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Justice Maria M. Cabret

The Honorable Maria M. Cabret was the first of three children born to Miguel Angel Cabret and Epifania C. Cabret in the town of Frederiksted, St. Croix.  She attended St. Patrick's Elementary School and graduated from St. Joseph's High School in 1967.  Judge Cabret then attended Marymount Manhattan College in New York, New York where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971. Following her graduation, Judge Cabret taught Social Studies and English-As-A-Second-Language from 1971 to 1975 at the Claude O. Markoe Elementary School in Frederiksted.  In the 1974-75 school year, she was named "Teacher of the Year" by her colleagues, the highest honor awarded to outstanding educators in the public school system. 

  

In 1975, Judge Cabret enrolled in Howard University School of Law where she earned a Juris Doctor degree in May 1978.  As a result of her hard work and commitment to her legal studies, she graduated in the upper ten percent of her class, and was also the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for excellent achievement in the study of Constitutional Law. 

  

Upon obtaining her Juris Doctor degree, Judge Cabret returned to St. Croix and began her legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Raymond L. Finch, at what was then the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands.  As a young attorney, she first worked for Legal Services of the Virgin Islands, and then with the Office of the Territorial Public Defender, before moving on to private practice. As a private practitioner, she first worked in the field of insurance defense litigation and later concentrated in personal injury and commercial litigation 

  

In 1987, she was nominated to serve as Judge of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands by the Honorable Alexander A. Farrelly, Governor of the United States Virgin Islands.  With the unanimous consent of the Seventeenth Legislature, Judge Cabret on July 7, 1987, became the second woman, and first person of Puerto Rican descent to serve on the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands.  She was nominated to a second term by Governor Farrelly in 1993 and unanimously confirmed by the Twentieth Legislature. 

  

In 1994, Judge Cabret was designated Administrative Judge of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix Division.  On October 29, 1999, the Honorable Charles W. Turnbull, Governor of the United States Virgin Islands designated Judge Cabret as the Presiding Judge of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands and nominated her to a third term.  The Twenty-Third Legislature unanimously confirmed her nomination on March 1, 2000.  Once again, Judge Cabret made history by becoming the first woman, the first Crucian, and the first woman of Puerto Rican descent to be elevated to the position of Presiding Judge of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands.  A staunch advocate of judicial automation, Judge Cabret ensured that, under her leadership, the Superior Court was computerized and a variety of technology projects initiated, resulting in a more efficient court system. 

  

During her nineteen years on the bench, Judge Cabret has written numerous opinions addressing a vast range of complex legal and factual issues. In addition to her administrative duties and regular caseload, she handled the multi-party, complex asbestos litigation on St. Croix, which alone comprises 211 cases.  Moreover, she was designated many times to serve as an appellate court judge on the Appellate Division of the District Court of the Virgin Islands.  

  

On June 30, 2006, Judge Cabret retired and immediately assumed senior status on July 1,   2006, continuing to work on an almost daily basis to improve the administration of justice in the Territory. 

  

In November 2005, Judge Cabret was one of the first thirteen women inducted into the Virgin Islands Women's Hall of Fame by the Commission on the Status of Women, who established the Women's Hall of Fame in 2005 to recognize the outstanding contributions of women in the Virgin Islands. 

  

The Honorable Charles W. Turnbull on July 19, 2006, nominated Judge Cabret to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands.  She was unanimously confirmed along with the other nominees, the Honorable Rhys S. Hodge and the Honorable Ive Arlington Swan, by the Twenty-Sixth Legislature on October 27, 2006. 

  

Judge Cabret is a graduate of the American Academy of Judicial Education and the National Judicial College. She is a member of the Bar of the Virgin Islands and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  She is also a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the American Judges Association, the American Judicature Society, and the National Association of Women Judges.  Until her recent retirement, Judge Cabret was a member of the Conference of Chief Justices, the American Law Institute, the National Association of Court Managers, the Virgin Islands Judicial Council and the Law Revision Commission.  

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