Robert Payette, 55, formerly of Raymond was denied a new trial after claiming he was wrongfully convicted of raping a 41-year-old woman in 2009. Payette is serving 7 to 15 years in state prison after being convicted in Rockingham County Superior Court by a jury in April 2010. (JAMES A. KIMBLE / FILE PHOTO)
Judge rejects Raymond man's request for new trial
Raymond Payette, 55, a former Raymond public works employee, claimed he received ineffective assistance from his defense lawyer and that prosecutors engaged in misconduct.
He alleged prosecutors should have never allowed the victim to testify about DNA found on her underwear.
Chief Justice Tina Nadeau heard testimony from Payette's former lawyer at a hearing in February before reaching her decision on March 22.
Payette is serving 7 to 15 years in state prison after being convicted by a jury of aggravated felonious sexual assault.
Defense lawyer Tom Gleason argued that Payette's former attorney, Gerard LaFlamme, should have objected to testimony about DNA samples found on the woman's underwear. The DNA did not match Payette, according to Gleason.
LaFlamme testified he made a tactical decision to not object to the woman's testimony about the DNA as a means to question her veracity.
Nadeau agreed LaFlamme's decision was a sound tactic to use at trial.
'Even objectionable testimony can help a defendant's case,' Nadeau wrote in a five-page order.
During the trial, Payette even argued the sex he had with the woman was consensual, lessening the importance of the testimony, Nadeau noted.
Nadeau also rejected the contention that Payette was barred from testifying in his own defense. LaFlamme testified in February that after analyzing the evidence against his client before and toward the end the trial, he advised against Payette taking the stand, Nadeau wrote. LaFlamme was concerned that Payette was not hold up under questioning by prosecutors.
But the decision whether to testify was ultimately left up to Payette, Nadeau wrote.
The sexual assault happened on the night of July 16, 2009. Payette made his way into the woman's home by asking to wash his hands after petting horses that were behind her home, prosecutors said.
Payette was recently completed a 1-to-2 year prison sentence on a witness tampering conviction related to the sexual assault case. He will be eligible for parole in July 2016 on the sexual assault sentence.