October 16, 2018

Local News for the State of R.I.

The Impact of Your Choice displays Devastating Effects of Drunk DrivingThree years ago, Deborah Hoch was the first to find a car crash caused by intoxication near her home in Seekonk, Mass. And as she observed the increasing numbers of crashes related to drunk driving, she decided to do something about it. After talking to approximately 100 young people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island about the issues of drinking and driving, Hoch realized that a majority of these young people viewed themselves as invincible. They did not think that drinking and driving could cause harm to themselves or others. Now, Hoch hopes to prove otherwise.Hoch spoke with families of victims in the area about the aftermath of their own experiences related to drunk driving. Among those interviewed were Janelle Chaves, whose brother Charlie died in October 2001 after drinking and then speeding up to 114 mph, and Brendan Lombardi, whose driving after drinking and drug use left two boys dead. The compilation of these interviews became The Impact of Your Choice, Hoch’s film to educate others about drunk driving and exhibit its shocking effects. Hoch dedicated the film to her brother, Charles, who died after drinking and speeding in 1980 at age 24.The Impact of Your Choice premiered Thursday night at Providence Country Day School. Students, parents, teachers, and school officials were present at the event.”The most important thing we can do is let our kids know, as we tell them when they’re little, when you make a mistake, you don’t keep going with the mistake,” said Susan Haberlandt, head of the school. “There are consequences.”The film has been made available for schools, and arrangements are already in place to show the film at other schools.”We have to work together as a team to make sure our kids are safe,” said Barrington Chief John LaCross.Supreme Court to Overturn Ruling Against Trooper On July 14, 2003, Governor Carcieri ordered police to execute a search a warrant on a Narragansett smoke shop in Charlestown after a tribe began illegally selling cigarettes without charging Rhode Island taxes. However, when the raid turned into a physical altercation, eight tribal members were charged, including Adam Jennings, whose ankle was broken in the midst of his arrest for disorderly contact and resisting arrest.Jennings and two others filed suit, claiming that their civil rights were violated by the state police, and Trooper Kenneth Jones was charged with the use of excessive force and battery in Jennings’ situation. However, Trial Judge Ernest C. Torres overturned the verdict, claiming that by qualified immunity, Jones should not be liable when acting reasonably in the line of duty. While he said it is important to ensure that police officers do not abuse their authority, Torres also said it is important that officers are not afraid to do their jobs due to fear of liability.Jennings appealed the case to the 1st Circuit, where a three-judge panel reinstated the jury’s verdict in March, a decision that was affirmed by the full court in August and sent back to Torres in the U.S. District Court for consideration of motions for a new trial. Now the case is being considered for Supreme Court review.”If we win in Supreme Court, this is over,” said Jim Lee, chief of the attorney general’s civil division. “If we win on the motions for a new trial, we have to try it again.”RISD Employee Awaits Sentencing Patrick Clyne used to be manager of fire safety at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), in charge of requesting and approving fire safety improvements, as well as maintaining fire safety equipment, alarm systems, and fire extinguishers, but not anymore.After stealing more than one million dollars from the college in a fraudulent billing scheme, Clyne was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. Andrew J. Reich, assistant U.S. attorney, said that Clyne was guilty of obstruction of justice on two accounts following his arrest in May, when he did not mention the four to five acres of property he owned in Ireland. In Clyne’s defense, his lawyer, Scott P. Lopez, insisted that Clyne did not recall having been asked any questions pertaining to the subject, but as a result of this occurrence Reich is urging for an enhanced prison sentence for Clyne.Chief U.S. District Judy Mary M. Lisi rescheduled the hearing, originally to be held last Thursday, for Tuesday, at which Clyne’s probation officer was scheduled to make a statement. In an August hearing, Clyne pleaded guilty to mail fraud as well as to filing a false tax return for failing to report approximately $180,000 he collected via his crimes in 2003. According to government sources, RISD sent the checks, which totaled more than one million dollars, to a nonexistent company by which, obviously, no work was done.Clyne, as part of his plea agreement, consented to surrendering a house and property in Ireland that he purchased with the stolen money. In exchange, prosecutors dropped criminal charges against Clyne’s wife, who authorities say participated in the ordeal and was living with Clyne in Ireland. Both Clyne and his wife, Ibtisama Bradley, were arrested at Logan International Airport in Boston and were brought to Rhode Island, charged with 11 counts of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Pending his sentencing, Clyne remained on house arrest.-Rick Kurker ’09RI Teenager Charged with MurderHope High School senior Ryan Greenberg was charged with second-degree murder for the boating death of classmate Patrick Murphy. Greenberg will be charged as an adult even though he is only 17.Originally, Greenberg had only been charged with one felony count of operating a boat to endanger, death resulting; one misdemeanor count of underage possession of alcohol; and one misdemeanor count of refusing to take a breath test. The grand jury up held the previous charges while adding on the charge of second-degree murder. The case was originally destined to be tried in Family Court, but was moved to the adult system as part of a cost-saving measure by the General Assembly. Early on in the case, people had speculated that Greenberg had killed Murphy, but witnesses had been reluctant to come forward. In an attempt to gain new insight on the case, the Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch presented the case to the grand jury.Since then, at least one witness has come forward and claimed to have seen Greenberg throwing bottles of alcohol overboard before the police arrived at the scene. When the incident was first reported, Barrington police combed the waters for much of the night looking for Murphy’s body, but their search turned up nothing.Murphy’s death comes during a time when the Barrington Police Department, along with the Substance Abuse Task force, is working hard at stopping at underage drinking. Prior to this incident, the town of Barrington had been dealing with another drunk-driving death when Jon Converse has allegedly gotten into the car of another 16 year old that had been drinking and driving under a provisional license.-Mike Springer ’08

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