Case Caption: In re: Michael L. Sheesley, Esq.Case Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2017-0026Date: 05/06/2019Author: Per CuriamCitation: 2019 VI 15Summary: The Superior Court committed no error when it held a member of the Virgin Islands Bar in criminal contempt for his conduct at hearing in refusing to abide by an appointment order to represent a client, entered two weeks previously. The record does not reflect that the Superior Court violated any of the attorney’s constitutional rights, or that it applied the incorrect legal standard in imposing contempt sanctions. Nor was the judge presiding over the matter under any obligation to recuse herself sua sponte. The evidence was more than sufficient to sustain the criminal contempt conviction on either a theory of obstruction of the administration of justice or willful disobedience of a lawful order, and the likelihood that the appointment order may have actually been erroneous does not excuse the attorney’s refusal to abide by that order. Likewise, the Superior Court committed no error when it held attorney in civil contempt for his failure to appear at an ordered show cause hearing. The Superior Court’s February 15, 2017 order is affirmed in its entirety, and this matter is referred to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and the Board on Professional Responsibility for further investigation as to whether the attorney may have violated Rule 211.1.16(c) or Rule 211.3.5(d).
Attachment: Open Document or Opinion