Friday, March 26, 2004

USVI: SCt in the wings

After lying dormant a couple of years, the movement to establish a V.I. Supreme Court has re-emerged.

Sen. Carlton Dowe, who is working on legislation to establish a territorial appellate court, asked about 50 V.I. Bar Association members Wednesday for their input on the legislation. Dowe has been working to establish the court since 2002, when Gov. Charles Turnbull, citing a need for public hearings and more funding, vetoed a $2.5 million appropriation for it.

At the V.I. Bar Association's meeting Wednesday, which connected members on St. Thomas and St. Croix through videoconferencing, Dowe said he would meet with members of the Bar Association and Territorial Presiding Judge Maria Cabret at the end of next week to formalize and finish the legislation.

"The Organic Act of 1984 gives us the authority to have a Supreme Court," Dowe said. "It has been 20-some years, and we have not moved forward."

Territorial Court decisions currently are appealed to District Court. If a further appeal is sought, the next step is to take the case to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

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