Probation is an Opportunity: A Limited One

A recent article in the Providence Journal by Katie Mulvaney titled, “RI man, never tried in Rape, remains imprisoned for it.” ( is disingenuous.

The inmate, 52-year-old Robert Raso, violated the conditions of his parole and probation based on allegations he committed sexual assault. After prosecutors decided not to go forward with the criminal matter, Raso appealed his violation and return to prison for the balance of his original sentence.

Judge William Carnes upheld the violation and denied his petition for release. The court based the decision on the testimony of the original prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Daniel Carr Guglielmo. Guglielmo told the court the decision not to prosecute was not because of any doubt in his mind that probable cause existed to continue the case and the victim’s allegations and statements were credible.

Sometimes, even when the police identify a perpetrator and evidence is available, the best course of justice is no trial. Here, the victim suffered twice. Once at the hands of the man who assaulted her and then by family members who chose not to believe her, and tried to force her to recant. She did not, and this is the key aspect.

Roger Williams University Law Professor Andrew Horwitz, said, “the case — and the sentence — is ‘exactly’ what is wrong with the state’s probation system.” Professor Horwitz argued that “very serious allegations were resolved through a probation violation hearing instead of a trial in which the defendant would have enjoyed a full panoply of constitutional protections.”

The title of the piece skews the core element. Mr. Raso “enjoyed” his full constitutional benefit at the violation hearing. He had competent counsel, a neutral court, and the opportunity to question the evidence used to support the violation.

Raso is serving time for violating probation on the original criminal charges he faced, not for an unresolved Rape case.

Also from the article;

“In March 2011, Judge Savage sentenced Raso to serve 25 years for violating the terms of his probation from a slew of offenses committed more than a decade earlier, including kidnapping, attempted murder, armed robberies, and arson. Raso served 12 years for the previous offenses. A 28-year suspended sentence with probation remained hanging over him upon his release.”

To be clear, Raso is serving the balance of his sentence because a court found he violated the conditions of his probation. Despite the lack of a criminal trial in the case triggering the violation, a Judge heard competent and convincing evidence that Mr. Raso violated the conditions of probation. Before he could secure his release, Mr. Raso had to accept and agree to the conditions of probation.

He violated those conditions, and Judge Savage rightfully returned him to prison. If there is anything to question about the Rhode Island Probation system it’s why did a man sentenced to forty years serve barely one-third of his sentence?

The onus fell on Mr. Raso to make sure he avoided even the whisper of violating conditions. Probation is an opportunity, yet a limited one. While I often argue the inequities of prison sentences and see them as a poor solution to the problem of crime, in this matter, it is appropriate.

One thought on “Probation is an Opportunity: A Limited One

  1. I was the neighbor who conditioned myself to remain home and endure the horror of a man molesting that child – out of fear that the girl was going to hurt herself. This man would do things and I can still hear her painful cries in my mind when I sleep. Then he would leave her alone and run out. She was alone crying and saying how she doesn’t want to live anymore. I never left the house because I would bang on the walls yelling at her to not give up on herself or me. I would yell how devoted I am to save her and promise her she will never be harmed again when he is gone. 6 months of this and my landlord Matthew Stamp threatening me about having a brother be a Marshall and his exact words “What Rob does with her inside his home is not your concern. I will end you if he is arrested and Im stuck driving here from Norton to fix stuff. I promise your life will be a living hell if you break that family up.” But when I tell you I was fearless, I speak lightly. At the hearing Matt was there to defend Raso and since he was aware he was guilty and realized how hard he worked to protect him from getting caught, he instead made a total *ss out of himself by barking about how I clogged a toilet and that I am lying.

    That being said, my reason for my reply is about the way I am bullied and gang stalked (after all, Matt knows he gave protection to his tenant for free home repairs etc so he does anything Raso asks)

    Since the day Raso lost his appeal like October 2019, I have been targeted by corrupt guys abusing their power by allowing this stalking and mental hate crime. My next door neighbor was recently locked up and I want to assume Protective Custody is in the same block as segregation where my neighbor was. These people are so nosey to what else I learned on them and cannot state, that they stay home and watch me but are the ones used to signal stalkers any time I leave. They play eyes and ears for me and other things relating to serious crimes my husbands brother proudly committed. I know more than they can handle and would likely get sick inside if they knew how much trouble they face. People have been all doing this because they are all fed lies about a man who is honestly guilty.

    I felt it would be a good idea to comment because lately everyone is on their best behavior and not bullying me. My neighbors are suddenly law abiding and have put their Confederate flag away, attending church type of behavior like the teacher has returned to the classroom filled with children who were animals while the teacher stepped out.

    Also note… My ex is hiding a car that needs to be repossessed as a favor to Matt Stamp. I was confronted that they are doing this to see me harassed.

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