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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tuitama accepts county diversion program for minor in possession

    Willie Tuitama
    Willie Tuitama

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

    Tuitama, 20, has 90 days to complete the program, after which 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 $150-diversion program.

    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,”” Tuitama 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.””

    Tuitama was not eligible for diversion through the UA, only through Pima County.

    Students are only eligible for university diversion once, said Anthony Skevakis, program coordinator for judicial affairs and educational outreach at the Dean of Students Office.

    But Tuitama said he’s never completed a diversion program and he was told after the court did a background check that there was nothing on his file.

    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, in addition to whether the student already completed diversion.

    Veda Kowalski, associate dean of students, said she could not comment because she was not familiar with the case. 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.

    Tuitama said he feels good about his situation and remains upbeat for next year’s football season, which he called a “”big year.””

    “”I’m excited for spring ball,”” said Tuitama, who stayed in Tucson during spring break to work out. “”I just want to stay focused now.””

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