Courts and Civil Procedure – Courts

Family Court

SECTION 8-10-3.2

§ 8-10-3.2. General magistrate of the family court.

(a) There is hereby created within the family court the position of general magistrate of the family court who shall be appointed by the chief judge of the family court with the advice and consent of the senate for a term of ten (10) years and until a successor is appointed and qualified. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the assignment of the general magistrate to more than one such term, subject to the advice and consent of the senate.

(b) The general magistrate shall be an attorney at law and a member in good standing of the Rhode Island bar.

(c) The primary function of the general magistrate shall be the enforcement of child support decrees, orders, and law relative to child support. The general magistrate shall have all the authority and powers vested in magistrates by virtue of §§ 8-10-3, 8-10-3.1, 9-15-19, 9-15-21, 9-14-26, 9-18-8, 9-18-9, and 36-2-3, and any other authority conferred upon magistrates by any general or public law or by any rule of procedure or practice of any court within the state.

(d) The chief justice of the supreme court with the agreement of the chief judge of the family court may specially assign the general magistrate to any court of the unified judicial system; provided, however, that the general magistrate may be assigned to the superior court subject to the prior approval of the presiding justice of the superior court. When the general magistrate is so assigned he or she shall be vested, authorized, and empowered with all the powers belonging to the magistrates of the court to which he or she is specially assigned.

(e) The general magistrate shall:

(1) Receive all credits and retirement allowances as afforded justices under chapter 3 of this title and any other applicable law;

(2) Be governed by the commission on judicial tenure and discipline, chapter 16 of this title, in the same manner as justices and workers' compensation judges;

(3) Be entitled to a special license plate under § 31-3-47;

(4) Receive a salary equivalent to that of a district court judge;

(5) Be subject to all the provisions of the canons of judicial ethics; and

(6) Be subject to all criminal laws relative to judges by virtue of §§ 11-7-1 and 11-7-2.

(f) The general magistrate of the family court who shall at the time of passage of this section hold the position of general magistrate, shall upon retirement, at his or her own request and at the direction of the chief justice of the supreme court, subject to the retiree's physical and mental competence, be assigned to perform such services as general magistrate of the family court, as the chief judge of the family court shall prescribe. When so assigned and performing such service, the general magistrate shall have all the powers and authority of general magistrate of the family court, but otherwise shall have no powers nor be authorized to perform any judicial duties. For any such service or assignments performed after retirement, the general magistrate shall receive no compensation whatsoever, either monetary or in kind. Such a retired general magistrate shall not be counted in the number of judicial officers provided by law for the family court.

(g) The provisions of this section shall be afforded liberal construction.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1987, ch. 52, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 442, § 2; P.L. 2003, ch. 198, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 201, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 3, § 9; P.L. 2012, ch. 207, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 236, § 1.)