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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, February 23, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesJudge OKs Charleswell's Release on Bail

Judge OKs Charleswell's Release on Bail

U.S. Magistrate Judge Geoffrey Barnard shot down a government motion Wednesday to hold veteran police officer Carlton Charleswell pending trial on obstruction of justice and jury tampering charges.
Charleswell will instead be released into the custody of his wife, Claudette Charleswell, and his $250,000 bail will be secured by property to be posted by his brother Calvin Charleswell, Barnard ruled. Carlton Charleswell will also be placed on home confinement and has been ordered to wear an electric monitoring device once released, the judge said.
During Charleswell’s arraignment and detention hearing Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nolan Paige argued that keeping Charleswell behind bars until trial was a matter of safety, not only for the community but for potential jurors and witnesses in the case.
Charleswell was arrested last week after a federal grand jury handed down a two-count indictment against him alleging he tried to influence and intimidate a grand juror involved in proceedings relating to a robbery case in which his daughter was a suspect. The indictment also alleges that Charleswell attempted to persuade a fellow VIPD officer to falsify evidence relating to the investigation.
Paige elaborated on the circumstances Wednesday, saying Charleswell allegedly hounded the juror and his supervisor — the head of security at Home Depot — while on the job.
"He said the head of security should contact the grand juror to talk about the case," Paige said. "And then he returned after the grand juror arrived at work and asked the head of security if he could talk to him. But the juror refused to talk about the investigation."
The robbery happened in May, at the Subway eatery in Nisky Center. The robber gained access through a back door that Paige said was "always kept locked." Charleswell’s daughter was the employee closest to the door when the robber entered, Paige added.
Meanwhile, a look through various cell phone records showed that the daughter’s cell phone — which was inside the store — and a cell phone later found in the robber’s truck were both registered to the daughter’s mother, Paige said.
While VIPD investigated the case, Charleswell tried to get a fellow officer to say one of the phones actually turned up under a bench a "distance away," Paige explained.
Paige also laid bare Charleswell’s VIPD file, which references Charleswell’s name in obstruction, civil rights violation, extortion and assault cases dating as far back as 1991 and running up to July 2000, in which a DEA source identified Charleswell as a guns and drugs trafficker.
The source said Charleswell’s son, who allegedly was involved in a shooting in Paul M. Pearson Gardens, had recently returned to the island after his parents got him away.
Charleswell abused his authority as an officer, whose job is to defend the public justice system, and for that, the court should "broadly" consider the community’s safety by taking into account the threats made on the system itself, Paige argued.
But defense attorney Monica Howard pointed out that none of the cases listed in Charleswell’s file ever led to arrests or convictions.
"The cases were either dropped or not pursued," she told the judge. "I find that to be relevant in this matter."
Howard said that there was also no evidence of violence in the alleged encounters with the grand juror and pointed to testimony given Wednesday by Claudette Charleswell, who described her husband as "supportive," "soft hearted" and "always willing to help somebody."
While saying that she didn’t want to see anything bad happen to her husband, Claudette Charleswell told Howard that she didn’t have a problem turning him in if he violates his bail conditions.
"I’m concerned about his health," Claudette Charleswell added later. "He has a lot of medical complications — too much for me to mention."
While no specifics on Carlton Charleswell’s health were given Wednesday, Howard said that he is "still in need of medication" and that it would be in his best interest to be released in case it was difficult to obtain certain prescriptions.
He’s not dangerous, Howard added, and the court can find other ways to "fashion his confinement."
In setting the bail conditions, Barnard also ordered that Charleswell surrender his passport and travel documents and submit to random testing.
Charleswell was suspended without pay from the police force following his arrest. His indictment stemmed from a months-long probe into corruption within the V.I. Police Department conducted by a joint local and federal task force consisting of the VIPD, U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The joint probe has also led to the recent indictment of VIPD Officer Jerome Blyden, VIPD Captain Enrique Saldana and VIPD Sergeant George Greene Jr.

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