Case Caption: Fenton v. People of the Virgin Islands Case Number: SCT-Civ-2022-0010Date: 01/17/2024Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: 2024 VI 5Summary: In a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, contending that suspected critical evidence was wrongly withheld from the defendant, causing him to enter a plea of nolo contendere that was not knowing, voluntary, and intelligent, the petitioner’s claims are procedurally barred, and the Superior Court’s order denying the petition for a writ of habeas corpus, but for different reasons than those relied on below. The habeas petition now before this Court is petitioner’s second attack on the voluntary and intelligent character of his plea. In the direct appeal in 2018, he argued that his plea was not knowing, voluntary and intelligent as he had relied upon the recommended sentence under the plea agreement of 10 years, stating that he would not have acquiesced had he known that the trial judge was going to sentence him to 20 years, despite having been informed that a 20-year sentence was a possible outcome. His arguments have changed, yet the issue they support remains the same, and issues already considered and rejected by this Court on the merits on direct appeal may not be relitigated through a habeas petition. The fact that petitioner failed to exhaust his potential arguments in the prior appeal does not give him the right to relitigate the same issue with novel arguments in a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Upon review, therefore, the trial court’s order denying the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is upheld, because superior court should have denied the petition because the claims were uniformly procedurally barred. For these reasons, the Superior Court’s October 15, 2021 order is affirmed and the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion