Rule 141. Right to bail before conviction
(a) All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient
sureties approved by a judge, provided, however, that any real property
utilized by such sureties to secure the defendant's appearance shall have a
fair market value which is double the amount of the bail set or reduced by the
(b) Whenever a person charged with an offense is before a judge of this
court for release on bail prior to trial, pursuant to these rules, the judge
shall, in considering the release of such person, be guided by and apply the
appropriate provisions of "The Bail Reform Act", Public Law 98-473,
October 12, 1984, 18 U.S.C. secs. 3141-3156 (1985), which Act is by this
reference incorporated into and made a part of these rules.
(c) Bail and other conditions of release shall be ordered in any of the
following categories, except as otherwise provided for serious felony offenses:
1. Cash Bail Bond. A sum of money designated in an order fixing
bail and posted with the court by a defendant or by another person on his
behalf upon condition that such money will be forfeited if the defendant: (1)
does not comply with the directions of the court requiring his appearance at
the criminal trial or related proceedings and (2) does not otherwise render
himself amenable to the orders and processes of the court.
2. Surety Bond. An undertaking by the defendant and his sureties,
jointly or severally, that the defendant shall appear for trial or any related
proceeding as ordered and if he fails to do so, he and the sureties shall pay
the Virgin Islands Government the amount set by the court as bail for the
defendant, or the property used to secure the defendant's release may be
forfeited to the extent of the bail. Sureties shall comply with the provisions
of Rule 145.
3. Unsecured Bail Bond. A bail bond in an amount for which the
defendant is fully and personally liable upon his failure to appear in court
when ordered to do so or upon his breach of a material condition of release,
but which is not secured by any deposit of or lien upon property.
4. Personal Recognizance. Pre-trial release based upon the
person's own promise that he will appear for trial or any proceeding in
connection therewith as ordered by the court. This type of bail is used in
place of a bail bond when the judge is satisfied that the defendant will appear
without the need for a surety bond or other form of security.
(d) Third Party custodian. In addition to the foregoing, the court may
require a third party custodian to further ensure compliance with the terms of
the release and the appearance of the defendant in each of the foregoing
instances. Each custodian must fully execute under oath the Third Party
Custodian Consent Form before a defendant may be released.--Amended Mar. 3,
1970; Oct. 10, 1973; Oct. 14, 1994, eff. Nov. 16, 1994; Oct. 12, 1995; May 12,
Change of name of Commissioner of Public Safety. Act June 15,
1984, No. 4964, ' 1, Sess. L. 1984, p. 177, changed the name of the
Commissioner of Public Safety to Police Commissioner.
Applicability of amendments to Bail Reform Act. Order of the
District Court of the Virgin Islands dated October 17, 1986, provided that the
provisions of the Bail Reform Act, as amended, Public Law 98-473, October 12,
1984, 18 U.S.C.A. '' 3141-3156 (1985), would apply to subdivision (b) of this
rule; and provided, further, that in all other respects, subdivision (b) of
this rule shall remain in full force and effect.
This rule recognizes defendant's right to bail and directs that the judge
shall be guided by the Bail Reform Act of 1984 in determining the conditions of
release. Government of V.I. v. Texido, Terr. Ct. St. C. 1996, 35 V.I. 3.
Territorial Court Rule 141 governs the setting of bail before conviction
and requires the trial judge to be guided by the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C.
" 3141-3150, in determining the conditions for pretrial release of a
non-dangerous defendant. Georges v. Government of V.I., D.C.V.I. 1997, 36 V.I.
126, 958 F. Supp. 245.
The power to promulgate or continue the rule derives from Section 21(c)
of the Organic Act, thus the powers of the legislature to enact the Local
Detention Statute and of the Territorial Court to promulgate subdivision (b) of
this rule, making the Bail Reform Act applicable, emanate from the identical
source, ie., the Organic Act. Government of the Virgin Islands v. Thomas, Terr.
Ct. St. C. 1995, 32 V.I. 64.
The Bail Reform Act is applicable to the Territorial Court, not because
of the general provision of Rule 7, but pursuant to the more specific
provisions of subdivision (b) of this rule. Government of the Virgin Islands v.
Thomas, Terr. Ct St. C. 1995, 32 V.I. 64.
The 1984 Bail Reform Act has been made applicable to release proceedings
in the Territorial Court. Government of the Virgin Islands v. Thomas, Terr. Ct.
St. C. 1995, 32 V.I. 64.
The Bail Reform Act requires the court to engage in a two-step inquiry
before ordering a defendant released or detained pending trial: first, the
court must make a finding as to whether the defendant presents a risk of flight
if not detained and, if so, must then determine whether there are conditions or
a combination of conditions which reasonably will assure the presence of the
defendant at trial if he is released; the burden is on the government to show
the absence of such conditions by a perponderance of evidence. Government of
V.I. v. Texido, Terr. Ct. St. C. 1996, 35 V.I. 3.
Territorial Court Rule 141(b) requires the trial judge to be guided by
The Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. " 3141-3150 in considering pretrial release
of a defendant. Karpouzis v. Government of V.I., D.C.V.I. 1997, 36 V.I. 132,
961 F. Supp. 841.
A $2 million bail in a case involving a non violent charge amounts to the
sub rosa use of money bond to detain the appellant; it is the equivalent of a
straight detention order, which is not permitted for "non-dangerous"
offenses under the law of the Virgin Islands. Karpouzis v. Government of V.I.,
D.C.V.I. 1997, 36 V.I. 132, 961 F. Supp. 841.
The trial judge must order the release of a non-dangerous defendant,
subject to the least restrictive combination of conditions, including money
bail, which will reasonably assure the defendant's attendance at trial.
Karpouzis v. Government of V.I., D.C.V.I. 1997, 36 V.I. 132, 961 F. Supp. 841.
Pretrial detention provided for in the Bail Reform Act was intended to
prevent flight and to protect the safety of the community, and a lack of
reasonable assurance of either appearance or safety of others or the community
is sufficient for pretrial detention to be imposed; both is not required.
Government of V.I. v. Texido, Terr. Ct. St. C. 1996, 35 V.I. 3.
The seriousness of the kidnapping and rape charges, the likelihood of a
finding of guilt, combined with defendant's previous flight from the State of
Alaska during the pendency of a judicial proceeding, his use of aliases, lack
of ties to this community and the continued danger which he may pose, all led
the court to deny defendant's renewed motion for release on bail. Government of
V.I. v. Texido, Terr. Ct. St. C. 1996, 35 V.I. 3.
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