Sunday, August 13, 2017

Judge Wrongly Relied On Defendant's Christian Religious Background To Enhance Sentence

In Miller v. People of the Virgin Islands, (VI Sup. Ct., Aug. 9, 2017), the Virgin Islands Supreme Court remanded for re-sentencing a case in which defendant plead guilty as an accessory after the fact to embezzlement of funds from a hospital.  The Supreme Court concluded that the sentencing judge wrongly relied on defendant's religion to impose a longer sentence that the one recommended in defendant's plea agreement. The sentencing judge had referred to defendant's "claims to Christianity and her theology degree" in explaining the longer sentence.