County Superior Court
Plaintiff: Noah J. Kilroy, Esq.
Defendant: Paul A. Carnes, Esq.
this Court is the Rhode Island Parole Board's
(Respondent, Parole Board, or State) motion for summary
judgment on a petition for postconviction relief.
Petitioner Lance Dellay (Petitioner or Mr. Dellay) opposes
the State's motion for summary judgment and has filed a
cross-motion for summary judgment.
Parole Board denied Mr. Dellay's application for parole
on October 21, 2013. Thereafter, Mr. Dellay filed a petition
for postconviction relief on January 7, 2015, arguing that
the Parole Board violated his procedural due process rights
and is requesting that this Court remand the case to the
Parole Board for a new hearing. The Court exercises
jurisdiction pursuant to G.L. 1956 §§ 10-9.1-1,
et seq. and Rule 56 of the Rhode Island Superior
Court Rules of Civil Procedure.
parties entered into an agreed statement of facts, which are
summarized as follows: On September 30, 1994, Mr. Dellay was
sentenced after being convicted by a jury of second degree
murder and larceny over $500 (P1-1992-3293A). (Joint
Stipulation of Undisputed Facts, ¶ 1.) The Court
sentenced him to sixty years at the Adult Correctional
Institution, with fifty years to serve, and ten years
suspended with probation. Id. at ¶ 2. Mr.
Dellay also received a sentence of ten years to serve for the
larceny conviction to run concurrent with the murder
October 21, 2013, the Parole Board unanimously denied Mr.
Dellay's request for parole after a hearing. Id.
at ¶¶ 3-4. The minutes of the Parole Board's
meeting state, "The Board votes to deny parole. The
reason for the denial is due to the violent nature of Mr.
Dellay's offense and the length of his sentence. We will
see him again in October 2016." Department of
Corrections, Inmate Parole Information (Parole Board's
Minutes). Petitioner filed a petition for postconviction
relief on January 7, 2015 challenging the sufficiency of the
content of the Parole Board's written decision.
Standard of Review
relief cases are civil proceedings; thus, Rule 56 of the
Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure is applicable to the
present case. Doyle v. State, 122 R.I. 590, 593, 411
A.2d 907, 909 (1980). In reviewing a motion for summary
judgment, the trial judge must review the evidence "in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party."
Long v. Dell, Inc., 93 A.3d 988, 995 (R.I. 2014).
During this inquiry, the trial judge "must refrain from
weighing the evidence or passing upon issues of
credibility." DeMaio v. Ciccone, 59 A.3d 125,
130 (R.I. 2013) (citing Doe v. Gelineau, 732 A.2d
43, 48 (R.I. 1999)). Summary judgment is appropriate when
there "'is no genuine issue of material fact to be
decided . . .'" Id. at 129 (quoting
Pereira v. Fitzgerald, 21 A.3d 369, 372 (R.I.
case, Petitioner and Respondent have stipulated to the
pertinent facts. Therefore, there are no genuine issues of
material fact to be decided. See DeMaio, 59 A.3d at
130. Thus, the matter is ripe for summary judgment.
remedies are set forth in §§ 10-9.1-1, et.
seq., and provide that "'one who has been
convicted of a crime may seek collateral review of that
conviction based on alleged violations of his or her
constitutional rights.'" Brown v. State, 32
A.3d 901, 907 (R.I. 2011) (quoting Lynch v. State,
13 A.3d 603, 605 (R.I. 2011)). "[P]ost-conviction relief
is available to a defendant convicted of a crime who contends
that his original conviction or sentence violated rights that
the state or federal constitutions secured to him."
State v. Laurence, 18 A.3d 512, 521 (R.I. 2011)
(quoting Otero v. State, 996 A.2d 667, 670 (R.I.
2010) (internal quotation marks omitted)). The applicant
bears "'the burden of proving, by a preponderance of
the evidence, that [postconviction] relief is warranted . .
.'" Hazard v. State, 64 A.3d 749, 756 (R.I.
2013) (quoting Anderson v. State, 45 A.3d 594, 601
(R.I. 2012)). Our Supreme Court has held that postconviction
relief is an appropriate vehicle for inmates who challenge
decisions of the Parole Board. State v. Ouimette,
117 R.I. 361, 363, 367 A.2d 704, 706 (1976). However, the
Superior Court's review of a Parole Board's decision
is limited to whether or not the petitioner's due process
rights were violated. Id.
Dellay essentially sets forth two arguments as to why the
Parole Board's written decision violated his due process
rights under both the Rhode Island and United States
Constitutions: First, the decision did not address an
individualized risk assessment, which he argues is mandatory
pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 13-8-14.1. Second, the decision
failed to sufficiently state the grounds and supporting
factors in its written decision denying Mr. Dellay's
application. Petitioner argues that the failure to provide
sufficient grounds for the denial deprives him of a factual
basis by which he is informed of his shortcomings. Petitioner
also argues that failure to provide sufficient grounds
prevents this Court from being able to competently review the
Parole Board's decision.
State contends that the Parole Board did not violate Mr.
Dellay's due process rights because the Parole
Board's decision fulfills statutory and due process
requirements as articulated in Bernard v. Vose, 730
A.2d 30, 32 (R.I. 1999) ("due process only entitles the
parole applicant an opportunity to be heard and to be
informed in what respects the applicant falls short of
qualifying for parole"). Further, the State contends
§ 13-8-14.1 does not require the Parole Board to
reference an individualized risk assessment in its decision.
The State also argues that the minutes of the meeting
sufficiently set forth the Parole ...