TITLE 12
Criminal Procedure

CHAPTER 12-30
Protection and Supervision of Criminal Witnesses

SECTION 12-30-3


§ 12-30-3 Witness protection review board.

(a) There is created within the attorney general's office a witness protection review board, consisting of an assistant attorney general appointed by the attorney general, an officer of the state police appointed by the superintendent of state police, and a municipal police chief appointed by the president of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association.

(b) No agreement which obligates any law enforcement agency of the state or its municipalities to provide protection for and/or to release from custody, or dismiss pending charges against any criminal witness (i.e., a person who is incarcerated upon conviction for a felony, who is indicted or informed against for a felony, or who is the subject of a felony investigation) in exchange for his or her testimony, shall take effect until it has been approved by a majority vote of the review board. The board shall review each agreement to determine whether:

(1) The evidence proffered justifies the reduction of sentence and/or dismissal of charges;

(2) Adequate provision has been made to insure the safety of the witness and his or her immediate family, if any, during the times in which he or she will be cooperating with law enforcement authorities and during his or her resettlement thereafter;

(3) The witness will serve any sentence of confinement imposed upon him or her for his or her crimes in a sufficiently restrictive environment;

(4) The cost of maintaining the witness in the protection program is reasonable; and

(5) The witness will pose any threat of future criminality if released into the community pursuant to the terms of the agreement.

(c) In determining whether to approve the agreement, the board shall consider whether the particular witness could be better managed if responsibility for his or her custody were transferred to the witness protection program, operated by the United States Justice Department.

(d) The recommendation of the review board shall be presented to the attorney general, whose approval shall be required prior to implementation of the agreement. Once approved by the review board and the attorney general, any provision of the agreement reducing the sentence of, transferring the custody of, dismissing the charges against, and/or agreeing to immunize the witness must be presented to the superior court for its approval in accordance with applicable statutes and the rules of that court.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1990, ch. 331, § 1.)