United States v. Defreitas

The defendant was employed with a government agency in the Virgin Islands and was convicted of soliciting sexual favors in exchange for not reporting a female immigrant who was unlawfully present. The Third Circuit vacated one of several convictions but wrote primarily to “take this opportunity to identify several considerations that should guide a court’s decision of whether to certify questions to a state’s highest court.” The defendant asked the Third Circuit to certify questions on interpreting a local statute to the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands. The Third Circuit identified three critical factors: (1) “the relevant question’s eventual resolution should be unclear and control an issue in the case”; (2) “courts should consider what . . . the importance of the question”; and (3) “courts should consider judicial economy.” The Court then declined the defendant’s invitation to certify his question to the local courts.

Search entire site by keyword...

Search for Summaries by Hashtag...

Past Opinion Summaries