97-S 547
Approved Jul. 3, 1997


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows

SECTION 1. For the purposes of promoting the public health, safety, morals or general welfare, the town councils of the towns of Tiverton and the town of Little Compton, shall have the power in accordance with the provisions of this act within the limits of said towns by ordinance, to pass, ordain, establish and amend ordinances to establish a regional juvenile hearing board.

Without limiting the generality of the aforementioned, such ordinances shall include the following provisions:

Section 1. Establishment. -- There is hereby established a regional juvenile hearing board for the towns of Tiverton and Little Compton for the purpose of hearing all cases referred to it by the juvenile division of the police department or the chief of police of either of said towns with respect to persons under the age of eighteen (18), who are charged with violating either (a) the criminal laws of the state of Rhode Island, or the towns of Tiverton or Little Compton, or (b) section 16-19 et seq. of the Rhode Island General Laws, regarding compulsory attendance.

Said board shall be called the Tiverton/Little Compton Regional Juvenile Hearing Board (hereinafter the "Board").

Section 2. Membership. -- (a) The membership of the Board shall consist of seven (7) members selected as follows: the police chiefs of each town or their designees, the superintendents of schools of each town or their designees, the town council presidents of each town, or their designees, and one (1) member of either town, to be selected by the chief judge of the family court.

(b) The term of appointment shall be three (3) years, provided that initial appointments of the police chiefs shall be for one (1) year, initial appointments of the superintendents of schools shall be for two (2) years, and initial appointments of the other members shall be for three (3) years. Each term shall expire on September 30. No board member shall serve more than two (2) consecutive terms.

(c) There shall be two (2) alternate members, one (1) selected by each town council to serve for a one (1) year term expiring September 30. Upon expiration of a term, a member shall continue to serve until replaced or otherwise reappointed. In the event of a vacancy on the Board, an appointment may be made to complete the unexpired term.

Section 3. Referral to the Board. -- (a) Persons who are under the age of eighteen (18) years may be referred to the Board, which shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the Rhode Island Family Court if the alleged offense is one which, if committed by an adult, would be a misdemeanor, provided, however, that there shall be no such referral, unless otherwise decided on a case-by-case basis by the chief of police, with respect to any person:

(i) charged with the offense of assault or battery;

(ii) charged with a controlled substance offense;

(iii) twice previously referred to the Board, or once previously referred and such person refused or failed to abide by the sanctions imposed or make the restitution recommended; or

(iv) at the time of the alleged commission of such offense is within the custody and control of the family court.

(b) The juvenile division of the police department or the chief of police may after referral to the Board any other juvenile offender where in the opinion of the juvenile division or the chief of police such referral would be beneficial to the juvenile concerned and the community at large.

(c) No referral to the Board shall be made until such person, together with his/her legal guardians and/or legal representative has in writing waived such person's right to a hearing in the family court with respect to the offense charged, has admitted to the alleged offense, and has agreed to abide by the decision of the Board.

Section 4. Duties of the board. -- (a) The Board shall be authorized to hear all cases, referred by the juvenile division of the police department or the chief of police of the aforesaid towns, and to impose and order sanctions other than incarceration.

Sanctions may include, but are not limited to:

(i) fines up to a maximum of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense charged;

(ii) community service;

(iii) restitution for any injuries and/or damages, where appropriate, resulting from the commission of any offense;

(iv) imposition of a reasonable curfew; and/or

(v) denial or revocation of the juvenile's driving privileges for a period of up to two (2) years.

In any such proceedings, the Board, prior to imposing sanctions, shall request the juvenile offender and his/her parents or legal guardians to agree to the sanctions imposed, the amount of the restitution and manner of making the same. In ordering restitution, the Board shall take into account the juvenile offender's ability to pay and the amount of actual damage caused as a result of the commission of such offenses.

Section 5. Quorum -- Rules. -- (a) A majority of the Board's membership shall constitute a quorum, and a majority of the members present shall be required to take any action. Any juvenile offender may be represented by counsel and may present evidence in his or her behalf.

(b) The Board shall have the power from time to time to adopt and publish all rules and regulations necessary to carry out its function under the provisions of this ordinance.

(c) The Board shall give notice of the date and time of meeting to the juvenile division of the police department or the chief of police, and the alleged juvenile offender and his/her parents or legal guardians, not less than seven (7) days prior to the date of the hearing.

(d) Board proceedings shall be closed to the public, and the provisions of chapters 42-46 of the Rhode Island general laws shall not apply to such proceedings. All records or proceedings, including records concerning the arrest, apprehension or detention of any juvenile offender, shall be withheld from public inspection but such records shall be available to the parent, legal guardians or attorney of the juvenile for inspection.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage and shall apply to all juveniles alleged to have committed an offense after the date of enactment.

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