Case Caption: Marco A. Mendoza v People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S.Ct.Crim. No.: 2010-0060Date: 08/25/2011Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In an appeal from convictions for procuring false instruments and making fraudulent claims upon the government, 14 V.I.C. § 795 as applied in this case is not unconstitutionally vague because its language clearly instructs ordinary people as to what conduct is prohibited. It defines the criminal offense with sufficient definiteness and does not encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. Vehicle registration and inspection lane checklists are instruments under this statute, and in this case they were materially false. In the present case there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to allow a jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of knowingly procuring false instruments under §795. However, there was insufficient evidence to sustain the defendant's conviction for making fraudulent claims upon the government pursuant to 14 V.I.C. § 843(3) by offering the falsified vehicle registration and inspection lane checklist for filing at a window of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Thus the People failed to meet its burden with regards to §843(3), and the Superior Court erred in denying the defendant's Rule 29 motion with regard to this charge. The judgment of the Superior Court is affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion