RI Supreme Court

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Rhode Island state and local government have grappled with police and firefighter disability pensions for many years.  Now, as RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains, two recent  Rhode Island Supreme Court have gone against police and firefighters. 


In a split decision, The Rhode Island Supreme Court has decided that the state Retirement Board was entitled to question a tax-free disability pension paid to a former Cranston police officer who objected after his pension was cut by the state.


Dan Doyle, who was sentenced last week to serve seven years in prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from the Institute for International Sport, a non-profit housed at the University of Rhode Island, is asking the Rhode Island Supreme Court to be released on bail pending the appeal of his criminal conviction.

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Social media continues its creep into every area of life. Once again, a Facebook post has become an issue in a Rhode Island lawsuit that has reached the Rhode Island Supreme Court, which has reinstated the unemployment benefits of a worker fired because of a social media post.

Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell told lawyers meeting in Providence today that he is concerned that arrests of undocumented immigrants inside or near state court buildings could lead to  people skipping out on court appearances.

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The Rhode Island Supreme Court has upheld a Superior Court ruling that stated that Warren taxpayers were shortchanged by the Bristol-Warren Regional School District to the tune of about $2 million in the 2014-2015 district budget.

The high court decision, released today, states that Warren correctly argued that under the state’s school aid funding formula should result in a smaller contribution to the two-town school district because Warren is the poorer community.

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Raymond `Beaver’ Tempest Jr. remains a free man, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled again in a decision released today.

The high court rejected Atty. Gen. Peter Kilmartin’s attempt to re-argue the 1982 murder of Doreen Picard, a Woonsocket homecoming queen. The court ruled that the state had not raised novel legal issues in the bid to argue the case again.

The opinion carried dissents from Chief Justice Paul Suttell and Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg. Both said the state’s case had merit.

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The Rhode Island Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday  in two cases related to the long-running conflict over a visitors center proposed for the grounds of The Breakers mansion in Newport. 

Raymond "Beaver" Tempest Jr., a 62-year-old Woonsocket man whose murder conviction has been vacated in Rhode Island Superior Court, has been released on home confinement while the Rhode Island Supreme Court considers the state’s appeal of the Superior Court judgment.

Tempest will be released on home confinement under terms set by Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini, who vacated Tempest’s murder conviction on August 4.

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The murder conviction of a 62-year-old Woonsocket man has been vacated by Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini.

The judge cited DNA evidence introduced by lawyers for Raymond 'Beaver' Tempest during post-conviction relief hearings earlier this year. Tempest was convicted in the 1982 killing of Doreen Picard of Woonsocket.


Two bills meant to discourage the misuse of campaign accounts have cleared an initial hurdle at the General Assembly.  Efforts to restore the state Ethics Commission’s oversight of the legislature continue to languish.

Legislative committees have passed a bill requiring candidates to have a separate bank account for their campaign money. Another bill would make public officeholders file an annual bank statement to back up the information in their campaign spending reports.


The Rhode Island Supreme Court is heading out of the courthouse Thursday, to hear cases at Rhode Island College. 

Court spokesman Craig Berke said the event will feature cases that may spark the interest of college students. That includes an appeal of a criminal conviction for sexual assault. Burke said it will be an educational opportunity, especially for Pre-Law and political science students.

Keven A. McKenna, the former state representative, Providence Municipal Court judge and unsuccessful mayoral candidate in the capital city, is in trouble again with the Rhode Island court system.

McKenna, whose law license was recently suspended for one year by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in a long-running professional conduct dispute, was slapped by Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst in as unusual decision that found McKenna responsible for unprofessional conduct as a lawyer.

In the never ending casino legal joust between the state and the Narragansett Indian Tribe, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of the state Casino Act.

Rhode Island  Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein has upheld an initial legal settlement in Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s 38 Studios lawsuit over the $75 million state loan guarantee granted to the failed video game company started by Curt Schilling, the former  Boston Red Sox pitcher.

In an opinion released this afternoon, Silverstein approved a $4.4 million settlement reached with the Providence law firm of Moses, Alfonso and Ryan, a firm that advised the state on bonds of the ill-fated loan program.