RI Supreme Court says motorcycle gang leader’s appeal is premature

PROVIDENCE – Deric McGuire and 19 other motorcycle gang defendants won a huge legal battle two years ago when a Superior Court judge threw out crucial wiretap evidence in their drugs and gun-running case because of which judge had authorized the wiretaps.

But McGuire was not so fortunate when he recently asked the state Supreme Court to strike down another technical point of his continuing prosecution.

In 2019, Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel agreed with McGuire’s legal argument that the presiding justice of the Superior Court had delegated the job of approving wiretap interceptions in this case to a judge outside the strict line of succession.

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Under state law only the Superior Court presiding justice or the next-senior Superior Court judge can authorize wiretap interceptions. But in this case Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney gave the job to Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg, state lawyers argued, to avoid a potential conflict of interest.