken out of the territory.
(b) For purposes of this section, "relative" means a parent or stepparent, ancestor, sibling, uncle or aunt, including an adoptive relative of the same degree through marriage or adoption n.
(c) The defendant has the burden of injecting the issue of a defense under this section.
(a) A person commits the crime of interference with custody if, knowing that he has no legal right to do so he takes or entices from lawful custody any person entrusted by order of a court to the custody of another person or institution.
(b) Interference with custody is a class A misdemeanor unless the person taken or enticed away from legal custody is removed from the territory, then it is a class D felony.