Case Caption: In Re: Sealed Respondent Case Number: SCT-CIV-2024-0012Date: 04/18/2024Author: Per CuriamCitation: 2024 VI 19Summary: Considering a petition seeking the interim suspension of an attorney from the Virgin Islands bar, the prohibition on the private of practice of law by judicial officers and court employees codified in title 4, section 288(a) of the Virgin Islands Code does not apply to this attorney, because overwhelming evidence in the record establishes that she is not an “employee of a court” within the intendment of the statute, but is instead an independent contractor. Had the Legislature intended for this statutory prohibition to apply to all those who provide any services for the Judicial Branch of the Virgin Islands, and not just to those employed by one of its constituent courts, it certainly could have done so, as demonstrated by its use of broader language in other statutes appearing in the same title. However, it did not do so. In addition, to the extent the respondent maintains that this attorney cannot engage in the private practice of law in New York while serving as a part-time Special Designated Disciplinary Counsel in the Virgin Islands, and contends that this attorney likewise cannot lawfully serve in that capacity in any matter because she represents the Office of Disciplinary Counsel on a part-time basis under Supreme Court Rule 203, these claims lack merit. Because the respondent provides no valid basis to disqualify the attorney as counsel for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel pursuant to 4 V.I. C. § 288(a), the motion seeking her disqualification is denied, and the case is closed.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion