634 A.2d 866 (R.I. 1993), 93-310, Keenan v. Vose

Docket Nº:93-310-M.P.
Citation:634 A.2d 866
Opinion Judge:WEISBERGER, Justice.
Party Name:Kenneth KEENAN v. George VOSE.
Attorney:Jerry H. Elmer, Licht & Semonoff, Providence, for plaintiff. Jeffrey Pine, Atty. Gen., James R. Lee, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant.
Case Date:December 10, 1993
Court:Supreme Court of Rhode Island
 
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Page 866

634 A.2d 866 (R.I. 1993)

Kenneth KEENAN

v.

George VOSE.

No. 93-310-M.P.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

December 10, 1993.

Page 867

Jerry H. Elmer, Licht & Semonoff, Providence, for plaintiff.

Jeffrey Pine, Atty. Gen., James R. Lee, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant.

OPINION

WEISBERGER, Justice.

This case came before us pursuant to a question certified to this court by a judge of the United States District Court pursuant to Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules of Appellate Procedure, which authorizes this court to answer questions of law certified to it by inter alia the United States District Court. The certified question is as follows: "Does Rhode Island General Law § 42-56-22 prohibit a person committed to the adult correctional institutions the use of those funds, during the person's incarceration, which are payable only 'at the time of his or her release from the institution' in order to retain an attorney to pursue a collateral post-conviction appeal of his conviction?"

The certified question requires us to construe G.L.1956 (1993 Reenactment) § 42-56-22. The statute reads in its entirety as follows:

"Labor by persons committed on mesne process or to answer criminal charge.--(a) Every person who shall be committed to the adult correctional institutions to answer for any criminal offense, whether convicted or awaiting trial, or on mesne process in any qui tam or penal action, or on mesne process or execution in any civil action, may be permitted to labor as aforesaid, in the discretion of the director or his or her designee for the state, and in that case may be paid not more than three dollars ($3.00) a day for every day he or she shall labor with the express consent of the director or his or her designee of the department, to be credited to the prisoner's account by the assistant director of administration or his or her designee and to be disbursed to the prisoner in accordance with rules and regulations of the institutions; provided, further, however, there shall be maintained on account at all times at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the earnings of each prisoner up to a maximum of one hundred dollars ($100) for those persons serving a sentence of life imprisonment without parole under §§ 11-23-2, 12-19.2-1 et seq., and up to a maximum of five hundred dollars ($500) for all other prisoners; those funds to be turned over to the...

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