Case Caption: Jimmy Davis v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2014-0036Date: 08/14/2014Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

Summary: An order by the Superior Court denying a motion for reduction of bail is reviewable under the collateral order doctrine, a limited exception to the final judgment rule embodied in 4 V.I.C. § 32(a). Although decisions relating to the amount of bail are ordinarily reviewed only for abuse of discretion, if the decision is based on application of a legal precept it is subject to plenary review. Here the Superior Court clearly denied the motion based on an incomplete analysis of this Court's decision in Rieara v. People, 57 V.I. 659 (V.I. 2012). The fact that a prior judge had already reduced the defendant's bail is not a sufficient basis on which to deny a Renewed Motion for Reduction of Bail. When the court resolves a motion to modify bail and release conditions, it must make an individualized determination in order to ensure that the bail is not excessive. Any bail or conditions of release that are not tailored to achieve the purpose of bail are considered excessive and therefore unconstitutional. The mere fact that another judge, presented with another motion, had set those conditions is an insufficient basis upon which to refuse to modify the conditions, particularly where the defendant's new motion includes additional evidence or new and different proffers.. Accordingly, it is reversible error for a judge to summarily deny such a motion simply because it had been denied by another judge. The Order of May 22, 2014 in this matter is reversed and the case is remanded to the Superior Court so that it may rule on the emergency motion without affording any deference to the prior judge's January 23, 2014 bail ruling.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion