[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Pawtucket as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Judge of Probate Court — See Secs. 2-500 and 2-600 of Charter.
Judge of Municipal Court — See Secs. 2-501 and 2-600 of Charter.
Article I Police Court
Article II Housing Court
[Approved 6-21-1973 by Ch. No. 1401]
Editor's Note: See R.I.G.L. § 45-2-13 for statutory authority.
Pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 45-2-13, as amended, there is hereby established a Police Court in the City of Pawtucket.
[Amended 5-9-2013by Ch. No. 3025]
Said Court shall be composed of one Judge and one Associate Judge who shall be elected in accordance with all of the provisions of Section 2-501 of the City Charter.
[Amended 7-25-1996 by Ch. No. 2420; 4-24-1997 by Ch. No. 2446]
Said Court shall have power to issue writs of summons for witnesses, and compel their attendance, and to punish for contempt by fine or by imprisonment. Said Court may also issue writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum and may commit to the state adult correctional institution or other appropriate state facility and, 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 think proper with condition to appear before said Court and make further answer to such complaint or proceedings and in the meantime to keep the peace; and in want thereof may commit to the appropriate state facility until such recognizance shall be given or the parties be lawfully discharged therefrom. In addition, said Court shall have the power to execute search warrants to the extent the warrants could be executed by a Judge of the District Court.
[Amended 5-9-2013by Ch. No. 3025]
In case of the sickness, absence from the City or other disability or ineligibility of the Judge of the Police Court to serve, the Clerk of the Police Court shall perform the duties of said Judge during the sickness, absence or other inability or ineligibility of said Judge. The acts of said Clerk in the performance of said duties shall have the same effect as if performed by said Judge. The Clerk of said Court shall keep a regular docket of all cases therein, including a record 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 by law allowed to Clerks of the Superior Court. He or she shall keep his or her office open to the public during such hours as the Court shall determine.
The Clerk of the Police Court shall have the power to arraign and take recognizance to the state.
The Clerk of the Police Court, with the approval of the Judge thereof, is hereby authorized and empowered to employ such clerical assistance as he or she may require in his or her office in copying, recording, indexing and attending upon the files of said Court.
The Police Court shall have a seal which shall contain such words and device as the Court shall adopt. The Judge of the Police Court shall have power to administer oaths and affirmations.
[Amended 9-6-1984 by Ch. No. 1902; 7-25-1996 by Ch. No. 2420]
The Police Court shall be considered to be in session at all times and in such place or places in the City as the Court or the justice holding the same shall direct.
The Police Court shall have original jurisdiction to hear and determine criminal causes involving violation of any ordinance of the City of Pawtucket.
[Amended 8-1-1988 by Ch. No. 2035; 11-26-1990 by Ch. No. 2166]
The Police Court may impose a sentence not to exceed 30 days in jail and impose a fine not in excess of $1,000, or both. Fines so imposed shall be paid over and disposed of in like manner as moneys had been obtained for violations of City ordinances previously handled in the District Court.
[Amended 7-25-1996 by Ch. No. 2420; 5-9-2013 by Ch. No. 3025]
Every person aggrieved by any fine or sentence of said Police Court may within seven days of such conviction appeal from such sentence to the Superior Court in and for Providence County, in the same manner and with the same procedure, and such appeal shall be disposed of in said Superior Court in like manner as is prescribed in the case of appeals in criminal cases from the sentence of any District Court.
It shall be lawful for the Judge of said Court so 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 also be served by any constables of said town who are authorized to serve process in civil or criminal cases.
[Amended 4-20-2017 by Ch. No. 3125]
Costs taxed by said Police Court shall be the same as those taxed by District Courts, and the payment of the costs shall be a part of the sentence to the extent they would be in the District Courts, or as otherwise authorized by state law.
All moneys derived from such appeals, whether for fine and costs, or otherwise, including costs imposed in said Police Court on such appealed cases, shall be paid over and disposed of in like manner as moneys obtained in cases of appeal from District Courts to said Superior Courts in criminal cases are paid over and disposed of.
[Amended 5-9-2013 by Ch. No. 3025]
The provisions of the Charter shall apply to the Police Court of the City and to the functions within the jurisdiction of the Court to the extent that such provisions are consistent with this article. To the extent that such provisions are inconsistent with this article, the provisions of the City Charter shall control.
Editor's Note: Original Section 17, Compensation, as amended 6-30-1977 by Ch. No. 1606 and 6-27-1978 by Ch. No. 1656, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 6-25-1979 by Ch. No. 1696.
[Approved 5-5-1995 by Ch. No. 2384]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Housing Court Act."
This article shall be liberally construed to the end that all people be housed in dwellings that are safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation and that levels of residential environmental quality be achieved and maintained as will protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the City of Pawtucket.
In accordance with the express enabling authority granted by the General Assembly in R.I.G.L. § 45-2-13, there is hereby established in the City of Pawtucket a Housing Court, which shall conduct its day-to-day business as an adjunct to and extension of the already existing Pawtucket Municipal Police Court.
There shall be a Housing Court Judge and an Associate Housing Court Judge to hear and determine causes brought before the Housing Court by the Director of Zoning and Code Enforcement and the City Solicitor's Office involving violation of the zoning ordinances of the City and any violation of the provisions of Chapter 24 of Title 45 of the General Laws of the State of Rhode Island entitled the "State Zoning Enabling Act," and any violation of the provisions of Chapter 27.3 of Title 23 of the General Laws of the State of Rhode Island entitled the Rhode Island "State Building Code," and any violation of the provisions of those regulations promulgated by the State Building Code Commission entitled "SBC-1 Rhode Island State Building Code," "SBC-4 Rhode Island State One and Two family dwelling code," "SBC-5 Rhode Island State Electrical Code," "SBD-6 State Property Maintenance Code," "SBC-8 Rhode Island State Energy Conservation Code" and to hear and determine any other causes brought to promote, protect or enhance the residential environmental quality of the people.
[Amended 7-12-2012 by Ch. No. 3003]
The Housing Court Judge shall serve simultaneously as the Judge of the Pawtucket Municipal Police Court.
[Amended 5-9-2013 by Ch. No. 3025]
The Associate Housing Court Judge shall serve simultaneously as the Associate Judge of the Pawtucket Municipal Court.
[Amended 5-9-2013 by Ch. No. 3025]
The Housing Court will commence upon the passage of this article. Upon commencement, the Housing Court shall assume jurisdiction over all matters then pending in the District Court and the Superior Court or remanded to District Court or Superior Court pursuant to Court Order.
Pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 8-18-4(e), the Housing Court shall be a court of record and shall, at a minimum, tape record all sessions.
The Housing Court shall have a seal which shall contain such words and devices as the Court shall adopt.
The Housing Court Judge and the Associate Housing Court Judge shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations, compel the attendance of witnesses, punish persons for contempt and to execute search warrants to the extent warrants could be executed by a Judge of the District Court.
The Housing Court shall be a court of City-wide jurisdiction; and no order, decree, judgment, sentence, warrant, writ or process made, issued or pronounced by it need set out any adjudication or circumstances with greater particularity than would be required in courts of superior and general jurisdiction. The writs, subpoenas, citations, orders, notices, executions and all other processes issued by the Housing Court shall be under the seal of the Housing Court, signed by the Housing Court Clerk and bear the signature of the Housing Court Judge and shall run throughout the state.
In all matters within its jurisdiction, the Housing Court shall have the power to proceed according to equity to:
Restrain, prevent, enjoin, abate or correct a violation.
Order the repair, vacation or demolition of any dwelling existing in violation.
Otherwise compel compliance with all of the provisions of these ordinances or statutes.
Order a dwelling into receivership and to order the removal of any clouds on the title to the building or property which shall be binding upon all those claiming by, through, under or by virtue of any inferior liens or encumbrances pursuant to Chapter 44 et seq. of Title 34 of the General Laws of the State of Rhode Island.
In all matters within its jurisdiction, the Housing Court may impose a sentence not to exceed 30 days in jail and impose a fine not in excess of $1,000, or both.
[Amended 4-20-2017 by Ch. No. 3125]
All fees and costs assessed by the Housing Court shall be the same as the Police Court, or as otherwise authorized by state law.
[Added 4-20-2017 by Ch. No. 3125]
The Housing Court shall conduct business in the Pawtucket Municipal Courthouse at such times and under such conditions as the Housing Court Judge may from time to time direct.
Within the Housing Court there shall be a registry, to be administered by the Housing Court Clerk, which shall receive and disburse all payments made by direction of the Court, voluntary payments and those pursuant to the minimum standards housing ordinances, which shall be regularly and promptly paid to the City Treasurer.
The Housing Court Judge shall be Administrative Judge of said Court and shall be the head of said Court and have supervision and control of the calendars and the assignments of his or her Associate Judge.
All court stenographers and secretaries shall be under the supervision of the Housing Court Judge whose duty it shall be to gather such statistics as shall reflect accurately the work of the Court, for the information of the Court and such other use as may be deemed expedient.
The Housing Court Judge shall also be charged with the general responsibility for any recommendations that may be important for the work of said Court.
The Housing Court, through its Judge, may from time to time make and promulgate rules for regulating practice and conducting business therein. In all matters wherein the Housing Court is authorized or directed to make or promulgate rules, said Court shall have the authority, until such time as such rules may be promulgated, to provide by order in special cases.
The Housing Court Clerk shall serve simultaneously as the Clerk of the Pawtucket Municipal Court. In addition to any other authority or duties provided by this article, the Housing Court Clerk shall have the authority to carry out the duties with respect to the Housing Court that are exercised or performed by the Clerks of the District Courts or Superior Court in housing and zoning enforcement matters.
A court stenographer, except where a tape recording device is employed, shall report stenographically the proceedings in the trial of every action or proceeding in the Housing Court. If ordered to do so by the Judge, the stenographer shall transcribe the report and file the same with the papers in the case.
The stenographer shall also make a transcript of the whole or any part of such report upon the written request filed with the Clerk, by either party to such action or proceeding, and when completed and within the time limited by the Court for filing the same, shall immediately deliver the same to the party ordering it, to the attorney of record of such party and for such service shall be paid a reasonable compensation to be allowed by the Court; and in case the transcript is used in subsequent proceedings in the cause, the cost of the same may be allowed as part of the costs.
Any party aggrieved by final judgment, decree or order of the Housing Court may, within 20 days after entry of judgment, petition to the Supreme Court for the State of Rhode Island for a writ of certiorari to review any errors involved. The petition for the writ of certiorari shall set forth the errors claimed. Upon the filing of such a petition with the clerk of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court may, if it sees fit, issue a writ of certiorari to the Housing Court to certify to the Supreme Court the record of the proceedings of the case, together with any transcript of the proceedings furnished by the petitioner at his or her expense.
The City Council shall annually appropriate such sums as shall be necessary to carry out the purposes of this article, and the City Treasurer is hereby authorized and directed to draw their order for the payment of such sum, or so much thereof as may be required from time to time, upon receipt by them of duly authenticated vouchers approved by the Housing Court Judge.