Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Pacheco

Superior Court of Rhode Island

July 21, 2016

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND
v.
FRANCISCO PACHECO

         Providence County Superior Court

          For Plaintiff: Jeffrey Q. Morin, Esq.

          For Defendant: Megan F. Jackson, Esq.

          DECISION

          VAN COUYGHEN, J.

         This matter is before the Court on remand from the Supreme Court for further findings regarding whether Defendant Francisco Pacheco's (Defendant) delay in filing his Motion to Dismiss the Criminal Information pursuant to Super. R. Crim. P. 12(b)(2) was for good cause. After considering the facts presented, the appropriate law, and the arguments of counsel, this Court finds that good cause has been shown regarding Defendant's failure to comply with the temporal requirements of Rule 12(b)(3).

         I Facts and Travel

         The parties agreed to certain stipulated facts and, in addition, a hearing was conducted on April 11, 2016. The relevant facts are as follows. On June 20, 2012, Defendant was arraigned in superior court on Criminal Information P2-2012-1403A, which charged him with: Count I, second offense possession of marijuana; Count II, reckless driving; Count III, simple assault; Count IV, resisting arrest; and Count V, second offense refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test. On the same date, Defendant entered a plea of not guilty. On June 26, 2012, Assistant Public Defender Richard Brousseau (Attorney Brousseau) entered his appearance on behalf of Defendant. Attorney Brousseau filed a motion for discovery on July 17, 2012, and the State responded to that request on August 3, 2012.

         On July 3, 2013, Defendant was arraigned on an additional Criminal Information unrelated to this case, P2-2013-1073ADV, which charged him with domestic assault, third offense, and a violation of a no-contact order to which he entered a plea of not guilty. The domestic assault had a minimum mandatory sentence of one year imprisonment at the Adult Correctional Institution.

         On July 15, 2013, Defendant appeared at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal for a hearing on an alleged refusal to submit to a preliminary breathalyzer test arising out of the events relevant to Criminal Information P2-2012-1403A. Defendant appeared pro se at that hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, a Magistrate of the Traffic Tribunal dismissed the refusal charge against Defendant after finding that the State had failed to meet its burden of proof.[1] On August 13, 2013, less than one month after the Traffic Tribunal hearing, Attorney Brousseau suffered a debilitating medical event that precluded him from returning to work and rendered him unavailable to successor counsel.

         As a result of this debilitating medical event, on September 3, 2013, Attorney Brousseau's cases were reassigned to Assistant Public Defender John Cotoia (Attorney Cotoia). Attorney Cotoia, who was previously assigned to the prearraignment calendar, was transferred to the felony trial calendar in order to assume Attorney Brousseau's cases. Attorney Brousseau's caseload at the time consisted of more than eighty cases, including sixteen cases that had been placed on the felony trial calendar. Many of these cases were capital cases-including several murder cases-and were scheduled to go to trial in the fall of 2013.

         Matthew Toro, the Director of the Rhode Island Public Defender's Office (Director Toro), testified regarding the standard procedure when an attorney's caseload is reassigned to another attorney within the office. Director Toro stated that the outgoing attorney is required to meet with his supervisor to discuss the reassigned cases. In addition, the outgoing attorney prepares a transfer memorandum outlining the strengths and weaknesses of each case. In this case, Attorney Cotoia did not have the benefit of any transfer memoranda, nor was he or his supervisor able to communicate with Attorney Brousseau regarding any of the reassigned cases. The outgoing attorney would also be expected to send a letter notifying each client of the new attorney's name and contact information. Additionally, Attorney Cotoia was still expected to comply with the requirements of stepping into the shoes as the new attorney of record. Attorney Cotoia was obligated to review all new case files, meet with any incarcerated clients within seventy-two hours, and schedule appointments with those clients whose cases had been passed for trial.

         In preparing for the two pending felony cases against Defendant, Attorney Cotoia initially focused on the case that had a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison with the intention that the other pending case could be disposed of at the same time. In late January of 2014, Attorney Cotoia met with Defendant to prepare for trial and learned for the first time of the July 15, 2013 Traffic Tribunal hearing. Also at that meeting, Defendant provided Attorney Cotoia with a digital recording of the July 15, 2013 hearing. After reviewing the testimony, Attorney Cotoia became aware of the potential for the dismissal of Count V, which was the refusal to submit to a breathalyzer, based on collateral estoppel grounds.

         On February 25, 2014, Attorney Cotoia filed a Motion to Dismiss Count V of the original Criminal Information based upon collateral estoppel. The State filed its objection on February 27, 2014. On March 5, 2014, the day the trial was set to begin before this Court, the State filed a Motion to Sever Count II of the Criminal Information. The Court heard argument on both parties' motions that morning. The Court granted the State's Motion to Sever Count II. The Court denied Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Count V of the Criminal Information. The Court's decision was based upon the merits of the case as well as Defendant's failure to comply with the temporal requirements of Rule 12(b)(3). After conviction, Defendant timely appealed this Court's denial ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.