On Tuesday, the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued an order allowing Raymond Tempest, Jr., to be freed from prison on bail while the court considers an appeal brought by the prosecution seeking to overturn an earlier trial court ruling reversing his murder conviction.
On April 22, 1992, Tempest was convicted of the 1982 murder of 22-year-old Doreen Picard. At his trial, the prosecution offered no physical evidence connecting Tempest to the crime, and there were no eyewitnesses claiming to have seen Tempest at the crime scene. The state’s case rested on four individuals who claimed that Tempest had confessed to them. The individuals were all vulnerable to police pressure, due to their backgrounds in drug trafficking, drug use or prostitution. Tempest was convicted and sentenced to 85 years.
In July of this year, a Rhode Island judge
reversed the murder conviction
based on the failure of police and prosecutors to turn over multiple pieces of evidence pointing to the defendant’s innocence and improper interviewing tactics by the police that compromised the evidence. The judge agreed to release Tempest on bail at that point in time, but Tempest was not released.
According to the
, in the days following the judge’s reversal of the conviction, the prosecution asked that the state supreme court review the case, arguing that the case was now prejudiced given that decades have passed since the murder was committed and most of the alleged witnesses have died. Prosecutors also said that Tempest was a flight risk and that he should remain in prison. A state supreme court judge agreed and ordered Tempest to remain imprisoned until this past Tuesday.
According to the
, the high court will hear arguments in Tempest’s case starting in March. In the meantime, Tempest has been ordered to remain on home-confinement at an undisclosed location.
Tempest is being represented by the Michael Kendall, Kate Dyson and Matthew Turnell of McDermott, Will & Emery; Lauren E. Jones of Jones Associates; Betty Anne Waters and the Innocence Project
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