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Jaiman v. State

Superior Court of Rhode Island

March 3, 2015


Providence County Superior Court.

For Plaintiff: Richard B. Woolley, Esq.

For Defendant: Hector Jaiman, pro se.



In this appeal from the Magistrate's September 19, 2014 Decision, Hector Jaiman continues to complain about the adverse decision by the Parole Board's hearing officer who determined that there was probable cause to support a finding that Jaiman had failed to complete a residential treatment program. As a result of that probable cause determination, Jaiman was re-imprisoned to await full parole revocation proceedings, which are not the subject of this appeal.

Before the Magistrate, and again in this appeal, Jaiman complains (1) that the timing of his preliminary hearing was fatally flawed; (2) that he was denied his right to confront witnesses at that hearing; and (3) that the hearing officer was impermissibly biased. The Magistrate found those lamentations meritless, and this Court concurs with that sentiment.

Jaiman was convicted of first-degree murder after a jury trial in March of 2000 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Appeal of that conviction was rebuffed in State v. Jaiman, 850 A.2d 984 (R.I. 2004), and his subsequent appeal from an unsuccessful post-conviction relief application was also rejected. Jaiman v. State, 55 A.3d 224 (R.I. 2012). On February 11, 2013, he was placed at the Phoenix House in Exeter, Rhode Island, a residential facility for substance abuse and mental health treatment and counseling. Jaiman's eventual release on parole hinged upon his successful completion of the Phoenix House program. He failed.

Within about two months, Jaiman was expelled from the Phoenix House for violating a number of its rules. He was remanded to prison custody and thereafter unsuccessfully challenged his Phoenix House discharge at a preliminary/probable cause hearing. The allegations for which probable cause was ultimately found to expel Jaiman from that facility included (1) tardiness in returning to the premises after having been allowed liberties; (2) writing letters that referenced the proposed sale of drugs to female residents; and (3) the unauthorized possession and use of a cell phone. Although the letters suggesting the sale of contraband were probably the most significant misconduct, the record of the hearing expressly reflects that, "Mr. Jaiman was discharged for the totality of his behavior at the Phoenix House, not just the letters, the totality of his behavior." (Statement of Jaiman's Parole Officer Greg Williams; Decision of Lynne Corry, Interim Hearing Officer.)

Timeliness of Preliminary Hearing

At the outset, Jaiman contends that his preliminary hearing (also referred to as a probable cause hearing) was not timely convened because it transgressed the ten-day statutory window within which to hold such a hearing. G.L. 1956 § 13-8-18.1(d). He offers no claim of prejudice in connection with that professed error.

Dismissal from the Phoenix House resulted in Jaiman's arrest on April 24, 2013, and on that day he was provided with a Preliminary Notice of Parole Violation. That April 24 notice informed him that he could request a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was probable cause to conclude that he had violated the terms of his release to the Phoenix House. It also informed him of his rights at the hearing, including his right to counsel. Jaiman checked the space designated to opt for a hearing and returned the April 24 notice to the parole office.

Thereafter, on April 29, 2013, a Notice of Preliminary Hearing was issued reiterating Jaiman's rights, including his right to have the assistance of an attorney. That April 29 notice scheduled the hearing for May 6, 2013, well within the statutory ten-day period.

By May 6, however, Jaiman had not yet obtained an attorney, and he was granted a continuance to engage one. After counsel was acquired, delays ensued to accommodate Jaiman and his lawyer, and the preliminary hearing was eventually convened on July 16, 2013. As a result of that two-month hiatus between the issuance of the April 29 notice and the hearing, Jaiman claims that the parole revocation charges should be dismissed. The Court disagrees.

Rescheduling Jaiman's hearing to July was largely attributable to accommodating his lawyer's calendar. When delays result from continuances requested by, say, a defendant in a criminal case, those postponements are not counted against the state in the context of speedy trial delays. State v. Shatney, 572 A.2d 872 (R.I. 1990). So, too, where, as here, in proceedings far less restrictive than criminal trial settings, ...

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