Criminal - Sentence - Vindictiveness.


Byline: R.I. Lawyers Weekly Staff

Where (1) a defendant was convicted on one count of first-degree child molestation sexual assault, (2) he was sentenced to 60 years in prison, with 40 years to serve and the remainder suspended, with probation, (3) the conviction was vacated on appeal and (4) on remand, the defendant again was convicted and was sentenced to life imprisonment, the life sentence was not motivated by vindictiveness, so a denial of the defendant's motion to reduce his sentence should be affirmed.

"Before this Court, defendant contends, as he did below, that the trial justice abused his discretion by imposing a sentence significantly longer than the sentence imposed after defendant's first conviction. Specifically, defendant claims that, when the trial justice departed from the first sentence after retrial, imposing a sentence of life imprisonment, he violated defendant's right to due process because the court essentially punished defendant for successfully appealing his first conviction. This argument is without merit.

" The record in the case at bar discloses that defendant conceded that there was no vindictiveness by the trial justice when he imposed the life sentence after the second trial. Indeed, there is no evidence of vengeful or spiteful sentencing on the part of the second trial justice when he departed from the first sentence. Rather, the second trial justice affirmatively placed his reasons for imposing the longer sentence on the record. Furthermore, in the context of the second trial, which, again, was presided over by a...

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