Town of Charlestown, RI
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Charlestown 2-8-2010 by Ord. No. 322. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Town Council — See Ch. 15.
Juvenile Hearing Board — See Ch. 26.
Police Department — See Ch. 44.
Pursuant to Title 45, Chapter 2, Section 32 of the General Laws of the State of Rhode Island, 1956, as amended, there is established a Municipal Court for the Town of Charlestown.[1] The Court shall commence on April 1, 2010.
[1]
Editor's Note: See R.I.G.L. § 45-2-32, Town of Charlestown—Municipal Court.
A. 
The Court shall be composed of one Judge, assigned by the Town Council. The Judge shall serve until his or her successor shall be duly assigned as aforesaid.
B. 
Except for the initial appointment, the term of the assignment for Judge shall be concurrent with the term of the Town Council. The initial term of assignment shall begin when the Town Council assigns the first Judge, and the assignment shall be for a term to run concurrent with the term of the Town Council making the appointment.
C. 
The Judge shall be a lawyer admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the state, in good standing, and shall have not less than five years experience in the active practice of law.
The Court shall have the power to issue writs or summonses for witnesses, and compel their attendance, and to punish for contempt by fine or imprisonment. The Court may also issue writs of habeas corpus and testificandum, upon continuance of any complaint or proceeding before it, may take recognizance to the state, with surety or sureties in such sum as the Court shall deem proper, with the condition to appear before the Court and make further answer to such complaint or proceeding, and in the meantime to keep the peace, and, in want thereof, may commit the same to the state adult correctional institutions until such recognizance shall be given, or the parties lawfully discharged therefrom.
A. 
The Town Administrator shall assign the Clerk of the Court to serve for an indefinite term beginning April 1, 2010.
B. 
The Clerk of the Court shall keep a regular docket of all cases disposed of, shall record the judgments, orders and sentences of said Court, and shall furnish certified copies thereof, when required, for which copies said Clerk shall charge the same fees as are allowed by law to be charged by Clerks of the District Court of the State of Rhode Island. The Clerk's office shall be open to the public during such hours as the Court shall determine from time to time.
C. 
The Town Administrator may assign an Acting Municipal Court Clerk when it is deemed necessary during the absence of the Municipal Court Clerk who shall meet the same qualifications and shall perform all duties of the Municipal Court Clerk and in the performance of said duties shall have the same effect as if performed by the Municipal Court Clerk.
D. 
In addition to the duties of Municipal Court Clerk, the Town Administrator may assign additional duties to the Clerk, but in no way shall the additional duties interfere with the primary duties of the Municipal Court Clerk.
A. 
The Municipal Court shall have a seal which shall contain such words and devises as the Town Council shall adopt and approve.
B. 
The Municipal Court Judge and/or the Municipal Court Clerk shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations.
A. 
The Municipal Court shall be considered to be in session at all times and in such place or places in the Town of as said Court or Justice holding said sessions shall so appoint and determine, subject, however, to the provisions that the Court shall be in session on the 1st Monday in the Town Hall Building, and shall be held on such days, times and places to be determined by the Municipal Court Judge.
B. 
In all cases involving motor vehicle violations, the Court shall operate under the Rules of Procedure of the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal, as amended. In all other cases, the Court shall operate under the Rhode Island District Court Civil Rules, as amended; provided, however, that a case may be charged by complaint, or by summons or citation issued by an authorized officer or official of the Town.
[Amended 8-20-2012 by Ord. No. 352]
C. 
In all cases, the Court shall have the power to issue orders to make any additional rules for regulating practice, procedure, and business therein. Such rules, when effective, shall supersede any default rules of the Rhode Island District Court or Traffic Tribunal in conflict therewith.
[Added 8-20-2012 by Ord. No. 352]
A. 
The Municipal Court shall have original jurisdiction to hear and determine cases involving violations of any ordinance of the Town of Charlestown, Minimum Housing Ordinances of the Town of Charlestown, and any violations of Chapter 24.3 of the Rhode Island General Laws entitled, the "Rhode Island Housing Maintenance and Occupation Code,"[1] and any other jurisdiction conferred upon the Court by state law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See R.I.G.L. § 45-24.3-1 et seq.
B. 
Any defendant found guilty of any offense, excluding violations of said minimum housing ordinances or Chapter 24.3 within the jurisdiction of the Court, may within seven days of such conviction, file an appeal from said conviction to the Washington County Superior Court and be entitled in that Court to a trial de novo; and provided, further, however, that any defendant found guilty of any violation of a Minimum Housing Ordinance or of said Chapter 24.3 may, within seven days of such conviction, file an appeal from said conviction to the Fourth Division District Court and be entitled to a trial de novo in accordance with RIGL §§ 8-8-3(a)(4) and 8-8-3.2.
C. 
With respect to violations of either municipal ordinances dealing with minimum housing or § 45-24.3 et seq. of the Rhode Island General Laws dealing with housing maintenance and occupancy the Town Council hereby confers upon said Municipal Court, in furtherance of the aforementioned jurisdiction, the power to proceed according to equity:
(1) 
To restrain, prevent, enjoin, abate or correct a violation;
(2) 
To order the repair, vacation or demolition of any dwelling existing in violation; or
(3) 
To otherwise compel compliance with all provisions of said ordinances and statutes.
A. 
The Municipal Court may impose a sentence not to exceed 30 days in jail and impose a fine not in excess of $500, or both, and shall be empowered to punish persons for contempt.
[Amended 8-20-2012 by Ord. No. 352]
B. 
The Municipal Court shall also have the power to compel the attendance of witnesses and to punish persons for contempt and to authorize and execute search warrants to the extent that the same could be authorized and executed by a Justice of the District Court.
It shall be lawful for the Judge of the Municipal Court to prescribe and vary the form of all complaints, warrants, writs or other process, as to make the same consistent with the organization, style and jurisdiction of said Court; and such complaints, warrants, writs and other process shall have the same effect, validity, and extent, and be served, obeyed, enforced and returned, in the same manner and by the same officers, as if issued from the District Courts; and they may be served by any Constables of the Town who are authorized to serve process in civil or criminal cases.
A. 
In all cases involving offenses over which the Municipal Court has jurisdiction pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-18-3, Court costs shall be assessed as set forth in R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-18-4. In all other cases, costs shall be $35 for each offense charged. The payment of such costs shall be a part of the sentence.
B. 
The Municipal Court shall be authorized to tax costs in the same manner as those taxed by the District Courts of the State of Rhode Island. The payment of said costs shall be a part of the sentence to the extent that the same would be in the District Courts.
C. 
All payments of costs shall be deposited in the general fund of the Town of Charlestown.
D. 
The costs incurred by the Town in securing a policeman's presence, upon the request of the defendant, shall be charged to the defendant in the event he or she should fail to appear.
A. 
In cases of sickness, absence, or other disability or ineligibility of the Municipal Court Judge or Clerk, the Judge may appoint an Acting Judge, and the Clerk may appoint an Acting Clerk, at the same compensation, or at such salary as the Town Council may determine, for the term of such sickness, absence, disability, or ineligibility of the Judge or Clerk. An Acting Municipal Court Judge or Acting Municipal Court Clerk shall perform all duties of the Municipal Court Judge or Municipal Court Clerk, respectively.
B. 
In case of a prolonged sickness, absence, or other disability or ineligibility of the Municipal Court Judge or the Municipal Court Clerk that shall be in excess of 30 days, the Town Council may, by resolution, appoint an Acting Municipal Court Judge or an Acting Municipal Court Clerk, respectively, for the term of such sickness, absence, disability, or ineligibility of the Municipal Court Judge or Municipal Court Clerk, respectively, at the same compensation, or at such salary as the Town Council may determine. An Acting Municipal Court Judge or Acting Municipal Court Clerk shall perform all duties of the Municipal Court Judge or Municipal Court Clerk, respectively, and in the performance of those duties, shall have the same effect as if performed by the Municipal Court Judge or Municipal Court Clerk, respectively.
A. 
The compensation of the Municipal Court Judge shall be set by the Town Council of the Town from time to time and in the sole discretion of the Town Council.
B. 
An Acting Municipal Court Judge must meet the same qualifications and shall perform all duties of the Municipal Court Judge and in the performance of said duties shall have the same effect as if performed by the Municipal Court Judge.
A Town Sergeant shall be the bailiff for the Municipal Court and shall be present during all Court sessions to maintain order and supervise the orderly business of the Court.
The Municipal Court may punish any contempt of its authority by fine or imprisonment as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty.
[Amended 8-20-2012 by Ord. No. 352]
Subject to any other provisions of law relative to the filing of complaints for particular violations, any Judge of the Municipal Court may place on file any complaint in a case other than a complaint against a person who has been convicted of a felony or a private complaint. The Court may, in its discretion, require as a condition of such filing the performance of services for the public good or may attach such other conditions thereto as such Court shall determine. If no action is taken on such complaint for a period not to exceed one year following such filing, such complaint shall be automatically quashed and destroyed.
Failure to appear in answer to a summons, subpoena or complaint may be punished by a fine not over $50 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both.
A. 
Bail Commissioners. The Judge of the Municipal Court shall from time to time appoint, with power to revoke such appointments, Bail Commissioners who shall be authorized to set and take bail, in all complaints bailable before the Municipal Court, from all respondents arrested on such complaints, and such Municipal Court Judge shall authorize the Bail Commissioners, as appointed by him or her, to issue warrants and complaints to the Municipal Court for any offense for which, by law, the Municipal Court Judge may issue a warrant and complaint, and all warrants as issued, and all complaints upon which bail is taken as aforesaid shall be forthwith returned to the Municipal Court, provided that such Bail Commissioners shall not in any case or for any purpose have the power to issue search warrants.
B. 
Qualifications. A Bail Commissioner shall be an attorney at law in good standing who has been admitted to the practice of law in this state.