Case Caption: James C. Tindell v People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S.Ct.Crim.No. 2009-0107Date: 01/05/2012Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In considering defendant's appeal following the acceptance of his plea of nolo contendere for failing to comply with Virgin Islands broker-dealer registration requirements, since he pled nolo contendere, he waived his challenge to the sufficiency of the information, and cannot raise the issue for the first time at this stage of the proceedings because the error, if any, is not jurisdictional, and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(3)(B)-the only other possible authority to support raising the issue for the first time on appeal-is inapplicable to Superior Court proceedings. Moreover, defendant's factual basis argument is not considered because Superior Court Rule 126 does not require courts in the Virgin Islands to assess the adequacy of the factual basis for a nolo contendere plea before accepting the plea. In addition, based on the record, there is no indication that the plea was involuntary. Finally, to the extent defendant's sentencing challenge is not simply a vehicle to assert his waived challenge to the sufficiency of the information, the Superior Court committed no error because his nolo contendere plea served as an admission that sufficient evidence existed to satisfy all elements of the offense to which he so pled, and the Superior Court imposed a sentence that was not only within the range set out in 9 V.I.C. § 658(a), but the same sentence that he had agreed to pursuant to his plea agreement. The Superior Court's judgment is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion