A former warden at a prison in American Samoa pled guilty to conspiring to violate the civil rights of a prisoner.
Mike Kelemete, as the warden of Tafuna Correctional Facility, was accused of beating one of his prisoners with a board after having two guards handcuff the prisoner to a pole. Kelemete pled guilty in a Honolulu federal court on September 21, 2007.
The Civil Rights Division (CRD) of the U.S. Justice Department, along with the Honolulu Division and American Samoan Agency of the FBI, investigated Kelemete. The CRD says it has little tolerance for law enforcement misconduct such as Kelemete’s.
The assistant attorney general for the CRD, Wan J. Kim, stated their position clearly: “The overwhelming majority of prison wardens and correctional officers dispatch their difficult duties with honor and professionalism. The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those who cross the line to engage in acts of criminal misconduct.” Of particular note, since fiscal years 1995-2000, the CRD has brought 25 percent more official misconduct cases and has obtained 50 percent more convictions.
Kelemete’s plea carried up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
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