Government of the VI v. Vanterpool, No. 13-4400 (3d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Vanterpool was convicted under V.I. Code tit. 14, section 706(1) for obsessive phone calls and faxes to his ex-girlfriend Jacqueline Webster. On appeal, he argued that: Section 706 was unconstitutional under the First Amendment; that his trial counsel’s performance amounted to an ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment; and that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support Vanterpool’s multiple convictions. The Third Circuit remanded. While the First Amendment challenge would have been viable had it been raised during trial, the plain error standard precluded relief on appeal. Trial counsel’s failure to preserve the First Amendment challenge satisfied the prejudice prong of the Strickland test, but the record was insufficient regarding whether trial counsel’s performance fell below professional norms.