Case Caption: Bryan v. FawkesCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2014-0046Date: 08/28/2014Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary: Considering an appeal from a Superior Court order dismissing a petition brought by Adelbert Bryan, the Chair of the St. Croix Board of Elections, seeking to disqualify Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, an incumbent Senator in the Virgin Islands Legislature, from the general election ballot for membership in the 31st Legislature, both the Superior Court and the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands unquestionably possess jurisdiction to adjudicate Bryan's challenge to Hansen's eligibility to serve in the 31st Legislature. The Senator, as an intervenor, lacks standing to challenge Bryan's standing to bring this proceeding. In 18 V.I.C. § 4(b)(2), the Virgin Islands Legislature, consistent with section 6(c) of the Revised Organic Act of 1954, 48 U.S.C. § 1572(c), vested the Supervisor of Elections with the authority to certify for primaries and elections, the names of candidates for all public and territorial offices and membership on party committees. In 18 V.I.C. § 411(a), the Legislature further authorized the Supervisor to disqualify a candidate and delete the candidate's name from the ballot if the Supervisor determines that the candidate does not meet the qualifications established by law for the office, and in 18 V.I.C. § 412, expressly provided for judicial review of such determinations. In conducting such judicial review, Virgin Islands courts apply plenary review to legal questions addressed in the Supervisor's determinations, rather than deference to the administrative determination under Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Res Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984). Addressing the merits, and notwithstanding the Supervisor's resolution of the question, pursuant to binding United States Supreme Court precedent construing and applying a nearly identical federal statute, 26 U.S.C. § 7203, Hansen's prior misdemeanor conviction for willful failure to file tax returns under 33 V.I.C. § 1524 is a “crime involving moral turpitude” that renders her ineligible to serve in the 31st Legislature by operation of section 6(b) of the Revised Organic Act of 1954, 48 U.S.C. § 1572(b). Accordingly, the Superior Court's July 30, 2014 Order is reversed, and the Superior Court is directed on remand to grant the petition, set aside the Supervisor's decision to place Hansen on the general election ballot as a candidate for membership to the 31st Legislature pursuant to 18 V.I.C. § 412, and remove Hansen from the general election ballot.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion