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State v. Wray

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

November 12, 2014

State
v.
Allen Wray.

Providence County Superior Court No. 2013-214-C.A. (P1/06-1262A). Associate Justice Francis J. Darigan, Jr., Associate Justice Bennett R. Gallo.

For State: Aaron L. Weisman Department of Attorney General

For Defendant: Matthew S. Dawson, Esq.

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

OPINION

Paul A. Suttell Chief Justice

The defendant, Allen Wray, appeals from an order of the Superior Court denying his motion for credit for time served while awaiting trial and sentencing. 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 considering the parties' written and oral submissions and reviewing the record, we conclude that cause has not been shown and that this case may be decided without further briefing or argument. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm in part and vacate in part the order of the Superior Court.

I

Facts and Procedural History

On January 30, 2006, defendant appeared in District Court and was held without bail on a charge of two counts of first-degree robbery.[1] On the same day, he also appeared in Superior Court and was presented as a violator of probation for four previously imposed suspended sentences resulting from drug-related charges (case number P2/97-2695A).[2] On April 12, 2006, defendant was adjudicated a probation violator and the suspension was removed from those sentences.[3]

On April 14, 2006, two days after he was adjudicated a violator, defendant was indicted on the two counts of first-degree robbery with which he had been charged in January; he was tried in December 2008 and found guilty on both counts. The defendant was sentenced on April 24, 2009 to twenty years, ten years to serve and ten years suspended, with probation, on each count, both sentences to run concurrently with each other and with the sentences in defendant's prior drug-related charges.[4] The warrant for commitment indicated that the sentences for defendant's robbery conviction were to begin on the day of sentencing, April 24, 2009.

The defendant, acting pro se, filed a "motion to reduce/modify sentence" on May 7, 2012, as well as a petition for writ of mandamus on May 30, 2012, arguing that his sentence in the robbery case should have been reduced by the number of days that he spent incarcerated between his arrest in January 2006 and his sentencing in April 2009. The defendant asserted that he was entitled to credit for this time pursuant to the plain language of G.L. 1956 § 12-19-2(a).[5] The trial justice treated these filings as a motion for credit for time served and, after at least one hearing, [6] issued an order denying the motion. The defendant timely appealed.[7]

II

Standard of Review

The disposition of the issue presented on appeal requires us to construe certain provisions of § 12-19-2(a). "This Court reviews questions of statutory construction and interpretation de novo." National Refrigeration, Inc. v. Capital Properties, Inc., 88 A.3d 1150, 1156 (R.I. 2014) (quoting Morel v. Napolitano, 64 A.3d 1176, 1179 (R.I. 2013)). "When the statutory language is clear and unambiguous, we give the words their plain and ordinary meaning." Id. (quoting Morel, 64 A.3d at 1179). "The plain meaning approach, however, is not the equivalent of myopic literalism, and it is entirely proper for us to look to the sense and meaning fairly deducible from the context." Id. (quoting Peloquin v. Haven Health Center of Greenville, LLC, 61 A.3d 419, 425 (R.I. 2013)). "[O]ur ultimate goal ...


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