Case Caption: In re Amorite Connor, as Personal Representative and Special Administrator of the Estate of Dale Orrin ConnorCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2014-0058Date: 09/26/2014Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

A petition for writ of mandamus directing the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands to appoint a senior sitting judge to preside over a civil action is denied. A previous order of this Court, Gov't of the V.I. v. Connor, __ V.I. __, S. Ct. Civ. No. 2013-0095, 2014 WL 702639, at *3 (V.I. Feb. 24, 2014), remanded the case for a determination under governing case law of the appropriate common law rules. The term of the Superior Court judge who previously presided below has expired, and the judge to whom the case was reassigned has not acted on the remanded matter. A motion was made in the Superior Court for appointment of the former judge to sit by designation on the remanded matter, and the present petition for writ of mandamus was then filed with this Court. The applicant has failed to establish that her right to mandamus relief. There is no authority in the Virgin Islands Code authorizing the respondent Superior Court Judge-either in his capacity as Administrative Judge or as the judge assigned to this case-to appoint a former judge as a senior sitting judge. Rather, 4 V.I.C. § 24(b)(3) provides that a judge of the Superior Court who has retired on retirement allowance may, with his consent, be recalled by the Supreme Court for temporary service within the judicial system. Petitioner has failed to establish that her right to have the former judge is clear and indisputable, since that statute explicitly provides that a former judge be recalled into service only with his consent, and it is doubtful that the United States Constitution would permit the involuntary recall of a retired judge. Additionally, both 4 V.I.C. § 24(b)(3) and 4 V.I.C. § 74a mandate that a recalled judge receive per diem payments as compensation for his or her service, and no evidence has been provided that the Superior Court possesses the financial resources to pay the retired judge even if he were willing to accept such an appointment. Finally, the remand of this action under the February 24, 2014 opinion requires a purely legal inquiry, and thus a new trial or evidentiary hearing is not contemplated. Thus the petitioner has not established that she is entitled to a writ of mandamus, and the writ is denied.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion