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Governor signs bill to give Superior Court jurisdiction over child cruelty cases

STATE HOUSE — Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed legislation introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) and Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) that gives the Superior Court jurisdiction over cases involving child cruelty.

The law (2018-H 7652, 2018-S 2691), which was filed on behalf of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, transfers jurisdiction of offenses involving cruelty to or neglect of a child from the Rhode Island Family Court to the Rhode Island Superior Court.

“Cases involving cruelty to a child are extremely serious,” said Representative Ackerman, who filed the legislation. “Oftentimes these cases involve abandonment, malnourishment or other forms of heinous cruelty.”

Senator Lynch Prata, who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, added, “The Superior Court is far more equipped to deal with these serious offenses and jury trials than Family Court.”