Virgin Islands

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All data is current as of 2013, unless otherwise noted.
Return to the list of all States & Territories.

Read about a particular aspect of the right to counsel in the Virgin Islands by clicking on the heading for that issue. Or [Expand All] to see and print from one location all of the facts about the right to counsel in the Virgin Islands, then [Collapse All] whenever you need to do so.

How the right to counsel is administered and structured
State commission: yes – limited authority
Branch of government: judicial

The five members of the Public Defender Administration Board, in the judicial branch, are appointed by: the president of the Virgin Islands Bar Association (1 appointment); the presiding judge of the Superior Court (2); the governor (1); and the president of the Virgin Islands Legislature (1). The board oversees the Office of the Territorial Public Defender (OTPD), which is responsible for providing right to counsel services in the superior and appellate courts. The Board appoints the chief public defender of the OTPD to a three-year term, terminable only for just cause.

Judges directly administer the appointment of private attorneys in cases where the OTPD has a conflict.

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How the right to counsel is funded
Percentage of territorial funding: 100%
Percentage of local funding: 0%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%

The methods used to provide public counsel

The Office of the Territorial Public Defender (OTPD) is responsible for providing right to counsel services in all superior and appellate courts, representing indigent clients “at every stage of the proceedings against him, and at any appeals or other remedies before or after conviction that he considers to be in the interest of justice.” OTPD has two divisions, one serving the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, and one serving St. Croix.

The judiciary maintains a list of qualified attorneys to handle conflict of interest cases.

Legal authority

Organic Act of the Virgin Islands, 48 U.S.C. § 1561

Virgin Islands Code Annotated, tit. 5, § 3503 (counsel for indigent defendants), and §§ 3520 through 3528 (public defender)

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.

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