RI.gov R.I. Government Agencies | Privacy Policy |

Appellate Unit

The Appellate Unit is charged with representing the State in all criminal matters before the Rhode Island Supreme Court, defending the State in federal courts and assisting prosecutors with legal research and analysis on a broad array of issues. In carrying out these responsibilities, the members of the Unit work with great diligence and passion to persuade members of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the members of the federal judiciary of the correctness of the State’s causes. The Unit’s attorneys work equally hard in assisting trial prosecutors with legal issues as they arise during the course of pre-trial and trial litigation, and assisting other attorneys in research and analysis on a variety of questions of concern.

The Appellate Unit filed with the Rhode Island Supreme Court 40 pre-briefing statements defending state-favorable judgments.

In 2013, the Unit filed with the Rhode Island Supreme Court 40 pre-briefing statements defending State-favorable judgments (of conviction, denying post-conviction relief, of probation violence, etc.) entered in the lower courts (usually the Superior Court). The Unit further submitted to the Rhode Island Supreme Court 29 full briefs, defending State-favorable judgments entered in the lower courts.

The Unit additionally filed with the Rhode Island Supreme Court 17 responsive memoranda in opposition to some defendant-requested extraordinary action. As well, the Unit defended against 12 federal habeas corpus petitions brought in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island (id.), and submitted one brief in a federal habeas corpus case in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In addition, the Appellate Unit filed five briefs in the Rhode Island Supreme Coutr challenging some adverse Superior Court determinations.

Attorney General Kilmartin dedicated an appellate attorney to manage all post-conviction relief actions challenging judgments of conviction entered by way of plea disposition as well as those resulting in a trial on behalf of the Office. In 2013, the Appellate Unit disposed of 42 post-conviction relief actions in the Superior Court.

The Appellate Unit was very effective in its advocacy this past year, prevailing in approximately 90 percent of its Supreme Court case docket, having every but one challenged judgement of conviction affirmed by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, prevailing in every but one defendant-initiated request for extraordinary relief, prevailing in every but one federal habeas corpus action, and winning two of the four state appeals it took.