§ 8-8-16.2 District court clerk/magistrate.
(a) Any person who is a member of the bar of Rhode Island may be appointed district court clerk/magistrate by the chief judge in his or her capacity as administrative head of the court, subject to the advice and consent of the senate. The district court clerk/magistrate shall hold that office 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 district court clerk/magistrate to more than one such term, subject to the advice and consent of the senate. The district court clerk/magistrate shall have the power to hear and determine any matters that may be assigned to the district court clerk/magistrate by the chief judge all to the same effect as if done by a judge of the district court, including, but not limited to, matters relating to the determination of, monitoring, collection and payment of restitution and court ordered fines, fees and costs or the ordering of community service in lieu of or in addition to the payment of restitution, fines, fees and costs, consistent with other provisions of the general laws.
(b) The clerk/magistrate may be authorized:
(1) To regulate all proceedings before him or her;
(2) To do all acts 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 fined or to order him or her imprisoned for not more than seventy-two (72) hours, for failure to appear in response to a summons or for refusal to answer questions or produce evidence or for behavior disrupting a proceeding or other contempt of his or her authority; provided; however, that no such imprisonment shall occur prior to review by a judge of the court.
(7) To adjudicate a person in contempt and to order him or her fined or to order him or her imprisoned for not more than seventy-two (72) hours, for failure to comply with a pending order to provide payment or to perform any other act; provided, however, that no such imprisonment shall occurr prior to review by a judge of the court.
(8) To issue a capias and/or body attachment for the failure of a party or witness to appear after having been properly served or given notice by the court and, should the court not be in session, the person apprehended may be detained at the adult correctional institutions, if an adult, or at the Rhode Island training school for youth, if a child, until the next session of the court;
(9) To issue writs of habeas corpus to bring before him or her or a judge of the court any person in jail or in prison to be examined as a witness in a suit or proceeding, civil or criminal, pending before the court, or whose presence is necessary as a party or otherwise necessary so that the ends of justice may be attained, and for no other purpose; and
(10) To issue warrants of arrest and search warrants to the same extent as an associate judge of the court.
(c) Except as otherwise indicated, a party aggrieved by an order entered by the district court clerk/magistrate shall be entitled to a review of the order, whether by appeal or otherwise, by a judge of the court. The court shall, by rules of procedure, establish procedures for review of contempt and adjudications of the clerk/magistrate.
(d) The district court clerk/magistrate shall:
(1) Be governed by the commission on judicial tenure and discipline, pursuant to chapter 16 of this title, in the same manner as justices and judges;
(2) Be subject to all provisions of the canons of judicial ethics;
(3) Be subject to all criminal laws relative to judges by virtue of §§ 11-7-1 and 11-7-2.
(4) Receive any salary that may be established by the state court administrator pursuant to § 8-15-4. The provisions of this section shall be afforded liberal construction.
(P.L. 1997, ch. 173, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 218, art. 5, § 5; P.L. 2002, ch. 109, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 425, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 3, § 7.)