Case Caption: In re People of the Virgin Islands People of the Virgin Islands v. Oscar E. Illescas-GomezCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2018-0006Date: 08/30/2018Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: Summary: A fine of $3,000 imposed upon the Virgin Islands Department of Justice by the Superior Court because of a motion to dismiss a criminal case made on the morning of a previously scheduled trial after a jury panel was assembled for the voir dire proceeding, prompted by the Department’s dereliction in failing to secure a vital witness’s cooperation needed to successfully prosecute the case, is reversed. Because there was no definitive court order that the Department violated, the fine fails to comport with the standards for civil contempt. Criminal contempt occurs when the court vindicates its own authority through punishment. However, before the court may impose criminal contempt, it must afford the contemnor due process in the form of notice and a hearing. Accordingly, if the fine in this case is characterized as a criminal contempt penalty, it was imposed without due process and must be vacated. The case is remanded with instructions to the Superior Court to vacate the fine.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion