Plaintiff: Kaitlin Tracey, Esq.
Defendant: Daniel P. Griffin, Esq.
matter is presently before this Court on the State's
appeal from the entry of a deferred sentence agreement by a
Magistrate of the Superior Court, pursuant to Rule 2.9 of the
Superior Court Rules of Practice.
Notice of Appeal, the State contends that a judicial
officer's imposition of a deferred sentence, in the
absence of agreement by the Office of Attorney General,
violates the doctrine of separation of powers. For the
reasons that follow, this Court accepts the Magistrate's
entry into the deferred sentence agreement and denies the
Mitchell Parenteau (Defendant), was charged with possession
of a controlled substance, to wit, Alprazolam, arising from
an incident in Coventry on April 1, 2016. He was also charged
with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. On April 9,
2018, Defendant pled nolo contendere to each of the
aforementioned charges before a Magistrate of the Superior
Court. In accordance with G.L. 1956 § 12-19-19, the
Magistrate formally deferred sentencing Defendant for a
period of three years. At that hearing, it appears that the State
presented little more than a standard objection for the
record. The State filed its Notice of Appeal on April 10,
2.9(h) of the Superior Court Rules of Practice governs this
Court's review of a Superior Court Magistrate's
decision. This Court is required to make a de novo
determination of those portions of the Magistrate's
decision to which the appeal is directed, and it may accept,
reject or modify, in whole or in part, the judgment, order,
or decree of the Magistrate. R.P. 2.9(h). This Court is not
required to formally conduct a new hearing, and it may
consider the record developed before the Magistrate in making
its own determination whether there is competent evidence
upon which the Magistrate's judgment rests.
well settled that one who challenges the constitutionality of
a statute bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable
doubt that the act violates a specific provision of the Rhode
Island Constitution. Narragansett Indian Tribe v.
State, 110 A.3d 1160, 1162 (R.I. 2015); Oden v.
Schwartz, 71 A.3d 438, 456 (R.I. 2013); Mackie v.
State, 936 A.2d 588, 595 (R.I. 2007); State v.
Garnetto, 75 R.I. 86, 93, 63 A.2d 777, 781 (1949).
"'[L]egislative enactments of the General Assembly
are presumed to be valid and constitutional.'"
State v. Faria, 947 A.2d 863, 867 (R.I. 2008)
(quoting Newport Court Club Assocs. v. Town
Council of Middletown, 800 A.2d 405, 409 (R.I. 2002)).
Accordingly, "[w]hen reviewing a challenge to a
statute's constitutionality, this Court [must] exercise[
] the 'greatest possible caution.'"
Mackie, 936 A.2d at 595 (quoting Cherenzia v.
Lynch, 847 A.2d 818, 822 (R.I. 2004)). Further, this
Court is required to "attach every reasonable intendment
in favor of * * * constitutionality in order to preserve the
statute." Gem Plumbing & Heating Co. v.
Rossi, 867 A.2d 796, 808 (R.I. 2005) (internal quotation