Washington County Superior Court WM 14-15 Associate Justice
Edward C. Clifton
Applicant: Paul Dinsmore, Esq.
State: Aaron L. Weisman Department of Attorney General
Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia,
applicant, Harold Drew, appeals from a Superior Court
judgment denying and dismissing his application for
postconviction relief. This case came before this Court for oral
argument on November 27, 2018, pursuant to an order directing
the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in
this appeal should not summarily be decided. After hearing
the arguments of counsel and examining the memoranda filed on
behalf of the parties, we are of the opinion that cause has
not been shown, and we proceed to decide the appeal at this
time without further briefing or argument.
2005, Drew was convicted of first degree murder, discharging
a firearm during a crime of violence, and three counts of
entering a dwelling with intent to commit a larceny therein,
all relating to the 2003 murder of Harold Jackson Andrews.
Drew's convictions for first degree murder and
discharging a firearm during a crime of violence resulted in
two consecutive life terms of imprisonment at the Adult
Correctional Institutions, and he received ten years to serve
for each of the three counts of breaking and entering, which
were to be served concurrently with each other and the
sentence for first degree murder. His conviction was affirmed
by this Court in 2007. State v. Drew, 919 A.2d 397
(R.I. 2007). Drew later filed a new trial motion in the
Superior Court on the grounds of newly discovered evidence;
that motion was denied, and that denial was affirmed by this
Court in 2013. State v. Drew, 79 A.3d 32, 34, 36
2014, following that appeal, Drew filed an application for
postconviction relief in the Superior Court. During the
jury's deliberation at his criminal trial, the jury had
requested that a portion of the trial testimony of the only
other eyewitness to Mr. Andrews's murder be read back to
the jury; the testimony related to the position of the
victim, Drew, and the eyewitness in relation to a pathway and
a road at the time Mr. Andrews was shot and killed. Drew
argued that the position of the three individuals was
important because it could confirm, based on the trajectory
of the bullet, that it could have been the eyewitness, and
not Drew, who shot and killed Mr. Andrews. Drew contended in
his postconviction relief memorandum that the trial justice
erred in reading too little of the trial testimony to the
jury. He also claimed that his trial counsel was
deficient because he failed to object to certain portions of
the eyewitness's testimony that had been read to the jury
and he had failed to ensure that a record was maintained as
to those portions of the testimony that the jury heard. The
hearing justice denied Drew's application, and Drew
timely appealed to this Court.
appeal, Drew, in a two-page statement submitted pursuant to
Article I, Rule 12A of the Supreme Court Rules of Appellate
Procedure that is bereft of any citation to the record or to
supporting authority, merely states that "the point to
be argued is missing transcript pages and proceedings in the
Superior Court and the appellate Court thereafter."
After the appeal was assigned to the show cause calendar for
argument, Drew followed his short and unclear prebriefing
statement with an equally insufficient two-page supplemental
statement that provides only the following as his argument:
"The Petitioner claims that the point to be argued is
that there are missing transcript pages in the proceedings in
the Superior Court and in the travel of the case in the
Appellate Court thereafter. This issue is a meritorious
ground to proceed further and is ground for the finding of
guilty by the jury to be overturned since these missing pages
are a benefit to the State of Rhode Island and are a
detriment to the preparation of the Petitioner's
12A(1) requires that "the appellant * * * shall file a
statement of the case and a summary of the issues proposed to
be argued" in his or her prebriefing statement.
See Giammarco v. Giammarco, 151 A.3d 1220,
1222 (R.I. 2017) (mem.). We have repeatedly held that
"[s]imply stating an issue for appellate review, without
a meaningful discussion thereof or legal briefing of the
issues, does not assist the Court in focusing on the legal
questions raised, and therefore constitutes a waiver of that
issue." Dunn's Corners Fire District v.
Westerly Ambulance Corps, 184 A.3d 230, 235
(R.I. 2018) (quoting Giddings v. Arpin, 160 A.3d
314, 316 (R.I. 2017) (mem.)); see also Terzian v.
Lombardi, 180 A.3d 555, 557 (R.I. 2018) ("We have
consistently made it clear that, under our raise-or-waive
rule, '[e]ven when a party has properly preserved its
alleged error of law in the lower court, a failure to raise
and develop it in its briefs constitutes a waiver of that
issue on appeal and in proceedings on remand.'")
(quoting McGarry v. Pielech, 108 A.3d 998,
1005 (R.I. 2015)). Moreover, "we will not 'scour the
record to identify facts in support of the plaintiff's
broad claims, and we will not give life to arguments that the
plaintiff has failed to develop on his own.'"
Terzian, 180 A.3d at 558 (quoting McMahon v.
Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., 131 A.3d 175, 176
(R.I. 2016) (mem.)).
Drew has failed to provide a meaningful, or even
intelligible, discussion of the "missing transcript
pages" issue in either of his filings with this Court.
His memoranda do not contain any citations to documents,
precedent, transcripts, or any part of the record of this
case. Moreover, Drew does not cite to any authority to
support any legal argument, if there is one, and does not
direct this Court to any error committed by the hearing
justice or by his counsel. We therefore have no choice but to
deny Drew's appeal.
foregoing reasons, we affirm the judgment of the Superior