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Rocheleau v. State

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Kent

May 4, 2015

CHRISTOPHER ROCHELEAU, Petitioner
v.
STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, Respondent

Kent County Superior Court

For Plaintiff: James T. McCormick, Esq.

For Defendant: Matthew L. LaMountain, Esq.

DECISION

RUBINE, J.

Before the Court is Christopher Rocheleau's Petition (Petition) for post-conviction relief pursuant to the provisions G.L. 1956 §§ 10-9.1-1, et seq. Petitioner has filed his Petition on the grounds that the Parole Board denied Petitioner his due process rights by denying him parole without providing adequate justification.

I

FACTS AND TRAVEL

On June 28, 1995, Petitioner pleaded nolo contendere to a charge of second degree murder. He received a full sentence of sixty years with thirty-eight years to serve and twenty-two years suspended with probation. Petitioner was first eligible for parole consideration after serving ten years of his sentence. His first parole consideration was June 15, 2004. At that time, parole was denied. Petitioner was reconsidered for parole three more times.[1] In each instance the Parole Board minutes reflect that the reason for denial was premised primarily upon the seriousness of the offense to which Petitioner plead. In two of the instances, in addition to the seriousness of the offense, the Parole Board indicated that the family of the victim opposed the granting of parole. The rationale for each parole determination made by the Board are as follows:

1. The Board minutes of June 15, 2004 reflect the reason for parole denial as follows: "to parole him at this time would depreciate the seriousness of the criminal offense."[2]
2. The Board minutes of June 18, 2008 reflect the reason for denial as "due to the serious nature of the crime."
3. The Board minutes of June 15, 2011 reflect the reason for parole denial as, "due to the serious nature of Mr. Rocheleau's crime. It should be noted that the victim's family did appear and opposed parole."
4. The Board minutes of June 18, 2014 reflect the reason for parole denial as follows: "due to the nature of Mr. Rocheleau's offense, length of his sentence, and the trauma caused to the victim's family."

Petitioner filed the instant Petition alleging that the Parole Board denied him his due process rights based upon the manner and reasons given for parole denial. Specifically, Petitioner has alleged that by providing the only reason for denial as the "seriousness of the offense, " the Parole Board violated Petitioner's due process rights because their reasoning ...


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