Case Caption: Beaupierre v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S.Ct.Crim. No.: 2009-0005Date: 08/10/2011Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: Summary:

Constitutional and related challenges to a ten year mandatory minimum sentence for conviction of the crime of rape in the first degree are rejected. There is no fundamental due process right to individualized sentencing, and the mandatory minimum sentence for rape in the first degree meets due process requirements because it satisfies the rational basis test: it is rationally related to the legitimate governmental interests in crime deterrence, the penological purpose of retribution to deal more severely with those who pose a substantial danger to society, and the goal of uniformity in sentencing. In light of the uniform nationwide practice of permitting legislatures to specify mandatory minimum sentences, such provisions are not unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishments on their face. Considering the ten year mandatory minimum sentence for rape in the first degree pursuant to 14 V.I.C. § 1701 as applied in this case, it is not so grossly disproportionate as to be unconstitutional, comparing the gravity of the offense and the severity of the sentence. Mandatory minimum sentences do not violate the separation of powers doctrine, nor do they impermissibly endanger judicial independence. The appellate court has no authority to review and set aside mandatory minimum sentences for unreasonableness, and the judgment is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion