PORTSMOUTH — Richard P. D’Addario has been selected to be the judge for the town’s first municipal court, the Town Council revealed Monday night.The council interviewed three candidates and voted to select Mr. D’Addario during a Nov. 23 executive session, Council President James Seveney said.
Mr. D’Addario, who has a law office in Newport, has been the probate judge for the Town of Tiverton since 1993, as well as the probate judge for Little Compton since July of this year. A 1968 graduate of Boston College, he earned his law degree from New York University School of Law in 1971.
He’s the chairman of the R.I. Supreme Court’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, which investigates reports of activities which may constitute the unauthorized practice of law.
Town officials say the municipal court, which should be up and running shortly after the new year, will more efficiently allow for local enforcement of zoning and traffic violations.
The court may impose a sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 per violation, or both. It may also punish defendants for contempt, such as when they don’t appear to answer a charge. The municipal court is also authorized to assess court costs of $50 for each offense.
The court is also expected to accelerate the legal process for disposition of these kinds of violations and should help cut the town costs, such as those resulting when town officials, including police officers, travel to courts outside the town.