Case Caption: Kenneth Augustine v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S.Ct.Crim.No.: 2010-0016Date: 08/29/2011Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

Convictions on multiple counts of assault, unauthorized use of an unlicensed firearm during the commission of assault, and reckless endangerment arising from an alleged shootout with three police officers are affirmed after consideration of challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence and the fairness of the trial. There was overwhelming evidence presented at trial upon which a rational jury could have found that defendant was the individual who produced a gun and started shooting at three police officers. One police officer's statement at trial that he had stopped defendant previously was not sufficiently prejudicial to have deprived him of his right to a fair trial, and the trial court's failure to grant a mistrial on its own initiative was not plain error. The fact that 14 V.I.C. § 2253(a) criminalizes the possession of firearms does not mean that the Legislature intended to exclude firearms from the definition of a deadly weapon or from statutes criminalizing the use of a deadly weapon. Thus, defendant could be charged with assaulting three police officers with a deadly weapon under 14 V.I.C. §297(2) when the deadly weapon is a firearm. There was also sufficient evidence for the jury to find that the shooting occurred in an area usually accessible to the public, and the conviction under 14 V.I.C. §625 for reckless endangerment is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion