Case Caption: Thomas Hightree v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct.. Crim. No.: 2010-0063Date: 12/13/2011Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: Summary:

In a prosecution under 14 V.I.C. § 2253(a) for unauthorized possession of two firearms, where the defendant's licenses to lawfully possess those weapons had expired three years before the charges were filed, the 90-day grace period for license renewal under 23 V.I.C. § 455(e) did not apply. Because he no longer had a valid license, he was no longer authorized by law to possess the firearms, as provided in 23 V.I.C. § 452. Therefore, conviction under § 2253(a) for unauthorized possession of the firearms was appropriate, even though § 455(e) does not prescribe criminal penalties of its own, and the Superior Court did not commit any error - much less a plain error - in allowing the convictions to stand. Defendant failed to object to his convictions in the trial court on the basis of the Second Amendment, and failed to show how the scope of that constitutional provision clearly invalidates statutes requiring a license to possess a handgun. For these reasons, the Superior Court did not commit plain error in failing to dismiss his convictions sua sponte. The judgment of conviction on both counts is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion