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Lamoureux v. State

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

June 27, 2014

Roger T. Lamoureux
v.
State of Rhode Island

Providence County Superior Court. (PM 01-5649). Associate Justice Edwin J. Gale.

For Applicant: Michael Ahn, Esq.

For State: Jeanine P. McConaghy, Department of Attorney General.

Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

OPINION

Page 959

Robinson, Justice.

The applicant, Roger T. Lamoureux, appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court denying his application for postconviction relief. This case came before the Supreme Court pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After a close review of the record and careful consideration of the parties' arguments (both written and oral), we are satisfied that cause has not been shown and that this appeal may be decided at this time. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.

Page 960

I

Facts and Travel

In 1990, applicant was convicted on one count of first-degree sexual assault, in violation of G.L. 1956 § 11-37-2. He was sentenced to a term of twenty-five years imprisonment at the Adult Correctional Institutions, with fifteen years to serve and ten years suspended, with probation. This Court affirmed the conviction in 1993. State v. Lamoureux, 623 A.2d 9 (R.I. 1993).

On October 24, 2001, applicant filed a pro se application for postconviction relief in Superior Court pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 10-9.1-1; he based his application on his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and errors on the part of the trial justice. On February 9, 2004, the court-appointed attorney who was then representing applicant moved to withdraw as the attorney of record; in support of that motion, he filed a " no-merit" memorandum, pursuant to Shatney v. State, 755 A.2d 130, 136 (R.I. 2000). It was the attorney's opinion that the application for postconviction relief was " without merit" because applicant's claims were either " frivolous" or had already been addressed by this Court on direct appeal. That same day, a hearing was held before a justice of the Superior Court on the attorney's motion to withdraw, which hearing applicant attended.[1] After that hearing, the hearing justice granted the attorney's motion, and applicant proceeded pro se with respect to his application.[2]

After the hearing justice granted the court-appointed attorney's motion to withdraw, the state filed a motion to dismiss the application for postconviction relief. On October 28, 2004, the parties again appeared before the hearing justice. At that hearing, applicant asserted that he had not yet had the opportunity to speak to an attorney with respect to his claim that his trial counsel had been ineffective; and he indicated that he needed an " evidentiary hearing" in order to substantiate that claim. The applicant acknowledged, however, that he had briefly met with his most recent court-appointed attorney prior to the latter's filing of the Shatney memorandum, which memorandum addressed the merits of applicant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. The hearing justice concluded the hearing without ruling on applicant's application for postconviction relief; he stated that, because of a scheduling issue, he would refer the matter to another hearing justice.

On November 3, 2004, a different hearing justice entered a prehearing order indicating that a final hearing on the application would be held on November 22, 2004. The order expressly stated that applicant " shall be prepared to offer any additional evidence as to the issues raised in his motion at that time" and that there would be no further continuances " except on just cause shown." In due course,[3] a final evidentiary hearing was held on the merits of applicant's postconviction relief application. At that hearing, applicant stated that the only relevant issue was his claim that ...


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