Davis v. State, 051820 RISUP, PM-2010-4824

Docket Nº:C. A. PM-2010-4824
Opinion Judge:MCGUIRL, J.
Attorney:For Plaintiff: Judith Crowell, Esq. For Defendant: Jeanine P. McConaghy, Esq.
Case Date:May 18, 2020
Court:Superior Court of Rhode Island




C. A. No. PM-2010-4824

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence

May 18, 2020

For Plaintiff: Judith Crowell, Esq.

For Defendant: Jeanine P. McConaghy, Esq.



Before this Court is the State's Motion to Reconsider that portion of a Decision entered by the Court on October 16, 2019, in which it granted postconviction relief to Joshua Davis (Davis) on Count II (first-degree child molestation) of his indictment.1 Jurisdiction is pursuant to Super. R. Civ. P. 60(b).


Facts and Travel

On August 25, 2006, a grand jury returned an indictment against Davis for first-degree murder (Count I); first-degree child molestation (Count II); and kidnapping of a minor (Count III). On April 17, 2008, Davis changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on all charges. The Court accepted his plea and on June 25, 2008, sentenced Davis to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on Count I, and consecutive terms of life imprisonment on the other two counts.

Davis later filed an Application for Postconviction Relief. This Court held an evidentiary hearing regarding the application on November 15 and November 27, 2018. Prior to issuing a written Decision, the Court became aware of a statute entitled "Community supervision for child molestation offenses[, ]" as set forth in G.L. 1956 § 13-8-30. The Court invited the parties back to address the effect, if any, said statute might have on the postconviction relief proceedings. Accordingly, on July 10, 2019, the Court reconvened the hearing. At the hearing, the Petitioner, his counsel, and the State proceeded under the belief that the current statute was the operative version.

On October 16, 2019, the Court denied postconviction relief on Counts I and III; however, it granted postconviction relief on Count II. The Court held that Davis should have been informed of the direct consequences of his plea under § 13-8-30, and that failure to do so rendered the plea to be not knowing and voluntary as it related to Count II. In particular, the Court was concerned about the lack of notice of the consequence of "electronic monitoring via an active global positioning system [GPS] for life." Section 13-8-30.

After it issued the Decision, the Court discovered, when reviewing the statute for a different case, that the statute had been amended in 2006. It was in 2006 that the provision regarding wearing a GPS for life was added. The Court notified the parties, whereupon the State filed a motion for reconsideration of Count II. A hearing was conducted on December 11, 2019, with counsel and the Petitioner present.

The State contends that the current version of the community supervision statue applies only to offenses by "[p]ersons who commit first degree child molestation sexual assault on or after January 1, 2007[, ]" (G.L. 1956 § 11-37-8.2.1(b)(1)), and that because the offense date was May 7, 2006, the current version of the statute, which contains the GPS requirement, was misapplied.2 The State's position is that the older statute, which was applicable, was not onerous and therefore was not a significant burden. It further contended that considering Davis received a sentence of life imprisonment for Count II, he never would be subject to community supervision; accordingly, community supervision would not constitute either a direct or collateral consequence. Petitioner's counsel acknowledged that the onerous statute was not in...

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