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Adrian v. State

Superior Court of Rhode Island

May 23, 2016

CHARLES ADRIAN
v.
STATE OF RHODE ISLAND

         Providence County Superior Court

          For Plaintiff: John F. Cicilline, Esq.

          For Defendant: Jeanine P. McConaghy, Esq.

          DECISION

          PROCACCINI, J.

         This matter came to be heard on September 22, 2015 and March 18, 2016 before, the Superior Court, Procaccini, J., on Charles Adrian's Application for Post-Conviction Relief pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 10-9.1-8.

         I

         Facts and Travel

         Charles Adrian (Petitioner or Mr. Adrian) was charged with one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance in violation of G.L. 1956 § 21-28-4.01(A)(2)(a) for delivering heroin to Paul Sylvia on or about September 27, 2002 in Cranston, Rhode Island. On June 4, 2003, Mr. Adrian entered a plea of nolo contendere, ultimately receiving a five-year suspended sentence. Mr. Adrian was represented by Attorney Emili Vaziri (Attorney Vaziri) throughout the pre-trial process and the plea colloquy.

         On March 31, 2014, Mr. Adrian filed the present application for post-conviction relief (the Application) pursuant to § 10-9.1-8, essentially alleging that his plea colloquy failed to satisfy the requirements of Rule 11 of the Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure. First, Mr. Adrian argues that he did not actually enter a plea of nolo contendere because neither Mr. Adrian nor his attorney actually said "nolo contendere."[1] Second, Mr. Adrian claims that he was not adequately apprised of the nature of the charges against him and the consequences of his plea. More pointedly, Mr. Adrian posits that the colloquy failed to establish that he was forfeiting certain constitutional rights as a result of his plea, namely his right to assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment. As a result, he maintains that he did not enter his plea voluntarily and knowingly. Finally, Mr. Adrian contends that his plea was not supported by a sufficient factual basis. In response, the State argues that there is sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that Mr. Adrian understood the nature of the charge and the consequences of his plea. The State additionally maintains that there was a sufficient factual basis to support the plea. The Court conducted a hearing on the Application on September 22, 2015, Mr. Adrian appearing by video, and March 8, 2016.

         II

         Standard of Review

         Rhode Island General Laws § 10-9.1-1 creates a statutory remedy for post-conviction relief that is "available to any person who has been convicted of a crime and who thereafter alleges either that the conviction violated the applicant's constitutional rights or that the existence of newly discovered material facts requires vacation of the conviction in the interest of justice." DeCiantis v. State, 24 A.3d 557, 569 (R.I. 2011). The statute reads, in pertinent part:

"10-9.1-1. Remedy--To whom available--Conditions.
"(a) Any person who has been convicted of, or sentenced for, a crime, a violation of law, or a violation of probationary or deferred ...

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