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.

In re Joseph C.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

February 20, 2018

In re Joseph C.

         Providence County Family Court, (04-2556-4) Kathleen A. Voccola Associate Justice

          For Petitioner: Jane M. McSoley Department of Attorney General.

          For Respondent: Angela M. Yingling Office of the Public Defender Mark Hirschboeck Rule 9 Student Attorney.

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

          OPINION

          William P. Robinson III Associate Justice.

         The juvenile respondent, Joseph C., appeals from a May 22, 2015 judgment of the Family Court finding him delinquent for committing first-degree robbery as well as conspiracy to commit robbery. 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 a close review of the record and careful consideration of the parties' arguments (both written and oral), we are satisfied that cause has not been shown and that this appeal may be decided at this time. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the Family Court.

         I Facts and Travel

         On March 2, 2015, the Providence Police Department filed two delinquency petitions in the Family Court against respondent, alleging that he had committed two offenses that, if committed by an adult, would constitute the felony offenses of first-degree robbery, in violation of G.L. 1956 § 11-39-1, and conspiracy to commit robbery, in violation of G.L. 1956 § 11-1-6. A trial was held before a justice of the Family Court on May 21 and 22, 2015. We summarize below the salient aspects of what transpired at that trial.

         A The Testimony of Officer Juan Rodrigues

         Officer Juan Rodrigues was the first witness to testify. He stated that, on March 1, 2015, he was working as a patrol officer in Providence and that, at approximately 7:00 p.m. on that date, he was dispatched to a reported armed robbery at a business that was both a gas station and a convenience store located at the corner of Manton Avenue and Sheridan Street in Providence (the Manton Avenue store). Officer Rodrigues testified that he and his partner responded first to the Manton Avenue store and then left to search for suspects along the bicycle path at the end of Sheridan Street, which path he entered on foot. He further testified that, while walking on the bicycle path, he was approached by a male, who was detained and searched. Officer Rodrigues further stated that he did not find any weapons on the suspect's person, but he said that he followed the tracks of the suspect's footprints in the snow (a blizzard then being in progress) to a point off the path, where the officer located a BB gun, gloves, and a ski mask approximately twenty feet from where the suspect was apprehended.

         B The Testimony of Officer Miguel Mena-Torres

         Officer Miguel Mena-Torres testified next. He stated that, at approximately 7:00 p.m. on March 1, 2015, he was on duty as a patrol officer in Providence when he received a call about a robbery "at gun point;" he said that he responded to the scene of the reported robbery by driving to Glenbridge Avenue in Providence, near a bicycle path. He testified that, as he approached the bicycle path on foot, he saw two people running up a hill, one of whom would later identify himself as D.M.[1] Officer Mena-Torres stated that, after briefly giving chase, he ordered D.M. to "get down on the ground" and that D.M. complied. The officer testified that he then searched D.M. and found in his possession a BB gun and $36.00 in one dollar bills.

         C The Testimony of Detective Robert Melaragno

         Detective Robert Melaragno testified that, at around 7:15 p.m. on March 1, 2015, he "monitored a call" about a robbery at the Manton Avenue store. He stated that he responded to the store and spoke with Mamuad Bekra[2]-the store clerk on duty at the time of the reported robbery; the detective added that, while at the store, he watched a portion of the store's video surveillance footage.[3]

         Detective Melaragno further testified that he returned to the police station from the Manton Avenue store and interviewed[4] respondent who, in the presence of his mother, confessed to committing two acts which, if committed by an adult, would constitute the offenses of first-degree robbery and conspiracy. The detective added that respondent admitted that he had called a friend, one K.J., between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. on the evening in question and that, in the detective's words, respondent and K.J. "discussed committing the robbery." It was Det. Melaragno's further testimony that respondent said that he had gone to K.J.'s house and that, "when he arrived there[, ] [D.M.] was also at [K.J.]'s house" and the three individuals "discussed committing the robbery." Detective Melaragno testified that respondent explained that the two BB guns used during the robbery "came from" two different neighbors and that the three individuals who had met at K.J.'s house went by cab to the Manton Avenue store. He testified that respondent stated that, when the cab arrived at the store, D.M. and K.J. "entered the store before [respondent]" carrying the BB guns and that D.M. and K.J. "told the [store] clerk to get on the floor and open the register." Detective Melaragno added that respondent explained that he then "went around the counter" and "emptied the cash out of the register" and that the three individuals "fled from the store" and headed towards Merino Park, near the bicycle path. The detective stated that respondent admitted to dropping the BB gun, a pair of gloves, and a ski mask in the snow as the police approached. At trial, Det. Melaragno identified the BB gun, ski mask, and gloves which were recovered by Officer Rodrigues on the night of the robbery.

         Detective Melaragno further stated that, during his interview of respondent, he showed him two photographs and that respondent identified the individuals depicted in those photographs as K.J. and D.M. and acknowledged that both of them had "accompanied him in the robbery." The recording of Det. ...


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.