Superior Court of the Virgin Islands
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Rules Governing the
Superior Court of the Virgin Islands

Rule 134. Sentence and judgment

(a) Sentence. Sentence shall be imposed immediately after a defendant has been found guilty or has pleaded guilty, unless the court, for good cause shown, shall postpone the imposition of sentence for a period not to exceed 15 days. The court may postpone imposition of a sentence for a period not to exceed 30 days when the court has requested a pre-sentence investigation from the probation officer. Pending sentence, the court may commit the defendant or continue or alter the bail. Before imposing sentence, the court shall afford the defendant or his counsel an opportunity to make a statement in the defendant's behalf and to present any information in mitigation of punishment. Where a sentence has been opened and vacated, the defendant shall be re-sentenced forthwith, except where a new trial is granted.

(b) Judgment. A judgment of conviction shall set forth the complaint, the plea, the findings, the adjudication and sentence. It shall contain the number of the section and the title or a reasonably short description of the statute or ordinance under which conviction was had, the names and addresses of the witnesses sworn and a list of exhibits produced at the trial. If the defendant is found not guilty or for any other reason is entitled to be discharged, the judgment shall be entered accordingly. The judgment shall be signed by the judge and entered by the clerk.

(c) Conviction of a corporation. If a corporation shall be convicted of the violation of any law or ordinance, the judge may give judgment thereon, and shall cause such judgment to be enforced in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action.

Statutory References

Commencement of sentence, see 5 V.I.C. ' 3673.

Concurrent and consecutive sentences, see 5 V.I.C. ' 3672.

Execution of judgment for imprisonment or fine, see 5 V.I.C. ' 3671.

CASE ANNOTATIONS

Sentencing

The two-week delay in sentencing exceeding the thirty days allowed under Terr. Ct. R. 134 was minimal and not an abuse of Territorial Court's discretion in light of fact that the Territorial Court Rules are liberally construed to secure simplicity and uniformity in procedure, fairness in administration and the elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay. Warner v. Government of the Virgin Islands, D.C.V.I. 1995, 33 V.I. 93.

While this rule sets short time periods for the imposition of sentence, it does not require dismissal if the time periods are exceeded. Warner v. Government of the Virgin Islands, D.C.V.I. 1995, 33 V.I. 93.

There was no violation of defendant's Sixth Amendment right to speedy sentencing where neither defendant nor his attorney brought the sentencing delay to the court's attention and there was no basis to suggest that the sentencing court's inadvertence would not have been rectified immediately and his case scheduled for sentencing if he or his attorney only would have requested it. Warner v. Government of the Virgin Islands, D.C.V.I. 1995, 33 V.I. 93.

Nothing in the record even hinted that the delay in sentencing was intentional where, other than a short delay for preparing the presentence report, the remaining delay was the result of the court's inadvertent failure to reschedule sentencing. Warner v. Government of the Virgin Islands, D.C.V.I. 1995, 33 V.I. 93.

Defendant failed to demonstrate any prejudice resulting from the lower court's inadvertent error which resulted in delay in sentencing because, although defendant stated that he was deprived of an opportunity to serve his Territorial Court jail sentence concurrently with a District Court sentence he was serving for a separate felony conviction, there was no basis in the record to assume that the Territorial Court would have imposed a concurrent sentence, especially since Government counsel contended that this second drug conviction could have been brought as a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Warner v. Government of the Virgin Islands, D.C.V.I. 1995, 33 V.I. 93.

The Territorial Court's noncompliance with this rule by postponing imposition of sentence two weeks beyond thirty day limit did not rise to the level of error required for dismissal of conviction. Warner v. Government of the Virgin Islands, D.C.V.I. 1995, 33 V.I. 93.

The United States Supreme Court applies a four-factor test in reviewing post-verdict proceedings: (1) the length of the delay, (2) the reason for the delay, (3) defendant's assertion of his right, and (4) prejudice to the defendant. Warner v. Government of the Virgin Islands, D.C.V.I. 1995, 33 V.I. 93.

In determining the length of sentencing delay, delay attributable to defendant, like speedy trial review of pre-trial delay caused by a defendant, is excluded from further analysis. Warner v. Government of the Virgin Islands, D.C.V.I. 1995, 33 V.I. 93.

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