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HomeNewsArchivesGov. Turnbull Signs Bill to Establish V.I. Supreme Court

Gov. Turnbull Signs Bill to Establish V.I. Supreme Court

Nov. 23, 2006 — Gov. Charles W. Turnbull signed legislation Wednesday appropriating money from the General Fund for the establishment and construction of the V.I. Supreme Court on St. Croix.
In his Nov. 22 letter to Senate President Lorraine L. Berry, Turnbull wrote that he "does not intend to impede" the establishment of a Supreme Court so he has appropriated $5.75 million for the project. Turnbull has been a staunch opponent of the court being located on St. Croix, instead of in the capital, Charlotte Amalie.
Turnbull filed a lawsuit July 28 in V.I. Superior Court on St. Thomas against the Legislature to prevent them from establishing the new court on St. Croix. In the lawsuit, Turnbull asked the court to declare building the court on St. Croix unconstitutional.
"I still maintain that the principal offices of the three branches of territorial government should be located in the capital," the governor wrote.
The Supreme Court bill was originally proposed by Sen. Carlton Dowe in the 24th Legislature. Dowe lost his seat in the 25th legislature, and the bill was amended by Sen. Ronald E. Russell to locate the court on St. Croix.
Turnbull signed the measure into law October 2004. At that time he cited several "flaws" in the language and asked the Legislature to make the appropriate changes. At the same time, Turnbull said if the Legislature does not act promptly, he will have to call a special session to address the matter (See "Virgin Islands to Have its Own Supreme Court").
Judges Maria M. Cabret, Rhys S. Hodge and Ive A. Swan were unanimously confirmed by the Legislature to the V.I. Supreme Court in an October special session called by Turnbull (See "New Era of V.I. Justice Begins as Senate Approves Supreme Court Nominees").
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