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State v. Beaudoin

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

April 26, 2016

Robert Beaudoin.

Providence County P2/09-51 A Superior Court Associate Justice Robert D. Krause.

Virginia M. McGinn Department of Attorney General

Kara J. Maguire Office of the Public Defender

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


Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell

The defendant, Robert Beaudoin, seeks review of a judgment finding him to be in violation of the terms of his probation and sentencing him to serve two years of a previously imposed suspended sentence. On appeal, the defendant argues that the hearing justice acted arbitrarily and capriciously in finding that he violated the terms of his probation. 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 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 the judgment of the Superior Court.[1]


Facts and Procedural History

The defendant pled nolo contendere in June 2009 to one count of felony assault. He was sentenced to fifteen years with five months to serve at the Adult Correctional Institutions and the balance suspended with probation. On May 14, 2012, the state filed a notice of probation violation pursuant to Rule 32(f) of the Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure, alleging that defendant had failed to comply with a specific condition of his probation by "fail[ing] to keep the peace and be of good behavior." The violation report also stated that "[s]aid violation of probation is not contingent upon any specific criminal offense." Nevertheless, the report referred to various attached documents from the Woonsocket Police Department containing allegations of second-degree sexual assault and second-degree robbery. A three-day violation hearing was held in Superior Court in July 2012, during which eight witnesses testified about certain events occurring on or about May 9, 2012. As the issues raised by defendant on appeal concern the factual findings and credibility assessments of the hearing justice, we set forth the testimony of the various witnesses in some detail.

The complaining witness, Matthew-who was twenty-three years old at the time of the hearing-testified that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was twelve years old that left him disabled. He stated that, as a result of his injury, he has problems with short-term memory and he goes to the Resource for Human Development (RHD) for treatment. However, Matthew described his long-term memory as "excellent." He added that he takes "Depakote" and "Abilify" to "stabilize [his] mood, and * * * stabilize all the functions up in [his] head, making sure everything is in an equilibrium balance."

Matthew testified that on May 9, 2012, he rode his bicycle to his then girlfriend, Hiedi Caron's, apartment in Woonsocket. He testified that normally he stored his bicycle in Caron's third-floor apartment, but when he arrived on May 9, defendant, a friend of Caron's family, offered to help him bring his bicycle to defendant's second-floor apartment. After helping Matthew store his bicycle in the apartment, Matthew testified, defendant asked him "if he could show [him] something."

Matthew testified that he then followed defendant into the bedroom of defendant's second-floor apartment because he knew and trusted defendant. Matthew stated that he heard the door "click" and realized that defendant had locked it. In the bedroom, defendant showed Matthew a "scorpion sword, " which Matthew described as "about two-and-a-half feet long" with a "beautiful handle on it." Matthew testified that defendant also showed him a "22 caliber hand gun" and a "[n]ine-and-a-half inch[] long, ten inch[] long" dagger. Matthew stated that defendant approached his right side and defendant's "hand then went into [Matthew's] pants." Matthew explained that he was wearing "loose-fitted shorts for biking" and that defendant "grabbed [his] scrotum very tightly and said, '[n]ice eyes.' And then after that [defendant] asked [Matthew] if [he] had $50." Matthew added that he was in "excruciating pain." Matthew further testified that when defendant asked for $50, "[i]t was more of a demand for it." He described: "It was, like, he said, 'I know you have $50. Give it to me or else, ' because he had a gun and one sword and dagger in his room." Matthew gave defendant a $50 bill and then left the apartment to go upstairs to see Caron.

Matthew testified that he had not told Caron about the incident while he was at her house. However, after Matthew returned home that night, he spoke with Caron on the phone and, at that point, he told Caron what had happened. Matthew explained that he had not reported this incident to his parents because they were both in the hospital on that day. Matthew stated that, the following day, he disclosed the incident to a staff member at the RHD, and then reported it to the Woonsocket Police Department.[2]

Subsequently, at the hearing, the state presented Det. Jamie Paone of the Woonsocket Police Department, who assisted with interviewing defendant. Detective Paone testified that defendant told her that he had sold a sword to Matthew and that Matthew's parents were upset over the sale and wanted the money returned to Matthew. Detective Paone further stated that, ...

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