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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tuitama accepts county diversion program for MIP

    Willie Tuitama
    Willie Tuitama

    UA starting quarterback Willie Tuitama decided to go through a Pima County diversion program at his arraignment hearing March 9 for a minor in possession.

    Tuitama, 20, has 90 days to complete the program, in which case the charge would be dismissed.

    “”You’ve been given a very generous opportunity,”” Judge James Anguilo told Tuitama, who paid the court $20 and had 48 hours to sign up for the diversion program, which costs $150.

    Tuitama received the citation Feb. 16 after a University of Arizona Police Department officer heard tires spin out and loud exhaust in a parking lot at the corner of East First Street and North Vine Avenue, according to a police report. After the officer noticed Tuitama with “”bloodshot eyes and a moderate odor of intoxicants coming from his mouth,”” he admitted to drinking, reports stated.

    “”I made some poor decisions,”” Tuitama said. “”It’s something I’ve got to deal with, and I am right now.””

    However, Tuitama, who wore a blue-collared shirt and gray pants to the Pima County Justice Court hearing, was not eligible for diversion through the University of Arizona, only through Pima County.

    According to Anthony Skevakis, the Dean of Students Program Coordinator for Judicial Affairs & Educational Outreach, students are only eligible for university diversion once.

    But Tuitama said he’s never completed a class and that there was nothing on file when the court did his background check.

    However, Skevakis said a student could be eligible for Pima County but not UA diversion if the incident occurred outside of the university’s jurisdiction or if the judge wants to monitor the case carefully, as well as if the student already completed diversion.

    Associate Dean of Students Veda Kowalski could not comment because she was not familiar with the case and Anguilo declined comment for ethical reasons because the case is still pending.

    Anguilo scheduled a return hearing for Aug. 8, which will be cancelled if Tuitama provides proof of completion of the county diversion program.

    “”I’ll just take care of this and do what I have to do to get this (charge) dismissed and make sure it doesn’t happen again,”” Tuitama said.

    Through it all Tuitama said he feels good and remains upbeat for next year’s football season.

    “”I’m excited for spring ball,”” he said. “”I’m staying here for the whole break just to work out and everything, just to make sure I’m ready for the big year.

    “”I just want to stay focused now.””

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