Office of the Territorial Public Defender, U.S. Virgin Islands

// FAQ – Family

What is a Juvenile Transfer?

A juvenile transfer refers to any felony crime committed by a minor that is applicable to Title 5 V.I.C. §2508. What this means is that under Virgin Islands law, there are specific offenses, if committed by a Minor, can be transferred to adult court for further disposition.

Are there jury trials in Juvenile Court?

No. Since Juvenile matters are not open to the public, all juvenile matters are presided over by the Family Court Judge.

Are Juvenile Hearings open to the public?

No. Juvenile Hearings are open only to certain individuals, such as the attorneys involved, social workers from the Department of Human Services, and possibly a representative from the Youth Rehabilitation Center (if the Minor has been detained).

Who is present at Juvenile Hearings?

At Juvenile Hearings, both Defense and Prosecuting Attorneys, parents/guardians for the Minor, the Minor, any adult that the Minor’s family may deem be allowed to be present and a representative from the Department of Human Services. It is mandatory for a representative from the Department of Human Services to be present at all Juvenile hearings.

Are Juvenile cases kept confidential?

Yes, Juvenile cases are kept confidential and the media can only present information to the public about the actual crime, but are not provided information regarding the Minor’s name, age, school that he/she may attend and the parents’/guardians’ information for publishing.

What is an Initial Hearing?

An Initial Hearing is similar to an Arraignment Hearing in the adult court. It is a formal hearing where the Minor will be formally charged. The Minor will plead Not Delinquent (same as Not Guilty). Deadline dates will be provided for both the Prosecutor and Defense Attorneys.

What is a Disposition?

A Disposition Hearing is a hearing similar to a Sentencing Hearing in adult court; at this hearing the Court can sentence the Minor, based upon recommendations from the Department of Human Services to the Youth Rehabilitation Center (YRC), Probation or Counseling, etc.