Associate Justice Maria M. Cabret

Associate Justice Maria M. CabretAssociate Justice Maria M. Cabret was born in Frederiksted, St. Croix. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marymount Manhattan College in 1971 and a Juris Doctor degree from Howard University School of Law in 1978. She began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Raymond L. Finch at the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands. She later worked for Legal Services of the Virgin Islands and the Office of the Territorial Public Defender, before moving on to private practice, where she first engaged in insurance defense litigation and later concentrated in personal injury and commercial litigation.

In 1987, she was nominated by Governor Alexander A. Farrelly to serve as Judge of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands and unanimously confirmed by the Seventeenth Legislature. She was sworn into office on July 7, 1987, becoming the second woman and first person of Puerto Rican descent to serve on the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands. She was nominated to a second term by Governor Farrelly in 1993 and unanimously confirmed by the Twentieth Legislature.

In 1994, Presiding Judge Verne A. Hodge designated her as Administrative Judge of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix Division. On October 29, 1999, Governor Charles W. Turnbull designated her as Presiding Judge of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands and nominated her to a third term. The Twenty-Third Legislature unanimously confirmed her nomination on March 1, 2000. She again made history by becoming the first woman, the first Crucian, and the first person of Puerto Rican descent to be elevated to the position of Presiding Judge of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands.

On June 30, 2006, Judge Cabret retired and immediately assumed Senior Judge status on July 1, 2006, continuing to work tirelessly to improve the administration of justice. During her nineteen years on the trial bench, she authored numerous important opinions addressing a vast range of complex legal and factual issues. Aside from her administrative duties and regular caseload, she also presided over the complex, multi-party, mass asbestos litigation on St. Croix. In addition, she was also designated many times to serve as an appellate court judge on the Appellate Division of the District Court of the United States Virgin Islands.

On July 19, 2006, Governor Turnbull nominated Judge Cabret to serve as an
Associate Justice of the newly created Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands. She was unanimously confirmed by the Twenty-Sixth Legislature and on December 18, 2006, she was sworn in as an Associate Justice. She was re-nominated to serve for an additional ten years by Governor Kenneth E. Mapp on November 14, 2016, and unanimously confirmed by the Thirty-First Legislature on December 20, 2016.

In November 2005, Justice Cabret was one of the first thirteen women inducted into the Virgin Islands Women’s Hall of Fame by the Commission on the Status of Women, who established the Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005 to recognize the outstanding contributions of women in the Virgin Islands.

Justice Cabret is a 2008 recipient of the Howard University Alumni Achievement Award. In 2009, she became a Science and Technology Fellow of The Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center (ASTAR) and in 2010, she became a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Justice Cabret is a graduate of the American Academy of Judicial Education and the National Judicial College. She is a member of the Virgin Islands Bar. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the American Judges Association, the American Judicature Society, the National Association of Women Judges, and the Virgin Islands Judicial Council. From 1989 to 2000, she served as a member of the Law Revision Commission. During her tenure as Presiding Judge, she was a member of the Conference of Chief Justices, the American Law Institute, and the National Association of Court Managers.