Case Caption: Jalani Williams v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2012-0028Date: 11/05/2013Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

Defendant's convictions on charges of first-degree murder and various other offenses are affirmed, and the case is remanded for resentencing. While Act No. 7161 implicitly repealed 14 V.I.C. § 19, and thus Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(1)(A) governed admission of certain prior statements made by trial witnesses, these convictions will not be disturbed on this basis because this defendant - unlike his co-defendant - invited the error, and therefore waived, rather than forfeited, appellate review of that evidentiary decision. When a defendant, through his counsel, induces or encourages the Superior Court to commit an error, the invited error doctrine precludes that error from forming the basis for reversal on direct appeal. In this case this defendant unquestionably invited the admission of the prior inconsistent statements as substantive evidence, as demonstrated by counsel's statements in the record. This defendant not only endorsed application of § 19, but conceded that the People could introduce the prior inconsistent statement as substantive evidence. Accordingly, in light of this defendant's statements and stipulation, the Superior Court's evidentiary decision will not be reviewed on this appeal, for plain error or otherwise. The contention that the People failed to timely disclose various materials in violation of both Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(d) and the rule announced in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) is also rejected. While the People were required to provide him with a color copy of the photo array under FED. R. CRIM. P. 16(a)(1)(E), and although the People failed to produce a color copy of the photo until a suppression hearing that occurred shortly before trial, the record reflects that the late disclosure in no way prejudiced the defendant's ability to cross-examine at either trial or the suppression hearing. Under these circumstances, the Superior Court did not abuse its considerable discretion pursuant to Rule 16(d). A Brady violation only occurs if exculpatory information is not disclosed until after trial. and in this case each piece of purportedly “suppressed” evidence was-at the absolute latest-disclosed during trial. Since the defendant was 16 years of age at the time these crimes occurred, the People concede that this matter should be remanded for resentencing in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), holding that a sentence of “mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on ‘cruel and unusual punishments.'” On remand, the Superior Court must conduct a sentencing hearing in order to consider factors identified in this opinion and in the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Miller. The mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is vacated and this case is remanded for resentencing. The May 17, 2012 Judgment and Commitment is affirmed in all other respects.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion