Case Caption: Kareem Jamal Brown v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2011-0022Date: 05/24/2012Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

A conviction and sentence for voluntary manslaughter following a guilty plea are affirmed. Reviewed for plain error, imposition by the Superior Court of a sentence substantially greater than that given to a co-perpetrator - without explaining on the record why - did not affect this defendant's substantial rights. On the present record, it cannot be concluded that there is a reasonable probability that the Superior Court, if ordered to explain the sentencing disparity, would ultimately impose a lower sentence. Although the better practice would have been to reject unambiguously the People's argument that a prior reversal of this defendant's murder conviction justified imposition of the maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter, the record contains absolutely no indication that the Superior Court imposed the ten-year sentence in this case to punish him for exercising his constitutional rights, or for any other impermissible reasons. The record is replete with evidence that the two perpetrators were not similarly situated. Nor did any error in this case affect the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of the proceedings to such an extent that it would warrant the exercise of discretion to remand for re-sentencing. Accordingly, the March 10, 2011 Judgment and Commitment is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion