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RI Hells Angels president released after serving time as bail violator

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The president of the Hells Angels of Rhode Island was released from prison earlier this month after serving more than two months as a bail violator following a dust-up in a strip club parking lot.

Joseph Lancia, who turns 29 years old on Friday, was released from the ACI on May 13, according to Kristy dosReis, a spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Neronha. 

Lancia was ordered to serve 75 days as a bail violator after he was arrested on Feb. 29 outside the Cadillac Lounge where a Providence police officer said he witnessed Lancia punch someone, knocking him unconscious. Lancia was charged with two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and simple assault.

At the time, Lancia was out on $100,000 surety bail following his indictment on firearms charges. He is accused of allegedly firing a gun at a truck driven by Richard Starnino – who police said was involved in an ongoing dispute with Lancia – while Starnino was passing by the Hells Angels Providence headquarters on Messer Street in July.

Lancia is facing multiple felony counts including intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, and carrying a pistol without a permit.

Like most cases pending in Rhode Island’s court system during the pandemic, the criminal proceedings against Lancia have been on hold and no trial date has been scheduled.

But last month, Lancia’s legal team did try and get a new judge assigned to his case. Attorney Joseph Voccola asked Superior Court Associate Justice Kristin Rodgers to recuse herself “on the grounds that her impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

Lancia’s lawyers argued Judge Rodgers’ husband – Scott Raynes – was a member of the R.I. State Police until he retired in 2018, at the rank of lieutenant. The attorneys claim that even though he retired prior to a dramatic raid on the Hells Angels Messer Street clubhouse last summer, the state police had been monitoring the headquarters for more than 15 years using a hidden surveillance system known as a “pole camera.”

They also claim Raynes was a member of the tactical unit that was eventually used to raid the clubhouse, and served with the father of one of the lead investigators on the case.

The attorney general’s office objected to the motion pointing out Raynes retired a year before the raid on the clubhouse, and any reference to earlier investigations of the biker gang was “just a ploy to create the appearance of a con flight.”

Judge Rodgers denied the request for recusal on April 29.

But Lancia’s attorneys argue because of court closures due to the ongoing pandemic, they should have been give more time to file additional information prior to Rogers’ ruling, and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 22.

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

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