Case Caption: Jermaine Williams v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2012-0095Date: 04/05/2013Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

After the decision in a prior appeal affirmed convictions for second-degree murder, assault, and unauthorized use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, remanding the matter for resentencing, Williams v. People, 56 V.I. 821 (V.I. 2012), the Superior Court issued an amended judgment that is an appealable final order adjudicating guilt on all charges, with a corresponding sentence for each offense. Stay of execution of sentence does not affect the finality of the judgment, and this Court has jurisdiction over the present appeal. The argument that the Superior Court erred in resentencing defendant without his physical presence in these circumstances has previously been rejected in governing case law. Nor did the amended judgment violate defendant's right to a speedy trial pursuant to the Sixth Amendment. However, the Superior Court acted precipitously in issuing the amended judgment without providing the parties with prior notice that it would do so - and it failed to comply with this Court's prior opinion, requiring it to impose punishment for one of the crimes of which defendant was found guilty (second degree murder, first degree assault, or third degree assault) and stay the imposition of punishment for the remaining two crimes, and also to impose punishment for one of the firearms violations for which he was found guilty and stay the imposition of punishment for the remaining two. The amended judgment fails to stay any of the unauthorized use of a firearm convictions. This was plain error, affecting the defendant's substantial rights and the public reputation of judicial proceedings. Therefore, the amended judgment is vacated and, for a second time, the Superior Court is directed to stay execution of punishment for two of the three firearms convictions in accordance with 14 V.I.C. § 104.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion