For defenders of juveniles, a change to the law...

Dear RIACDL Members & RIPD Family Court Attorneys,

This is another piece of recently enacted legislation important to those who practice in Family Court representing juveniles. As with my recent post regarding racial profiling I thought it important enough to bring to everyone’s attention well in advance of our annual Recent Developments in Criminal Law Program in the fall. What follows is a link to the RIPL then an explanation of what it does.

Michael A. DiLauro




EXPLANATION: 2015 RIPL Ch. 190. Family Court–Juveniles–Detention. This legislation makes technical / grammatical as well as more substantive changes to RIGL § 14-1-11. Authorizing and filing petition. As for the latter it is intended to restrict the Family Court’s ability to detain juveniles subject to court orders emanating from status offenses by adding the following underlined language to RIGL § 14-1-11(c):  


 (c) No child shall be ordered detained at the training school unless there is pending against the child a petition setting forth facts which would constitute a felony or misdemeanor if committed by an adult or which alleges a violation of a valid court order, or unless the child is adjudged in contempt of court. Provided, the family court shall not detain a juvenile at the training school for the violation of a valid court order, until a hearing is conducted and it is determined that the child intentionally violated the order, and the violation involves the failure of the child to engage in services or activities intended to protect or promote the child's health or safety, or the health or safety of any other person or persons.


The legislation came about as the result of the efforts of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count, and other Rhode Island juvenile justice stakeholders.