Lincoln County assistant district attorney Tony Graf has left to take a two-year position with the Attorney Generals office in American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the South Pacific.

Graf is a felony prosecutor and works with five other prosecutors. “The cases here are very interesting,” Graf said. He is currently prosecuting crimes such as robbery, felony assault, burglary, and aiding the escape of a prisoner.

Graf left his position with District Attorney Daniel Hooge’s office May 24.

American Samoa is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean that lie about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand and about 100 km east of the island country of Samoa, which is part of the same archipelago. It’s the southernmost territory of the United States. Graf reported the island is, “about 19 miles long and four miles wide.”

He joined the Lincoln County District Attorney’s office in February 2012.

Graf and his wife Amanda were planning to adopt a child. However, they were quite surprised to find out that they are expecting their first child in late November. Amanda Graf was a special education teacher this past year at Caliente Elementary. Amanda plans to join Tony in early July.

Amanda Graf says that she is staying with her parents in Utah until she leaves. She is trying to see extended family, attend a family reunion and take care of personal business before her departure.

Graf said, “So far, living here is great and a lot different than I expected.” Graf is a certified scuba diver, but with the lack of diving locations in LIncoln County, hasn’t been able to do so. Now, however, he will have an entire ocean available for diving.

His normal courtroom attire is comprised of a Hawaiian shirt, a lavalava (a traditional skirt worn by men, a beaded necklace and sandals. “Court here is translated into Samoan, meaning court here is twice as long,” he said. He said he does not need to speak Samoan, because there are interpreters.

Like Lincoln County, he said there are no stoplights and only a couple stop signs. There is only one main highway for the whole island and the speed limit is 25 mph.

As for reasons for his leaving, Hooge said Graf indicated he was nervous about being able to pass the Nevada State Bar Exam, (he did), and was concerned about possible cuts in the Lincoln County budget that might affect the District Attorney’s department.

Hooge said he will wait until the budgets are finalized, and depending on what money is available to him, might then be able to advertise for another assistant district attorney.

“I am loving it here, though I miss Lincoln County and the great people in Lincoln County,” Graf said.