Case Caption: C'Quan Celestine v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2017-0066Date: 06/17/2020Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: 2020 VI 10Summary: In a prosecution leading to convictions for attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first and third degree, and unauthorized possession of a firearm, a detective’s testimony that a tattoo on the defendant’s body meant that he was a murderer, and that a witness was afraid of defendant, were irrelevant and prejudicial, and should have been excluded by the trial judge under Virgin Islands Rules of Evidence 401, 403 and 404. However, these statements were a small part of the otherwise sufficient evidence against the defendant, and were not objected to. Admission of these two items of proof did not demonstrate the prejudice needed to meet the plain error standard. In addition, the victim’s eyewitness identification was properly admitted, as her identification was not unbelievable and credibility determinations are the province of the jury. An allegation of unconstitutionality in the defendant’s prior conviction used for enhanced sentencing is an incorrect reading of the governing statute, 14 V.I.C § 297, and inconsistent with very recent case law from this Court. Finally, however, the ruling in Titre v. People, 2019 V.I. 3 (V.I. 2019), regarding vacating pursuant to 14 V.I.C. § 104 of lesser convictions arising from the same conduct is applicable to this case. The judgment of conviction is affirmed, but the case is remanded to the Superior Court but remand for resentencing.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion