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Beaulieu-Bedford v. Rhode Island Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

December 27, 2018

NORMAN BEAULIEU-BEDFORD
v.
RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          LINCOLN D. ALMOND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Norman Beaulieu-Bedford ("Petitioner") filed his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on August 24, 2018. (ECF Doc. No. 1). On October 22, 2018, Respondent, Rhode Island Department of Corrections, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Petition as unexhausted and time-barred. (ECF Doc. No. 13). Petitioner filed his Objection on November 20, 2018. (ECF Doc, No. 22). This matter was referred to me for preliminary review, findings and recommended disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and LR Cv 72. The Court has determined that no hearing is necessary. After reviewing the Motion and the Petition, I recommend that the Motion to Dismiss (ECF Doc. No. 13) be GRANTED and that the Petition (ECF Doc. No. 1) be DISMISSED.

         Background

         Although not a model of clarity, [1] Petitioner's claims stem from his assertion "of illegal detention involving two separate illegal sentences." (ECF Doc. No. 22 at p. 16). In its Motion to Dismiss, the State sets forth the facts relating to Petitioner's relevant contacts with the State Court, which are summarized below. (ECF Doc. No. 13 at pp. 3-6).

         On May 22, 1998, a Providence County Superior Court jury convicted Petitioner of one count of first-degree child molestation and one count of second-degree child molestation in No. P1-1997-1715A. On July 10, 1998, the Superior Court sentenced the Petitioner to forty years at the Adult Correctional Institutions ("AG"), twenty years to serve, the balance suspended with probation for first-degree child molestation, and twenty years at the AG, ten years to serve, the balance suspended with probation for second-degree child molestation.

         On November 23, 2010, the Rhode Island Supreme Court entered an order accepting a confession of error that the State of Rhode Island filed in which it agreed that the Superior Court deprived die Petitioner of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel during his closing argument at the May 1998 trial in that case. The Rhode Island Supreme Court vacated me Petitioner's judgment of conviction and remanded his case to the Superior Court for a new trial.

         On October 3, 2011, Petitioner entered a nolo contendere plea to the first-degree child molestation charge in P1-1997-1715A, and the State dismissed the remaining charge in the indictment. The Superior Court sentenced Petitioner to twenty-five years at the AG, fourteen years to serve, me balance suspended with probation. On information and belief, the credit for time served that Petitioner received satisfied the "time to serve" component of his new sentence.

         On December 29, 2015, the State filed a Rule 32(f) Notice of Probation Violation in No. P1-1997-1715A, and in No. P3-2015-0927A, a case in which, on information and belief, Petitioner entered a nolo contendere plea on April 13, 2015, to one count of receiving stolen goods valued under $1, 500.00 and received a one-year suspended sentence with probation. On information and belief, the State alleged that Petitioner violated the terms and conditions of his probation, based on conduct that gave rise to his being charged with the crimes of assault with intent to murder and felony assault (serious bodily injury). Following a violation hearing in March 2016, the Superior Court found that Petitioner violated the terms and conditions of his probation in both of his previous cases, but did not execute any portion of his suspended sentences. That same month, Petitioner waived his right to be criminally charged for that conduct by way of information and entered nolo contendere pleas in No. P2-2016-1092A to one count of assault with intent to commit specified felonies and one count of felony assault. The Superior Court sentenced him to concurrent sentences of twelve years at the ACI, six years to serve, the balance suspended with probation.

         In August 2016, Petitioner filed a State Application for post-conviction relief ("PCR Application") alleging that his two convictions in P2-2016-1092A violated the Federal and State Constitutions. On February 8, 2017, the Superior Court vacated Petitioner's judgment of conviction in P2-2016-1092A. Petitioner then entered nolo contendere pleas to two counts of felony assault, and the Superior Court sentenced him to concurrent sentences of thirteen years at the ACI, five years to serve, the balance suspended with probation. Petitioner subsequently withdrew his PCR Application that same day.

         Then, on April 27, 2017, Petitioner filed a State Application for post-conviction relief alleging that his 2011 child molestation conviction in Pl-1997-1715A violated the Federal and State Constitutions. The 2017 PCR Application is pending in the Rhode Island Superior Court.

         On June 4, 2018, Petitioner filed a State Application for post-conviction relief alleging that his 2017 felony assault convictions in P2-2016-1092A violated the Federal and State Constitutions. The Superior Court dismissed the 2018 PCR Application and entered judgment for the State on October 12, 2018 noting in its Order that "Petitioner failed to identify himself to the court, failed to cooperate with his court appointed attorney, and failed to prosecute the matter he filed with the court."

         Discussion

         28 U.S.C. §§ 2254(b)(1) and (c) codifies the exhaustion requirement in habeas cases brought by state prisoners; that section provides:

(b)(1) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not ...

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