Town of Barrington, RI
Bristol County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Barrington 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 2012-9. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 19-1 Establishment.

Pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 45-2-60, there is hereby established a Municipal Court in the Town of Barrington with the powers set forth in this chapter for the purpose of hearing all cases referred to such court by department heads and officials of the Town of Barrington.

§ 19-2 Jurisdiction.

A. 
The Town Council hereby confers on the Municipal Court original jurisdiction to hear and determine cases involving violations of:
(1) 
Minimum housing ordinances, including any violation of R.I.G.L. Title 45, Chapter 24.3 entitled, "The Rhode Island Housing, Maintenance and Occupancy Code" as adopted by Town Code Chapter 73[1];
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 73, Building Construction.
(2) 
Zoning ordinances, including any violation of R.I.G.L. Title 45, Chapter 24, entitled, "The Rhode Island Zoning Enabling Act" and Chapter 185 of this Code[2];
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 185, Zoning.
(3) 
Any other Town ordinance;
(4) 
Any other jurisdiction conferred by state law, including but not limited to violations of any general law enumerated in R.I.G.L. § 8-18-3(a) pursuant to § 8-18-3(b)(3).
B. 
Provided, however, that:
(1) 
Any defendant found guilty of any offense, excluding violations of said minimum housing ordinances, or R.I.G.L. § 45-24.3, may, within seven days of such conviction, file an appeal from said conviction to the Superior Court and be entitled in the latter court to a trial de novo; and
(2) 
Provided further, however, that any defendant found guilty of any violation of a minimum housing ordinance, or of R.I.G.L. § 45-24.3, may, within seven days of such conviction, file an appeal from said conviction to the Rhode Island District Court and be entitled to a trial de novo in accordance with R.I.G.L. §§ 8-8-3(a)(4) and 8-8-3.2.
C. 
With respect to violations of municipal ordinances dealing with minimum housing, or R.I.G.L. § 45-24.3 and violations of zoning ordinances or R.I.G.L. § 45-24, 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.
D. 
With respect to violations of all municipal ordinances, the Town Council hereby confers upon said Municipal Court, in furtherance of the aforementioned jurisdiction, the power to fine violators in accordance with applicable provisions of the Town Code and enabling legislation.
[Amended 10-2-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
E. 
With respect to violations of municipal ordinances addressing both moving and nonmoving traffic violations, the Town Council hereby confers upon said Municipal Court, in furtherance of the aforementioned jurisdiction, the power to fine violators in accordance with §§ 179-6 through 179-16.
[Amended 10-2-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
F. 
Any defendant found guilty of an offense over which the Municipal Court has jurisdiction pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 8-18-3 may file an appeal as set forth in R.I.G.L. §§ 8-18-9 and 31-43-4.

§ 19-3 Fines; penalties.

[Amended 10-2-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-15]
Said Municipal Court may impose a fine not in excess of $500 for each offense, and shall be empowered to punish persons for contempt by fine. Provided, however, where jurisdiction is conferred upon the Municipal Court pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 8-18-3(b)(3), all penalties assessed shall be consistent with the violation schedule contained in Appendix Chapter A225, § A225-1, of this Code, and R.I.G.L. Title 31, Chapter 41.1.

§ 19-4 Appointment; term; qualifications of Judge of Municipal Court.

A. 
The Court shall be composed of a Judge appointed by the Town Council. The Judge shall serve until his or her successor shall be duly appointed as set forth herein.
B. 
Except for the initial appointment, the term of the appointment of the Judge shall be for a period of two calendar years commencing on January 1 and ending on December 31 and until his or her successor is appointed and qualified. The initial term shall begin when the Town Council appoints the first Judge and the appointment shall end on December 31 of the second year.
C. 
The Judge shall be a lawyer admitted to practice before the state Supreme Court, in good standing, and shall have not less than 15 years' experience in the active practice of law, including trial advocacy.

§ 19-5 Municipal Court Clerk; appointment and duties.

A. 
The Town Council shall appoint a Clerk of said court.
B. 
The term of the appointment for the Clerk shall be for a period of two calendar years commencing on January 1 and ending on December 31 and until his or her successor is appointed and qualified. The initial term of appointment shall begin when the Town Council appoints the first Clerk and the appointment shall end on December 31 of the second year.
C. 
The Court Clerk 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 Clerks of the Superior Court. The Clerk shall keep the office open to the public during such hours as the Court shall determine. The Court Clerk shall also be responsible for the administration of the Court.
D. 
The Judge shall set bail for defendants as necessary.
E. 
Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the Police Department or the Town administration from providing the secretarial and administrative assistance necessary for the Court to perform its duties and responsibilities.
F. 
Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the Town Clerk from also being the Municipal Court Clerk.

§ 19-6 Compensation of Municipal Court Judges and Municipal Court Clerk.

The Town Council, by resolution, shall determine the compensation of the Judge of the Municipal Court and the Clerk of the Municipal Court.

§ 19-7 Acting Judge; acting Clerk; conflict of interest.

A. 
In cases of sickness, absence, or other disability or ineligibility of the Municipal Court Judge or Clerk which shall be less than 45 days, the Town Council may appoint an acting Judge, and the Town Manager may appoint an acting Clerk at such salary as the Town Council may determine, for the term of such sickness, absence, disability or ineligibility of said Judge or Clerk. An acting Judge or acting Clerk shall perform all duties of the Municipal Court Judge or Municipal Court Clerk, respectively.
B. 
In cases of a prolonged sickness, absence, or other disability or ineligibility of the Municipal Court Judge or Municipal Court Clerk that shall exceed 45 days, the Town Council may, by resolution, appoint an acting Municipal Court Judge or 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 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 said duties, shall have the same effect as if performed by the Municipal Court Judge or Municipal Court Clerk, respectively.
C. 
In case the Municipal Court Judge must recuse due to a conflict in a specific case, the Barrington Probate Judge shall sit as the Municipal Court Judge.

§ 19-8 Municipal Court Bailiff.

A. 
The Town Council shall appoint a Bailiff of said court.
B. 
The term of appointment for the Bailiff shall be for a period of two calendar years commencing on January 1 and ending on December 31 and until his or her successor is appointed and qualified. The initial term of appointment shall begin when the Town Council appoints the first Bailiff, and the appointment shall end on December 31 of the second year.
C. 
The Bailiff of the Court shall maintain order in the courtroom, assist the Clerk in the administration of the Court's docket and with the disposition of cases.
D. 
Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the Police Department or the Town administration from providing the assistance necessary to keep order in the Court.
E. 
Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the Town Bailiff from also serving as the Town Sergeant.

§ 19-9 Complaints; warrants; writs.

It shall be lawful for the Judge of said 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 complaint, 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 law enforcement officer or constable of the Town who are authorized to serve process in civil or criminal cases.

§ 19-10 Witnesses; attendance; subpoenas; failure to appear.

A. 
The Court shall have the power to issue writs or summonses for witnesses, and compel their attendance. 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 said court shall deem proper, with the condition to appear before said court make further answer or such complaint or proceeding, and in the meantime to keep the peace, and, in want hereof, may commit the same to the state adult correctional institutions until such recognizance be given, or the parties lawfully discharged therefrom.
B. 
Failure to appear in the Municipal Court, upon receipt of a summons or complaint, shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter in accordance with the fee schedule contained in the Town Code Appendix Chapter A225.

§ 19-11 Sessions; time; place; rules of procedure.

A. 
The Municipal Court shall be considered to be in session at all times, and at such place or places in the Town as the said court, or Judge holding same, shall appoint.
B. 
In all cases involving motor vehicle violations, the Court shall operate in a manner consistent with R.I.G.L. Title 31, Chapter 41.1, and with the procedures of the Traffic Tribunal of the District Court. In all other cases, the court shall operate under the State District Court Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure, as amended; provided, however, that a case may be charged either by complaint, or by summons or citation issued by the authorized officer or official of the Town.

§ 19-12 Seal; oaths.

A. 
The Municipal Court shall have a seal which shall contain such words and device as the Town Council shall adopt and approve.
B. 
The Judge and the Municipal Court Clerk shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations.

§ 19-13 Costs.

A. 
In the Municipal Court, in all cases involving offenses over which jurisdiction is pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 8-18-3, court costs shall be assessed as set forth in R.I.G.L. § 8-18-4. In all other cases, costs shall be imposed in the amount of $45 for each offense charged, and the payment of said costs shall be a part of the sentence.
B. 
All payments shall be deposited in the General Treasury of the Town.
C. 
The costs incurred by the Town in securing a policeman's presence, upon request of the defendant, shall be charged to the defendant in the event that he or she should fail to appear.

§ 19-14 Severability.

Should any part or parts of this article, or their application to any particular circumstance, be held invalid, the remaining provisions, and their application, shall not be affected thereby.

§ 19-15 When effective; inconsistent ordinances repealed.

This chapter shall take effect upon its passage, and all other ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.