Case Caption: Okimo J. Heywood v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2013-0100Date: 12/21/2015Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

The Superior Court committed error when it refused to provide a criminal defendant with specific performance of his plea agreement on a charge of unauthorized possession of a firearm - or the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea - because the People breached the agreement by arguing against sentencing him as a youthful offender under 5 V.I.C. § 3712 as expressly provided in the plea agreement. Because he possessed - but did not use - a firearm, the defendant (who had reached 21 years of age by the time of sentencing) is eligible for sentencing pursuant to § 3711(c) for this offense, which would provide identical or greater relief than sentencing as a youthful offender under §3712. As required by Due Process, on remand the Superior Court must either sentence him under § 3711(c), or permit him to withdraw from his plea agreement. Similarly, the Superior Court must eliminate the collateral requirements of fees, costs, and community service, or afford the defendant the opportunity to withdraw from his plea agreement as of right. Accordingly, the portion of the December 5, 2013 judgment and commitment that sentences this defendant in a manner inconsistent with § 3711(c), as well as the portions imposing a probation fee, court costs, and community service, are vacated. This matter is remanded to the Superior Court for re-sentencing in accordance with this opinion.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion