Case Caption: Clifton A. Fahie, Jr. v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2011-0004Date: 08/15/2013Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: Summary:

Defendant's convictions for simple assault and battery, burglary in the second degree, and false imprisonment are affirmed. In this case, defendant never claimed self-defense at trial. To warrant an instruction on self-defense there must be some evidence that the defendant acted “in self defense . . . against unlawful violence offered to his person ” as provided in 14 V.I.C. § 293(a)(6). In this case, defendant's own testimony established that he entered the victim's residence without permission, which is unlawful under 14 V.I.C. § 1741, and provided no basis for the Superior Court to give an instruction on self-defense. Viewing all of the evidence, it cannot be said that defendant met his burden of showing that the Superior Court erred by failing to instruct the jury sua sponte on self-defense and no plain error has been shown in that regard. The Superior Court did err in instructing the jury on the elements of false imprisonment, by failing to incorporate four factors: (1) the duration of the detention or asportation; (2) whether the detention or asportation occurred during the commission of a separate offense; (3) whether the detention or asportation which occurred is inherent in the separate offense; and (4) whether the asportation or detention created a significant danger to the victim independent of that posed by the separate offense, but this record establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that this error was not prejudicial to the defendant. In this case, by acquitting him of first degree assault, attempted rape, and unlawful sexual contact, the jury clearly found that defendant intentionally confined the victim against her will, but not while committing these separate offenses. Thus it is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that the erroneous jury instructions did not contribute to the false imprisonment verdict, and the defendant has not shown that the Superior Court's plain error prejudiced him. Accordingly, the convictions are affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion