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Roque v. State

Supreme Court of Maine

June 18, 2019

IGNACIO D. ROQUE
v.
STATE OF MAINE

          Argued: May 15, 2019

          Lawrence C. Winger, Esq. (orally), Portland, for appellant Ignacio D. Roque

          Aaron M. Frey, Attorney General, and Donald W. Macomber, Asst. Atty. Gen. (orally), Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          JABAR, J.

         [¶1] Ignacio D. Roque appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court (Cumberland County, Eggert, J.) dismissing his petition for post-conviction review as untimely filed. Roque contends that the court erred when it dismissed his petition because he had not been informed of the filing deadline contained in 15 M.R.S. § 2128-B (2018), and therefore the court was precluded from summarily dismissing the petition based on the statutory filing deadline. We disagree and affirm the dismissal of Roque's petition.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] On September 23, 2016, Roque pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 1105-A (2015), [1] and illegal importation of scheduled drugs (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 1118 (2018). The record does not reflect that Roque was informed by the court or his attorney of his right to file a petition for post-conviction review or of any of the associated filing deadlines. Roque did not directly appeal his conviction but filed a petition for post-conviction review on January 10, 2018, seeking to collaterally attack his conviction on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. After counsel was appointed to represent Roque, the State responded to Roque's petition, seeking dismissal on the ground that the petition was untimely filed.

         [¶3] On September 18, 2018, the court granted the State's request and dismissed Roque's petition as untimely filed. See 15 M.R.S. §2128-B(1).[2] Roque timely appealed the court's dismissal and we granted Roque a certificate of probable cause to proceed with the appeal. See 15 M.R.S. § 2131(1) (2018); M.R.App. P. 19(a)(2)(F).

         II. DISCUSSION

         [¶4] The question presented in this case is whether a defendant's trial attorney or a sentencing court has any obligation to notify a defendant of his or her rights pursuant to the post-conviction review statute, 15 M.R.S. §§ 2121-2132 (2018). Roque contends that the court erred in its determination that there is no duty imposed on trial counsel or the sentencing court to inform a defendant about the deadlines for filing a post-conviction review petition. We review a post-conviction court's legal conclusions de novo. Fortune v. State, 2017 ME 61, ¶ 12, 158 A.3d 512.

         A. Sentencing Court

         [¶5] Roque asserts that the sentencing court's duty to advise defendants of the deadline for filing a petition for post-conviction review during a Rule 11 guilty plea stems from a "due process precondition." Although Rule 11 imposes numerous duties on the court, specifically informing a defendant about post-conviction review is not one of them. M.R.U. Crim. P. ll(b)(1)-(4). Furthermore, Roque does not cite, and our independent research fails to reveal, any authority supporting the proposition that a sentencing court has an affirmative duty to advise defendants about their rights to seek post-conviction review. We ...


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