Case Caption: Adrian Benjamin v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2012-0026Date: 09/06/2013Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: Summary:

In the specific circumstances of this case, the Superior Court did not err in recalling a jury. Before being declared discharged, the jury reached a verdict on seven of the counts against this defendant, acquitting him of first-degree murder and attempted murder charges, finding him guilty of reckless endangerment and unauthorized possession of a firearm, and failing to reach a verdict on second-degree murder and third-degree assault. Because of a miscommunication with the jury foreperson, the court was under the mistaken impression that the jurors were deadlocked on all charges, prompting a mistrial. However, immediately thereafter inspection of the jury form, clarifying statements by the foreperson and a poll of the jury showed that the jury had reached a decision seven of the counts. The discharge declaration had not yet taken effect because the jurors remained within the protective shield of the court-leaving their legal duties intact-and had not dispersed. The defendant was not prejudiced, as the jurors had no opportunity to interact with members of the public before being recalled. During the brief period between the discharge declaration and the recall, the jurors either remained in the courtroom or had begun to enter the deliberation room, and nothing in the record supports the conjecture that they were exposed to prejudicial outside influences. Defendant's convictions for second-degree murder, four counts of third-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and unauthorized possession of a firearm, embodied in the Superior Court's March 13, 2012 Judgment and Commitment, are affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion