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As Hurricane Irma Approaches, 3rd Circuit Extends Filing Deadlines


Hurricane Irma Extends Filing Deadlines

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently announced that, due to weather conditions in the Virgin Islands, any non-emergency filing (e.g. briefs, case opening documents,) in a Virgin Islands case that is due during the period September 5 through September 12 will be due on September 13. Further extensions may be granted depending on conditions.

Courthouses Closed

The District Court of the Virgin Islands courthouse is also closed from noon on September 5 through September 6.

So, why are the Virgin Islands in the 3rd Circuit?

In a case of judicial gerrymandering, the U.S. Virgin Islands just happens to be part of the Third Circuit, which also includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.  Yes, you read that correctly. Scranton is in the same Circuit as St. Croix. This gives 3rd Circuit judges, who normally sit in Philadelphia, the chance to hear appeals in a tropical location.

Although this is a great opportunity for our Circuit’s judges now, it was apparently not as desirable a location when the islands became U.S. territory in 1917. At that time, the islands were described as a “hellhole.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an interesting article worth reading on the “mystery” of how one of our prime tourist destinations ended up in our Circuit.

~Jerry Geiger

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