Judge will weigh several factors to decide Gallison’s prison sentence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It’s usually a losing proposition to predict what kind of a sentence a judge will hand down, but in the case of Raymond Gallison one thing is certain: he is going to prison.

U.S. District Chief Judge William Smith will have a variety of information to consider when he sentences the 64-year-old disgraced former R.I. House Finance Committee chairman on June 16, among them something called a presentence report.

Prepared by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System, the report assigns Gallison an “offense level,” a grade based on factors including the nature of the crime and how much money was involved, as well as number of victims and other information. The grade will also consider Gallison’s criminal history – he does not have one – and he will be given credit for pleading guilty rather than going to trial.

The presentence report is usually due to the judge about one month prior to sentencing day. It is likely that Gallison, D-Bristol, was interviewed by federal probation officials for the report.

Based on the information gathered, Smith will be given a federal sentencing guideline, but that is advisory and he can impose any sentence he sees fit.

In Gallison’s case, however, the judge is required to impose a prison sentence of two years that will be on top of any other sentence handed down, due to the fact that one of the counts he pleaded guilty to is aggravated identity theft.

The judge can also consider letters sent into the court. As of Monday, only two were filed on the docket in Gallison’s case.

In one of the letters, Edward Walch of Warwick asked Judge Smith not to go easy.

“The current climate in the state of Rhode Island is at an all time low due to the constant news stories about state [and] local politicians being charged with crimes is sickening,” Walch wrote. “I would hope you will send a message to politicians, that they are not above the law and give a sentence that will keep them honest.”

A letter of support was also sent to the judge by David Benevides, who asked Smith to consider “the Ray Gallison that I know.”

“When the new veterans home was proposed, I was impressed with the amount of effort Ray put into the funding and approval processes,” Benevides wrote. “He became an ardent advocate for this modern facility to ensure our veterans in need had access to the top of the line care they need and most certainly deserve.”

Gallison pleaded guilty in March to nine federal counts including aggravated identity theft, four counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and three counts that he filed false tax documents with the IRS. The wire and mail fraud charges each come with a maximum of 20 years in prison.

The Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office brought charges against the Bristol Democrat in January following a 10-month investigation. The case accuses the ex-lawmaker of taking $678,000 from the estate of a man named Ray Medley and nearly $9,000 from a disabled individual’s trust fund, as well as misusing funds from his taxpayer-funded nonprofit, Alternative Educational Programming (AEP), and tax violations.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook