Case Caption: Anselmo R. Boston v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2010-0086Date: 05/02/2012Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In a prosecution leading to convictions for assault and using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence, reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the People, a rational jury could have found the essential elements of the crime of simple assault beyond a reasonable doubt, upon proof that this defendant assaulted or aided and abetted the assault of the victim, including testimony of a witness who drove by the scene and alerted authorities to the attack, as well as the existence of numerous contusions and abrasions on the victim's face, arms, neck, shoulder, and legs, which were consistent with being punched, kicked, or struck with a stick. There was evidence from which the jury could reasonably have inferred that one of the individuals attacking the victim in the narrow time-frame involved was this defendant, and the evidence was sufficient to sustain his conviction. Based on the allegations proffered by a co-defendant, however, this matter is remanded to the Superior Court for a hearing regarding possible juror misconduct. In Thomas v. People, S. Ct. Crim. No. 2010-0087 (V.I. 2012 ), it is held in a co-defendant's appeal that it was error for the trial court to deny a motion for a new trial without conducting an evidentiary hearing regarding allegations of possible juror misconduct. Because disparate treatment of identically-situated co-defendants constitutes manifest injustice in these circumstances, and there was opportunity to fully brief this exact issue in the co-defendant's appeal, the People have not been prejudiced and this Court has heard adequate argument on this issue to render an informed decision. Accordingly, it would be manifestly unjust to remand the co-defendant's case for a hearing on the issue of jury misconduct and not the case of the present defendant, when the allegations proffer that both suffered the same prejudice from the same fundamental error in the same trial. This matter will therefore be remanded to the Superior Court for an evidentiary hearing regarding juror misconduct.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion