Providence County Superior Court, (P1/04-1031A) Netti C.
Vogel Associate Justice.
State: Christopher R. Bush Department of the Attorney
Defendant: Javier Merida, Pro Se.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and
Gilbert V. Indeglia Associate Justice.
defendant, Javier Merida (Merida or defendant), appeals
pro se from an order of the Superior Court denying
his motion to correct sentence, pursuant to Rule 35 of the
Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure. On February 28,
2019, 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 hearing the parties' arguments and reviewing the
memoranda submitted by the parties, we are satisfied that
cause has not been shown. Accordingly, further briefing or
argument is not required to decide this matter. For the
reasons explained herein, we affirm the order of the Superior
Court thoroughly recounted the underlying facts of this
matter in our consideration of defendant's direct appeal
and postconviction-relief appeal. Therefore, we only recount
facts relevant to this appeal and other facts necessary for
2006, defendant was tried and convicted by a jury of two
counts of first-degree child molestation sexual assault, in
violation of G.L. 1956 § 11-37-8.1, and one count of
second-degree child molestation sexual assault, in violation
of § 11-37-8.3, for acts committed against his
granddaughter. State v. Merida, 960 A.2d 228, 230,
231 (R.I. 2008). On July 7, 2006, the trial justice sentenced
defendant to two forty-year terms of imprisonment, with
twenty years to serve and twenty years suspended, with
probation, on the two first-degree child molestation sexual
assault counts; and one thirty-year term, with ten years to
serve and twenty years suspended, with probation, on the
second-degree child molestation sexual assault count; all
sentences were to be served concurrently. Id. at
May 2004 until his determination of guilt in May 2006,
defendant was on what he characterizes as "twenty-four
hour electronic home confinement" as a condition of
bail. In October 2016, following the completion
of defendant's direct and postconviction-relief appeals,
he filed a "motion for correction of sentence"
pro se, pursuant to Rule 35, which was later heard
by the same trial justice who presided over Merida's
trial. Merida also filed a motion to appoint counsel for the
hearing, but the trial justice denied the motion.
hearing on his motion to correct his sentence, defendant
argued that the twenty-four months he spent on home
confinement should be credited toward his overall sentence,
pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 12-19-2(a). Specifically, he
argued that this Court's opinion in State v.
Quattrocchi, 687 A.2d 78 (R.I. 1996), established that
home confinement was a form of "imprisonment" for
which credit could be given pursuant to § 12-19-2(a).
The trial justice then reviewed several relevant cases
decided by this Court, taking time to explain each case to
defendant and distinguishing the cases based on their
facts. Merida also argued that a prisoner, whom
he knew, had received credit toward his sentence for the time
he spent on home confinement while awaiting trial. However,
at that hearing, defendant could not remember all the details
of that case. The trial justice therefore continued the
hearing, at defendant's request, so that defendant could
obtain more information regarding the case he had mentioned.
week later, on November 9, 2016, at the continued hearing,
Merida argued that two of his cellmates, Mr. Bagley and Mr.
DePina, received credit for home confinement toward their
overall sentence. However, the trial justice found those
cases distinguishable, explaining that, "[i]t appears
that Mr. Bagley was sentenced for bail violation and asked
for credit for time served and home confinement, but it
wasn't a sentencing after trial where he was held in home
confinement as a condition of bail prior to trial." She
further explained that Mr. DePina was sentenced after a plea
agreement with a "capped" plea, stating that,
"if I did give him credit for time served in home
confinement, it was in accordance with an agreement whereby
he agreed to plead guilty and he pled guilty." Having
heard defendant's arguments, the trial justice issued a
bench decision denying defendant's request to receive
credit for time spent on home confinement.
filed a timely notice of appeal on December 1,
2016. Before this Court, Merida argues that: (1)
the trial justice erred in her interpretation of case
precedent, specifically our opinion in Quattrocchi,
arguing that the interpretation was inconsistent with the
provisions of § 12-19-2(a); (2) his equal-protection
rights were violated by virtue of the failure to award him
credit for his pretrial time on home
confinement; and (3) the trial justice erred in denying