Case Caption: Alejandro Velazquez v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2015-0080Date: 08/22/2016Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

The defendant's convictions on eight criminal charges, including first degree attempted murder, assault and firearms offenses, are affirmed. Title 23 V.I.C. §470 is the controlling statute with respect to firearm reporting, and to sustain a conviction there must be evidence that a person failed to immediately report the purchasing or obtaining of a firearm or ammunition. The Legislature's use of the word "immediately" clearly contradicts any alleged intent to permit reporting of a firearm on the next business day following a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or other non-business day. Once the prosecution proved that defendant was in possession of a firearm, was not authorized to carry a firearm and ammunition, and that he did not report the firearm to the Commissioner of Police, defendant was required to prove that he satisfied the immediacy requirement. He did not do so, and a reasonable jury could have concluded that he did not immediately report because, inter alia, he stashed the weapon in a nearby trash receptacle. He presented no evidence that he met the immediacy requirement and there was sufficient evidence to support his conviction for failure to report receipt of a firearm and ammunition. The element of premeditation on the charge of attempted murder was satisfied by the circumstances of the firing the weapon itself, since defendant shot the victim once, then walked in his direction and fired two more rounds into his body. The testimony of one witness is sufficient to prove any fact, and a conviction may be sustained on the testimony of a single witness or victim, even when other witnesses may testify to the contrary. Because the jurors in this case were presented with the facts surrounding the identification of the defendant and listened to the testimony of witnesses, it was for them to assess the veracity and credibility of the testimony, and the jurors reasonably concluded-based on that testimony-that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, the convictions on these charges will not be upset. Nor did the Superior Court did not commit plain error by instructing the jury on first-degree attempted murder without also giving an instruction on the lesser-included offense of attempted second-degree murder. A jury instruction must contain a lesser included offense only if the evidence adduced at trial could support a guilty verdict on either charge. Here there was insufficient evidence indicating any other kind of attempted killing, and thus there was no plain error in the decision to not give an instruction on second degree attempted murder. The Superior Court's August 21, 2015 judgment and commitment in this case is affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion