Providence County Superior Court (P2/13-2025A) Associate
Justice William E. Carnes, Jr.
State: Lauren S. Zurier Department of Attorney General
Defendant: George J. West, Esq.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and
WILLIAM P. ROBINSON JUSTICE
1, 2017, the defendant, Francisco Guerrero, petitioned this
Court for the issuance of a writ of certiorari to allow him
to appeal a December 1, 2015 judgment of conviction on
criminal charges relating to an altercation that occurred in
September of 2012. (A jury had found him guilty on June 29,
2015, and the trial justice thereafter denied his motion for
a new trial.) On May 18, 2017, we granted the petition for a
writ of certiorari.
this Court, defendant contends that the trial justice
overlooked and misconceived material evidence and was
otherwise clearly wrong in denying his motion for a new
trial, asserting that the state did not meet its burden of
proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in
case came before the Supreme Court pursuant to an order
directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues
raised in this case 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 case
may be decided at this time.
reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of
the Superior Court.
Facts and Travel
afternoon of September 1, 2012, there was an altercation
between two taxi drivers, defendant and one Abdoylaye Diop,
outside the Providence Amtrak station. Following the
altercation, Mr. Diop was taken from the scene and admitted
to Rhode Island Hospital for the treatment of injuries which
he sustained during the altercation.
11, 2013, the state filed a criminal information, charging
Mr. Guerrero with: (1) assault with a dangerous weapon, to
wit, a knife, in violation of G.L. 1956 § 11-5-2; (2)
assault and battery resulting in serious bodily injury, in
violation of § 11-5-2; and (3) wearing or carrying
concealed on his person a knife having a blade of more than
three inches in length, in violation of G.L. 1956 §
defendant was tried before a jury in Providence County
Superior Court on June 24, 25, 26, and 29, 2015. We relate
below the salient aspects of what transpired at that trial.
Testimony at Trial
The Testimony of Abdoylaye Diop
Diop testified that, on September 1, 2012, in the course of
his employment as a taxi driver, he went to the Amtrak
station in order to pick up a fare. He stated that he parked
his taxi in the line of taxis and then went to join two of
his taxi driver friends who were sitting on a nearby cement
Diop further testified that defendant, with whom Mr. Diop
stated he had some familiarity, was also in the taxi line at
the Amtrak station that day. Mr. Diop described defendant as
being shorter and older than he. Mr. Diop stated that, on the
day in question, after he had been sitting on the wall for
"like, one to two minute[s]," defendant, who was
standing beside his own taxi, pointed toward Mr. Diop and
said: "You. Hey. Why are you looking at me?" Mr.
Diop testified that the three men on the wall asked defendant
to whom he was speaking and that defendant pointed at Mr.
Diop and said: "You. You know who I'm talking to.
You. Why are you looking at me? You know I don't like
you." Mr. Diop testified that he responded to defendant:
"Do you own my eyes? I can look wherever I want to
look." He testified that he then rose from the cement
wall and that he and defendant walked toward each other while
he repeatedly asked defendant: "Do you own my
Diop further testified that, when the two men had closed the
distance between them, he pushed defendant with both hands,
employing sufficient force that defendant "moved a
little bit." Mr. Diop stated that, at some point during
that altercation, defendant stabbed him in the stomach with a
knife. Mr. Diop further testified that, after defendant had
stabbed him in the stomach, defendant also stabbed him in his
left leg. According to Mr. Diop, defendant stabbed him in the