District Court of the Virgin Islands
LocationCharlotte Amalie
More locations
Appeals toThird Circuit
AuthorityArticle IV tribunal
Created by48 U.S.C. §§ 16111617
Composition methodPresidential nomination
with Senate advice and consent
Judge term length10 years (and until successor is chosen and qualified)
Chief JudgeRobert A. Molloy
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyDelia L. Smith

The District Court of the Virgin Islands[1] (in case citations, D.V.I.) is a United States territorial court with jurisdiction over federal and diversity actions in the United States Virgin Islands, a United States territory and more specifically an insular area that is an unincorporated organized territory. The court sits in both St. Croix and St. Thomas. Unlike United States district courts, judges on the District Court of the Virgin Islands do not have life tenure, as the court is not an Article III court. Instead, the court is an Article IV court, created pursuant to Congress's Article IV, Section 3 powers. Judges serve for terms of ten years at a time, and until a successor is chosen and qualified.[2] Appeals of the court's decisions are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.[3][4]

The District Court used to have jurisdiction over all local civil actions brought in the Virgin Islands, but in 1976 the Virgin Islands Legislature—as allowed by the Revised Organic Act of 1954—gave a portion of this jurisdiction to the former Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, at that time the local trial court. The jurisdiction of the Territorial Court was expanded to all civil actions in 1990. Similarly, the Legislature gave the Territorial Court jurisdiction over certain criminal actions brought under Virgin Islands law in 1985 and expanded that jurisdiction to all criminal cases in 1993, although the United States Attorney may still bring certain criminal actions in the District Court in some circumstances. In 2004 the Territorial Court was renamed the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.

Before the creation of the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands in 2007, the Appellate Division of the District Court heard appeals from the Superior Court in three-judge panels. From 2007, the Supreme Court hears these appeals exclusively, with its decisions subject to review by the United States Supreme Court if that court decides to grant certiorari.

The current United States attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands is Delia L. Smith.

Current judges

As of April 27, 2021:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
12 Chief Judge Robert A. Molloy Charlotte Amalie 1975 2020–present 2021–present Trump
11 District Judge Wilma A. Lewis Christiansted 1956 2011–present 2013–2021 Obama
10 Senior Judge Curtis V. Gómez inactive 1953 2005–2020 2005–2013 2020–present G.W. Bush

Vacancy and pending nomination

Seat Prior judge's duty station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
Christiansted Wilma A. Lewis Term expired November 10, 2021

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 George Philip Jones[5][6][7] VI 1877–1954 1936–1937 F. Roosevelt expiration of recess appointment
2 William H. Hastie VI 1904–1976 1937–1939 F. Roosevelt resignation
3 Herman E. Moore[8] VI 1892–1980 1939–1957 F. Roosevelt retirement
4 Walter A. Gordon VI 1894–1976 1958–1968 Eisenhower expiration of term
5 Almeric L. Christian[9][10] VI 1919–1999 1969–1990 1971–1988 1990–1993 Nixon retirement
6 Warren H. Young[11][12] VI 1916–1980 1971–1980 Nixon death
7 David V. O'Brien[13][14][15] VI 1932–1989 1981–1989 1988–1989 Reagan death
8 Thomas K. Moore[10][16] VI 1938– 1992–2005 1992–1999 G.H.W. Bush expiration of term
9 Raymond L. Finch VI 1940–2023 1994–2008 1999–2005 2008–2018 Clinton retirement

See also


  1. ^ "48 U.S. Code § 1614 – Judges of District Court". Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  2. ^ 48 U.S.C. § 1614
  3. ^ 48 U.S.C. § 1613a
  4. ^ "Virgin Islands Law Component Outline Material" (PDF). Virgin Islands Supreme Court. March 2018. p. v. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  5. ^ Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America 1939.
  6. ^ "Minnesota Democracy Is Proud of Its Leaders", The Saint Paul Globe (August 3, 1902), p. 23, 28.
  7. ^ "George P. Jones, 1904 Convention Delegate, Dies", Star Tribune (December 14, 1954), p. 20.
  8. ^ Studies in the History of the United States Courts of the Third Circuit.
  9. ^ "Judge Almeric Christian Dies". stjohnsource.com. September 1999. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "PN725—Thomas K. Moore—The Judiciary". www.congress.gov. June 26, 1992. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  11. ^ The Federal reporter. Second series, Volume 568.
  12. ^ "Obituary: Warren H. Young", New York Daily News (June 7, 1980), p. 15.
  13. ^ "PN815—David V. O'Brien—The Judiciary". www.congress.gov. November 5, 1981. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  14. ^ "PN1220—Raymond L. Finch—The Judiciary". www.congress.gov. May 6, 1994. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  15. ^ "David V. O'Brien, Federal Judge, 57". The New York Times. December 26, 1989. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  16. ^ "Thomas K Moore, United States District Court for the District of the US Virgin Islands: Profile and Biography". Bloomberg.com.