The Rhode Island Supreme Court issued a ruling last week recognizing that the prosecution’s questioning of defendant for crimes he had not been convicted of served to prejudice the jury and overturned the conviction.  The defendant was on trial for possession of drugs with intent to deliver while having available a firearm for use.  During the warrant execution, a gun was discovered in the defendant’s girlfriend’s purse.  The defendant was not on the premises and was not arrested until some weeks later.  He had previously been sentenced to probation for possession of cocaine.  Rhode Island does not recognize a sentence of just probation as a conviction.  During the trial, the defendant testified in his own defense that the drugs were for his personal use.  The prosecution during cross asked the defendant about his previous conviction for possession with intent to deliver cocaine.  The questioning was misleading in that defendant did not have a conviction and certainly it was not for possession with intent to deliver.  Attorney Steven J. De Luca, representing the defendant, objected.   And although the judge sustained the objection in form, the prosecutor put the information before the defendant and jury once more and attempted to confuse the defendant’s answers.   An appeal was filed by Lara E. Montecalvo from the Public Defender’s Office, arguing among several issues this preserved issue.  The Rhode Island Supreme Court agreed with the preserved issue that defendant’s right to a fair trial was compromised and overturned his conviction.  See the entire opinion at: State v. Price