Case Caption: WILLIAMS v. DIRECTOR VIRGIN ISLANDS BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS et al Case Number: SCT-CIV-2021-0011Date: 01/10/2024Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: 2024 VI 2Summary: In an appeal from the Superior Court’s denial of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging newly discovered evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel, the judgment of the Superior Court is affirmed. The Superior Court was not obligated to automatically issue a writ of habeas corpus simply because a petitioner files a habeas petition claiming to assert truthful facts. Rather, the court must test the sufficiency of facts in the petition and compare them with applicable law to ascertain whether the petition establishes a prima facie showing. Here, the court correctly appraised the allegations in the petition and determined them to be either deficient or unsubstantiated according to the trial record. To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a petitioner must demonstrate that counsel’s performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and that counsel’s performance prejudiced him resulting in an unreliable and fundamentally unfair outcome in the proceeding. Evidence adduced at trial is assessed under a totality of the circumstances and here, along with the challenged admissions, the People presented to the jury ample evidence that warranted finding petitioner guilty of numerous crimes, including first degree murder beyond a reasonable. The petitioner also fails to identify how trial counsel’s failure to object to the admission of the now-challenged statements precluded his ability to obtain a new trial. Failure to object to the admission of the alleged prior inconsistent statements of two witnesses did not prejudice the petitioner in a manner warranting habeas corpus relief, and indeed did not constitute deficient performance. To prevail on a claim of newly discovered evidence, a petitioner must identify evidence that is so conclusive and so persuasive that no reasonable juror would have found petitioner guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Here, Hughes’ affidavit is not new evidence. Thus the Superior Court’s denial of this petition for writ of habeas corpus is affirmed.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion