Case Caption: Ralph G. Brathwaite, Jr. v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S.Ct. Crim. No. 2011-0080Date: 01/09/2014Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: Summary:

No reversible error was committed during defendant's trial for several crimes relating to the rape of his minor daughter, and his convictions are affirmed. Biblical references made during closing arguments and at sentencing by the prosecutor were improper, but it is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that this error did not seriously affect the fairness or integrity of the proceedings. The testimony of the victim was sufficient to establish the elements of all the crimes charged, and sufficient to support his convictions. The defendant's convictions for child abuse under 14 V.I.C. § 505 are not unconstitutional on vagueness grounds as the statute is applied to this case since this defendant's conduct clearly fell within the ambit of what is prohibited by this statute, and defendant does not have standing to challenge the vagueness of the statute as applied to other situations. The sentences to periods of incarceration with five years suspended and credit for time served for four counts of the information are not split sentences. The provisions of 5 V.I.C. § 3711 are not applicable to these convictions, and defendant did not show how the suspensions affected his substantial rights. Since the trial court did not suspend any portion of the statutory minimum period of incarceration, or impose a term of probation or parole that would lower the period of incarceration below fifteen years, the suspension of sentence in this case was not error. All of the defendant's convictions are affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion