TITLE 8
Courts and Civil Procedure–Courts

CHAPTER 8-3
Justices of Supreme, Superior, and Family Courts

SECTION 8-3-11


§ 8-3-11 Allowances to surviving spouses, domestic partners or minor children of deceased justices.

(a) Whenever any justice of the supreme court, the superior court, the family court, or the district court who was engaged as a judge prior to January 1, 2009, dies after retirement or during active service while eligible for retirement, or during active service after having served fifteen (15) years or more in office, his or her surviving spouse or domestic partner shall receive annually thereafter, during his or her lifetime and so long as he or she remains unmarried or not in a domestic partnership, an amount equal to one-half (1/2) of the annual payment that the justice was receiving by way of salary or retirement pay at the time of his or her death. Whenever a justice of any of the courts shall die without having become eligible to retire either under § 8-3-7 or 8-3-8 and has served seven (7) years or more in office, his or her surviving spouse or domestic partner shall receive annually thereafter, during his or her lifetime and so long as he or she remains unmarried or not in a domestic partnership, one-third ( 1/3) of the annual salary that the justice was receiving at the time of his or her death. Whenever a justice of the courts shall die without having become eligible to retire either under § 8-3-7 or 8-3-8 and has not served seven (7) years in office, his or her surviving spouse or domestic partner shall receive annually thereafter, during his or her lifetime and so long as he or she remains unmarried or not in a domestic partnership, one-fourth (1/4) of the annual salary that the justice was receiving at the time of his or her death.

(b) Any justice of the courts who is engaged as a judge on or after January 1, 2009, and prior to July 1, 2009 may elect to receive retirement pay that is reduced by an additional ten percent (10%) of the average of the highest three (3) consecutive years annual compensation (i.e., ninety percent (90%) reduced to eighty percent (80%) or seventy percent (70) reduced to sixty percent (60%)), and where such option is exercised by giving the general treasurer notice in writing thereof within ninety (90) days after the date of his or her retirement his or her surviving spouse or domestic partner or minor children shall receive annually one-half (1/2) of his or her retirement pay during his or her lifetime so long as he or she remains unmarried or not in a domestic partnership, or the children are under twenty-one (21) years of age provided, however, for any justice engaged on or after July 1, 2009 but prior to July 1, 2012, the reduction shall be based on the average of the highest five (5) consecutive years annual compensation.

(c)(1) Any justice of the courts who is engaged as a judge on or after July 1, 2012 and who elects to receive a retirement pay that is reduced, shall receive a lesser retirement allowance as determined by actuarial calculation, which shall be payable throughout life with the provision that:

(i) Option 1. Upon the justice's death, the justice's lesser retirement allowance shall be continued throughout the life of and paid to such person having an insurable interest in the justice's life, as the justice shall nominate by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the retirement board at the time of his or her retirement.

(ii) Option 2. Upon the justice's death, one-half (1/2) of the justice's lesser retirement allowance shall be continued throughout the life of and paid to such person, having an insurable interest in the justice's life, as the justice shall nominate by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the retirement board at the time of the beneficiary's retirement.

(2) For purposes of any election under this section the justice may designate more than one person to receive benefits after his or her death, provided that the designation shall specify the portion of the actuarial equivalent of the justice's retirement allowance to be paid to each person, and provided further that the aggregate actuarial value of the portions shall not exceed the actuarial equivalent of the justice's retirement benefit determined in the case of an election under this section as of the date of the justice's retirement.

(3) A justice selecting more than one person to receive benefits under this section may only select beneficiaries from among his or her children, adopted children, step-children, and/or spouse or domestic partner.

(d) Whenever any justice of the supreme court, the superior court, the family court, or the district court who was engaged as a judge on or after January 1, 2009, dies during active service while eligible for retirement, or during active service after having served fifteen (15) years or more in office, his or her surviving spouse or domestic partner shall receive annually thereafter, during his or her lifetime and so long as he or she remains unmarried or not in a domestic partnership, an amount equal to one-half (1/2) of the annual payment that the justice was receiving by way of salary.

(e) Whenever a justice of any of the courts who was engaged as a judge on or after January 1, 2009, shall die without having become eligible to retire either under § 8-3-7 or 8-3-8 and has served seven (7) years or more in office, his or her surviving spouse or domestic partner shall receive annually thereafter, during his or her lifetime and so long as he or she remains unmarried or not in a domestic partnership, one-third (1/3) of the annual salary that the justice was receiving at the time of his or her death.

(f) Whenever a justice of the courts who was engaged as a judge on or after January 1, 2009, shall die without having become eligible to retire either under § 8-3-7 or 8-3-8 and has not served seven (7) years or more in office, his or her surviving spouse or domestic partner shall receive annually thereafter, during his or her lifetime and so long as he or she remains unmarried or not in a domestic partnership, one-fourth (1/4) of the annual salary that the justice was receiving at the time of his or her death.

(g) In the event the deceased justice shall have no surviving spouse or domestic partner, or the surviving spouse or domestic partner should predecease their minor children, then the benefits conferred by this section shall be received in equal shares by the minor children, if any, until each shall attain the age of twenty-one (21) years.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1970, ch. 300, § 2; P.L. 1976, ch. 313, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 19, § 5; P.L. 1982, ch. 204, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 76, § 1; P. L. 1990, ch. 30, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 510, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 100, art. 35, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 68, art. 7, § 13; P.L. 2009, ch. 343, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 344, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 408, § 15; P.L. 2011, ch. 409, § 15.)