TITLE 8
Courts and Civil Procedure–Courts

CHAPTER 8-8.2
Traffic tribunal

SECTION 8-8.2-1


§ 8-8.2-1 Establishment – Rule-making authority – Adjudication of violations.

(a) There is hereby established a traffic tribunal which shall be charged with the administration and adjudication of traffic violations within its jurisdiction. The traffic tribunal shall be under the supervision of the chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal, who shall be the administrative head of the traffic tribunal and shall have the power to make rules for regulating practice, procedure and business within the traffic tribunal. Pursuant to § 8-6-2, said rules shall be subject to the approval of the supreme court. Such rules, when effective, shall supersede any statutory regulation in conflict therewith. Any person who has been a member of the bar of Rhode Island may be appointed chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal. The chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal shall be appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court, with the advice and consent of the senate, for a period of ten (10) years and until a successor is appointed and qualified. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the reappointment of the chief magistrate for one or more ten (10) year terms subject to the advice and consent of the senate. Compensation for the chief magistrate shall be equal to that of an associate judge of the district court.

(b) The judges and magistrates of the traffic tribunal shall hear and determine cases as provided by law. No district court judge appointed pursuant to chapter 8 of this title shall be assigned to perform duties of a judge or magistrate of the traffic tribunal under this chapter. The chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal may assign a judge or magistrate who is authorized to hear and decide cases in the traffic tribunal to serve as administrative judge or magistrate of the traffic tribunal and the administrative judge or magistrate shall perform such administrative duties as may be delegated to him or her by the chief magistrate. Once assigned to the position, the administrative judge or magistrate shall hold said administrative position for the remainder of his or her respective term as a judge or magistrate of the traffic tribunal.

(c)(1) Those judges of the administrative adjudication court in active service on July 1, 1999 shall serve within the traffic tribunal. Whenever the total number of judges and magistrates in the traffic tribunal exclusive of the chief magistrate shall be less than seven (7), the chief justice of the supreme court, with the advice and consent of the senate, may, as needed, assign a duly qualified member of the bar of this state to act as a magistrate to fill such vacancy and shall submit his or her name to the senate for confirmation. In the event of a vacancy in the position of chief magistrate, the chief justice of the supreme court shall appoint a successor in accordance with subsection 8-8.2-1(a). Any magistrate assigned under this section shall serve a term of ten (10) years and until a successor is appointed and qualified, and shall be in the unclassified service of the state. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the assignment of a magistrate to more than one such term, subject to the advice and consent of the senate. Compensation for any such magistrate shall in no event be equal to or more than that of an associate judge of the district court. Magistrates of the traffic tribunal shall participate in the state retirement system in the same manner as all members of the unclassified service.

(2) If any judge of the traffic tribunal shall retire, or a vacancy becomes available through death, disability or any other reason, the position shall be filled by a magistrate consistent with the provisions of this section.

(d) Each judge and magistrate of the traffic tribunal shall devote full time to his or her judicial duties, except as may be otherwise provided by law. He or she shall not practice law while holding office, nor shall he or she be a partner or associate of any person in the practice of law.

(e) Judges and magistrates of the traffic tribunal shall be subject to the provisions of R.I. Const. Art. XI; to the code of judicial conduct or successor code promulgated by the supreme court of this state, to the jurisdiction of the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline in accordance with chapter 16 of this title; and to the administrative authority and control of the chief justice of the supreme court in accordance with chapter 15 of this title, except that §§ 8-15-3 and 8-15-3.1 shall not apply to judges of the traffic tribunal.

(f) The traffic tribunal shall be a tribunal of record and shall have a seal with such words and devices as it shall adopt.

(g) Judges and magistrates of the traffic tribunal shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations.

(h) Administrative/supervisory officials.

(1) There shall be an assistant to the administrative magistrate of the traffic tribunal who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the chief magistrate and who shall perform such clerical and administrative duties as may be assigned to him or her by the chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal and the administrative judge or magistrate of the traffic tribunal. The assistant to the administrative judge or magistrate shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations within the state.

(2) There shall be a clerk of the traffic tribunal who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal; provided, however, that, effective July 1, 1999, the first clerk of the traffic tribunal shall be that person holding the position of administrator/clerk of the administrative adjudication court as of May 1, 1998, and that person shall hold office for the balance of a term of twelve (12) years which began on September 1, 1992, without the necessity of appointment by the governor or advice and consent of the senate. The clerk of the traffic tribunal shall exercise his or her functions under the direction and control of the chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal and the administrative judge or magistrate of the traffic tribunal. The clerk of the traffic tribunal shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations within the state.

(i) Clerical Personnel/Court Recorders.

(1) The chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal shall appoint deputy clerks and assistance clerks for the traffic tribunal to serve at his or her pleasure. All such clerks may administer oaths and affirmations within the state.

(2) The chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal shall appoint sufficient court recorders to enable all proceedings to be recorded by electronic means and who shall assist in such other clerical duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal.

(3) The chief magistrate of the traffic tribunal shall employ such clerical assistants in addition to deputy clerks as may be required in the traffic tribunal to perform clerical duties.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1999, ch. 218, art. 4, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 3, § 8; P.L. 2008, ch. 1, § 4; P.L. 2011, ch. 292, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 415, § 13; P.L. 2013, ch. 289, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 401, § 1.)