Case Caption: Jamal D. Todman v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2011-0030Date: 09/13/2013Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: Summary:

The conviction of a defendant who was charged with aiding and abetting in the unlawful possession of a firearm in violation of 14 V.I.C. § 2253(a) and 14 V.I.C. § 11(a) is reversed. The evidence was insufficient to demonstrate that he aided and abetted anyone in the crime charged. The inartful charging of this defendant as an aider and abettor - when the People's case-in-chief demonstrated that he was possibly the sole and primary actor in the crime - imposed upon the People a specific burden of proof which the judge embodied in the jury instructions, to which the People did not object, thus making the obligation the law of this case. Although an aider and abettor may ordinarily be charged and convicted as a principal, the jury in this case was instructed that it must specifically find that the defendant aided and abetted another person as an element of the crime charged in order to convict him. Because the evidence was insufficient for a reasonable jury to find that this defendant aided and abetted anyone in the unauthorized possession of a firearm, his conviction is reversed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion