Byline: R.I. Lawyers Weekly Staff
Where an appellant who was convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy and discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence applied for postconviction relief, it was not error for the application to be denied despite the defendant's argument that newly discovered evidence had come to light that tended to prove that a state witness had testified falsely at the appellant's trial.
" On December 31, 2001, applicant and two friends, Monty France (France) and Hubert 'Tall Man' Gordon (Gordon), set out in a 1992 Ford Taurus in pursuit 'of a profitable drug opportunity in Boston.' ... However, the plans were foiled when the vehicle broke down. ... After the car was towed to a local gas station, the men were spotted removing the license plates from the vehicle, and a North Attleboro police officer was dispatched to investigate the suspicious behavior. ... At that point, applicant was stranded after his two friends, France and Gordon, were arrested on outstanding warrants. ... The applicant called his friend, T.J. Patel, who brought applicant to a hotel for the night.
"The next day, January 1, 2002, Patel picked applicant up at the hotel 'and the two drove around for some time, finally ending up in the vicinity of the Founder's Brook Motel in Portsmouth.' ... That same day, the manager of that motel was murdered. ... A subsequent investigation led the police to Patel, which disclosed applicant's acquaintance with Patel and applicant's possible involvement in the murder. ... Ultimately, applicant was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, and conspiracy. ... After a trial, applicant was convicted of all three charges.
"On August 6, 2014, a hearing was held before a justice of the Superior Court on the application for postconviction relief. At the hearing, Corey Day was the first witness to testify.
"Day testified that he eventually learned that applicant was convicted for the murder and that it 'concerned' him because France was being forced to testify that applicant committed the crime when, in fact, France had told Day otherwise. Day testified that, on November 25, 2008, due to this concern, he wrote a letter to Attorney [Robert] Mann to offer the information he had with regard to France's testimony.
"Before this Court, applicant asserts that the hearing justice erred when he determined that the testimony of Day...