9-Year-Old Boy Dies After Being Shot in Head in Croixville Housing Community; Police Detain 15-Year-Old

Concerned Residents Clean Christiansted Town Using Their Own Tools, Money, and Some Help from the VI Fire Service

Territory May See Veterans Cemetery Through DeGazon-Sponsored Bill

Credit and Debit Cards of WAPA Customers Were Compromised Since August 30th, WAPA Says, Authority to Finally Start Issuing Notification Via Mail and Email

Sports Tourism in VI Gains Momentum as DC United Team is set to Play Exhibition Soccer Game on St. Croix

Carnival Breeze Brings 3,700 Tourists to St. Croix During Maiden Call; Senators, Tourism Officials Want to See More

Limetree Bay Willing To Provide $10 Million To Help Add Life to a Dying G.E.R.S.

American Airlines to Serve St. Croix With New Flights Next Summer

The Sudden Death of Influential Roots Reggae Visionary, Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite Band and Akae Beka, Has Rocked the Virgin Islands and Reggae Community Around the World

Arthur A. Richards K-8 School Hosts Anti-Bullying Campaign

Come Out. Hang Out. Have Fun at The Meat Up, One of St. Thomas’ Latest Hot-Spot for Good Food with Friends and Family.

UVI Board of Trustees Approves $47.1 Million Fiscal Year 2020 Budget; Sets $3 Million Fundraising Goal

Man Dies During Early Morning Car Accident on St. Croix; Driver of Car Arrested (Updated)

'You Did Everything You Could to Prevent this from Happening': An Emotional Goodbye to Young Aaron Benjamin

Back in Business: Cost U Less on St. Thomas Opened its Doors Friday to Thousands of Customers 2 Years after Irma and Maria

Bill Aimed at Regulating Credit Use by Gov't Departments and Agencies Among Others Held in Committee

Juan Luis Hospital Announces Completion and Availability of Mobile Dialysis Facilities

Tractor Trailer With Tank Carrying Thousands Of Gallons of Liquified Gas Flips Near Cool Out Bar; Driver Injured But Alive

Credit and Debit Card Hack Through WAPA Appears to be Widespread in Virgin Islands; WAPA Says Support Services Will be Made Available to Affected Customers

Facing Life in Prison Without Parole, Mother and Boyfriend Plead Not Guilty in Murder of 4-Year-Old Boy

Expungement Bill Described As ‘Liberally Crafted’ Fails After Vehement Opposition From A.G. Walker

Crime / News / Top Stories / Virgin Islands / September 21, 2018

ST. THOMAS — An expungement bill sponsored by Senator Janelle Sarauw was held in the Committee on Homeland Security, Justice and Public Safety Thursday after it was called into question by Attorney General Claude Walker, seen above, who said the measure was the most liberally crafted of its kind in all of the U.S.

“First, before discussing this issue in more detail, I want the members of this committee to understand that I vehemently oppose this measure,” Mr. Walker began. “As written, this proposed legislation is the most liberally-crafted language when compared with the department’s survey of other jurisdictions’ expungement statutes. Today’s proposed measure will allow child molesters, rapists, and depraved murderers to apply for expungement after a period of only five years—and with no limit as to the number of expungements an individual may receive—contrary to other states’ statutes.”

He added, “This legislation, at a minimum, needs to explicitly list which types of felonies should he expungable and which are prohibited.”

Kirsten K. Greenaway, who has a criminal conviction on her record, testified in support of the bill, stating that 18 years ago she found herself around the wrong crowd and got into some trouble. “But I served my time and decided to better my life,” Ms. Greenaway said, adding that prior to her conviction, she was employed as a graduate practical nurse, which all came to a halt following her the 18-year-old incident.

H. Hannibal O’Bryan, deputy chief territorial public defender, testified in support of the bill as well. Among other things, he spoke of a young man he said had taken a wrong plea deal that has to this day hindered this young man’s progress.

“We as a society are charged with the responsibility of getting the most out of all our citizens irrespective of where they start out on the socioeconomic ladder,” Mr. O’Bryan said. “It has been shown on many occasions that the pursuit of happiness is at most an illusion if unaccompanied by realistic opportunity for upward mobility.”

But lawmakers — and even the bill’s sponsor, Ms. Sarauw — agreed with Mr. Walker’s concerns.

“The department cannot stress enough the gravity of what a felony crime may encompass—murder, rape, kidnapping, and domestic violence are but a few. As attorney general, I would not support any legislation that would allow all felonies carte blanche to be eligible for expungement—as this proposed measure does,” Mr. Walker said.

“There must be as much deterrence as possible for the most wicked or violent crimes. While the department understands that offenders convicted of a felony are entitled to a new start in life following their sentence, it is also cognizant of the fact that some of these individuals will re-offend in the future—oftentimes by committing crimes that are more serious than the ones they were previously convicted of—or have committed such a heinous felony that expungement is not warranted to begin with,” the attorney general added.

He said that language in the bill setting to five years the time before offenders can apply for expungement would adversely affect the Department of Justice’s ability to charge someone as a habitual offender. “In other words, if someone commits a felony within ten years of completing a sentence for a previous felony, then the department would be able to apply for habitual offender status for that individual. However, if that person has applied for and received an expungement within that ten-year period, then the habitual offender statute would be undermined. What would be the point of having a ten-year habitual offender statute if after five years a felon can apply for expungement,” Mr. Walker said.

Also of concern to D.O.J. was that the measure gave no guideline aside from passage of time to expungement one’s criminal record, and it sets no limit, either.

“There is no suggested guidelines or factors for a judge to follow when considering if the felon is rehabilitated—such as age, severity of the crime, and freedom from other criminal convictions,” the A.G. said. “In some jurisdictions, a court may grant expungement once, but this proposed legislation appears to allow convicted felons to apply multiple times—leading to an abuse and manipulation of the process.”

The bill was voted to be held in committee by all senators present at the hearing — Senator Bryan Smith, chairman of the committee, Jean Forde and Ms. Sarauw.

In other action, lawmakers voted favorably for Bill No. 32-0241 – An Act amending title 23 Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 10, sections 1006 and 1007, relating to the Virgin Islands Emergency Management Plan and Virgin Islands Territorial Management and Homeland Security Council.

It will be forwarded to the Committee on Rules and Judiciary.

Tags: , , , ,

Ernice Gilbert
I wear many hats, I suppose, but the one which fits me best would be journalism, second to that would be radio personality, thirdly singer/songwriter and down the line. I've been the Editor-In-Chief at my videogames website, Gamesthirst, for over 5 years, writing over 7,000 articles and more than 2 million words. I'm also very passionate about where I live, the United States Virgin Islands, and I'm intent on making it a better place by being resourceful and keeping our leaders honest. VI Consortium was birthed out of said desire, hopefully my efforts bear fruit. Reach me at [email protected].

Previous Post

American Red Cross Announces Micro Grant Program For Small Farmers In USVI; Applications Now Available

Next Post

David Mapp Subpoenaed Again After Failing To Appear Before Senate Committee

You might also like

Leave a Reply

More Story

American Red Cross Announces Micro Grant Program For Small Farmers In USVI; Applications Now Available

The Red Cross is providing micro grants up to $ 2,000 for U.S. Virgin Islands small farmers to help them recover and build...

September 20, 2018