Case Caption: Jimmy Davis v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2015-0061Date: 12/16/2015Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

Orders denying motions to reduce bail are reviewable under the collateral order doctrine and are final orders for purposes of review. However, as applicable to the present defendant's appeal from an oral ruling of the Magistrate Division of the Superior Court denying his motion to reduce bail, 4 V.I.C. § 125 provides that "[a]ll appeals from the Magistrate Division . . . must be filed in the Superior Court or to the Supreme Court, if appealable to the Supreme Court as provided by law." The Virgin Islands Legislature modeled the statutes establishing the Magistrate Division after its federal counterpart set forth in Title 28 of the United States Code, and cases construing and applying those statutes have held that bail and detention orders issued by a federal magistrate must first be appealed to, and reviewed by, a federal district judge before a the appellate court will obtain jurisdiction to review the ruling. It is presumed that when the Legislature creates a statute it is aware of the long-standing procedures and practices of the courts, and it is difficult to see how the Legislature could have envisioned a different procedure being implemented in the Virgin Islands. Accordingly, a Superior Court judge must review a magistrate's ruling regarding a motion to reduce bail before it can be appealed to this Court. Because no such review occurred in this case, the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction over the defendant's appeal, which is dismissed for that reason.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion