§ 8-2-11.1. Administrator/magistrate.
(a) Any person holding the position of administrative clerk in the superior court who is a member of the bar of Rhode Island may be appointed administrator/magistrate for a term of ten (10) years and until a successor is appointed and qualified, by the presiding justice, with the advice and consent of the senate, in his or her capacity as administrative judge. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the assignment of an administrator/magistrate to more than one such term, subject to the advice and consent of the senate. Any magistrate in service as of January 1, 2008 who serves at the pleasure of the presiding justice of the superior court may be appointed for a term of ten (10) years with the advice and consent of the senate and until a successor is appointed and qualified.
(b)(1) The administrator/magistrate shall have the power to hear and determine such matters as may be assigned to the administrator/magistrate by the presiding justice all to the same effect as if done by a justice of the superior court.
(2) Without limiting the generality of the foregoing powers and authority, the administrator/magistrate is authorized and empowered to hear and determine motions in civil and criminal proceedings, formal and special causes, to conduct arraignments, to grant or deny bail, to accept pleas of not guilty, guilty, or nolo contendere, and to impose sentence on a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, all to the same effect as if done by a justice of the superior court.
(c) The administrator/magistrate may be authorized:
(1) To regulate all proceedings before him or her;
(2) To do all acts and take all measures necessary or proper for the efficient performance of his or her duties;
(3) To require the production before him or her of books, papers, vouchers, documents, and writings;
(4) To rule upon the admissibility of evidence;
(5) To issue subpoenas for the appearance of witnesses, to put witnesses on oath, to examine them, and to call parties to the proceeding and examine them upon oath;
(6) To adjudicate a person in contempt and to order him or her imprisoned for not more than seventy-two (72) hours, pending review by a justice of the court, for failure to appear in response to a summons or for refusal to answer questions or produce evidence or for behavior disrupting a proceeding;
(7) To adjudicate a party in contempt and to order him or her imprisoned for not more than seventy-two (72) hours, pending review by a justice of the court, for failure to comply with a pending order to provide payment or to perform any other act; and
(8) To issue a capias and/or body attachment upon the failure of a party or witness to appear after having been properly served and, should the court not be in session, the person apprehended may be detained at the adult correctional institution, if an adult, or at the Rhode Island training school for youth, if a child, until the next session of the court.
(d) A party aggrieved by an order entered by the administrator/magistrate shall be entitled to a review of the order by a justice of the superior court. Unless otherwise provided in the rules of procedure of the court, the review shall be on the record and appellate in nature. The court shall, by rules of procedure, establish procedures for review of orders entered by the administrator/magistrate, and for enforcement of contempt adjudications of the administrator/magistrate.
(e) Final orders of the superior court entered in a proceeding to review an order of the administrator/magistrate may be appealed to the supreme court.
(f) The administrator/magistrate shall be:
(1) Governed by the commission on judicial tenure and discipline, chapter 16, of this title, in the same manner as justices and judges;
(2) Subject to all provisions of the canons of judicial ethics;
(3) Subject to all criminal laws relative to judges by virtue of §§ 11-7-1 and 11-7-2.
(P.L. 1991, ch. 44, art. 73, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 442, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 3, § 5; P.L. 2008, ch. 1, § 1.)