Appeal from Superior Court. Providence County. (P1/90-4217A). Associate Justice Francis J. Darigan, Jr.
For State: Aaron L. Weisman, Department of Attorney General.
John S. Miguel, Defendant, Pro se.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.
The defendant, John S. Miguel, appeals pro se from a Superior Court order denying his motion to reduce what he contends was an illegal sentence imposed upon him pursuant to Rule 35 of the Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure in January of 1992. In the underlying criminal case, the defendant pled guilty to second-degree murder and received a life sentence. On appeal, he argues: (1) that his life sentence is illegal because he should have been sentenced for voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of thirty years; and (2) that the continued imposition of the life sentence is violative of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 1, section 8 of the Rhode Island Constitution.
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 careful review of the record and after consideration of the parties' written and oral submissions, 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 Superior Court's denial of defendant's motion to reduce his sentence.
Facts and Travel
The factual background as to what is now defendant's third appeal to this Court has been fully narrated in our two previous opinions relative to this case--viz., Miguel v. State, 774 A.2d 19 (R.I. 2001) (Miguel I) and Miguel v. State, 924 A.2d 3 (R.I. 2007) (mem.) (Miguel II). Accordingly, we shall recount here only the facts necessary to our analysis of this most recent appeal.
In September of 1990, Catherine Miguel was stabbed to death; and defendant, her husband, eventually pled guilty to the crime of second-degree murder.
Miguel I, 774 A.2d at 20. At the plea hearing, the trial justice engaged in a colloquy with defendant to ensure that defendant knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived his rights. Id. at 21 (" [I]t is apparent to us from the record from the proceedings below that the trial justice fully advised Miguel of his constitutional rights and of the direct consequences of his plea." ). The trial justice then sentenced defendant to life imprisonment at the Adult Correctional Institutions.
Following his plea and sentencing, defendant filed two applications for postconviction relief, both culminating in appeals to this Court, neither of which was availing.
See Miguel II, 924 A.2d at 5; Miguel I, 774 A.2d at 22. Presently before us is defendant's third attempt to challenge his plea and sentence; that challenge began on June 6, 2009, when he filed a " Motion to Reduce or Correct a ...