Case Caption: Jimmy Davis v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: SCT-Crim-2021-0023Date: 04/01/2022Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: 2022 VI 8Summary: The Superior Court’s June 17, 2021, order denying the defendant’s motion for modification of bail is reversed. Section 3 of the Revised Organic Act of 1954 guarantees that “[a]ll persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties in the case of criminal offenses, except for first degree murder or any capital offense when the proof is evident or the presumption great.” 48 U.S.C. § 1561. Here, since the People did not charge the defendant with first degree murder or a capital offense, the Superior Court possessed an obligation to grant him bail and must impose release conditions—including the amount of bail—that represent the least restrictive means of assuring the defendant’s appearance and submission to the judgment of the court. While the Superior Court is not precluded from imposing bail that a defendant cannot afford to post, a defendant’s indigence—or great wealth—is certainly a relevant consideration in determining the amount of bail and other release conditions. These same considerations apply with equal force to a motion to modify or reduce bail. In this case, the Superior Court did not explain how its weighing of those factors warranted setting bail in the amount of $1,000,000 but appeared to presume the correctness of the release conditions set by the magistrate judge at an advice of rights hearing—including bail of $1,000,000—in effect treating the motion for modification of bail as if it were a motion for reconsideration of the magistrate judge’s bail determination. Therefore, the June 17, 2021, order denying this defendant’s motion for modification of bail is reversed, and the case is remanded for the Superior Court to apply the correct legal standardAttachment: Open Document or Opinion