Email: Chapter 8, Article 10
PART I. MAYOR.
§8-10-1. Powers and duties of mayor.
When not otherwise provided by charter provision or general law, the mayor of every municipality shall be the chief executive officer of such municipality, shall have the powers and authority granted in this section, and shall see that the ordinances, orders, bylaws, acts, resolutions, rules and regulations of the governing body thereof are faithfully executed. He shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any and all alleged violations thereof and to convict and sentence persons therefor. He shall also, until January 1, 1977, be ex officio a justice and conservator of the peace within the municipality, and shall, within the same, have and exercise all of the powers, both civil and criminal, and perform all duties vested by law in a justice of the peace, except that he shall have no jurisdiction in civil cases or causes of action arising without the corporate limits of the municipality. He shall have, until January 1, 1977, the same power to issue attachments in civil suits as a justice of county has, though the cause of action arose without the corporate limits of municipality, but he shall have no power to try the same and such attachments shall be returnable and be heard before some justice of his county. Upon complaint he shall have authority to issue a search warrant in connection with the violation of a municipal ordinance. Any search warrant, warrant of arrest or other process issued by him may be directed to the chief of police or any member of the police department or force of the municipality, and the same may be executed at any place within the county or counties in which the municipality is located. He shall have control of the police of the municipality and may appoint special police officers whenever he deems it necessary, except when otherwise provided by law, and subject to the police civil service provisions of article fourteen of this chapter if such civil service provisions are applicable to his municipality, and it shall be his duty especially to see that the peace and good order of the municipality are preserved, and that persons and property therein are protected; and to this end he may cause the arrest and detention of all riotous and disorderly individuals in the municipality before issuing his warrant therefor. He shall have power to issue executions for all fines, penalties and costs imposed by him, or he may require the immediate payment thereof, and in default of such payment, he may commit the party in default to the jail of the county or counties in which such municipality is located, or other place of imprisonment within the corporate limits of such municipality, if there be one, until the fine or penalty and costs shall be paid, but the term of imprisonment in such case shall not exceed thirty days. He shall, from time to time, recommend to the governing body such measures as he may deem needful for the welfare of the municipality. The expense of maintaining any individual committed to a county jail by him, except it be to answer an indictment, or, until January 1, 1977, be under the provisions of sections eight and nine, article eighteen, chapter fifty of this code, shall be paid by the municipality and taxed as part of the costs of the proceeding.
§8-10-1a. Authority to hire special counsel; consent to other representation.
Notwithstanding any charter provision to the contrary, the governing body of every municipality shall have plenary power and authority by ordinance to authorize the mayor to employ within the limit of funds available for such purpose, in lieu of or in addition to the municipal attorney or municipal solicitor and any assistant municipal attorneys or assistant municipal solicitors, an attorney or firm of attorneys as special municipal counsel to represent the municipality in connection with any legal matter or matters. The ordinance authorizing such employment shall be the consent on behalf of the municipality to such attorney or firm of attorneys to represent other clients in other legal matters involving such municipality, but at the time of representation of any such other client in any such other legal matter in controversy directly involving such municipality, such attorney or firm of attorneys shall file with the recorder as a public record a statement of disclosure identifying such other client and the nature of the matter in controversy directly involving such municipality.
§8-10-1b. Authority to appoint police chief; reinstating to previous rank.
(a) Unless otherwise provided by charter, the mayor of a Class III city or Class IV town or village that has a paid police department that is not subject to the civil services provisions set out in article fourteen of this chapter, may appoint a chief of police.
(b) A Class III city or Class IV town or village may provide by ordinance whether the individual appointed chief of police who held a position as a member of the paid police department prior to his or her appointment as chief of police shall be reinstated to the officer's previous rank following his or her term as chief of police.
§8-10-2. Municipal court for municipalities.
(a) Notwithstanding any charter provision to the contrary, any city may provide by charter provision and any municipality may provide by ordinance for the creation and maintenance of a municipal court, for the appointment or election of an officer to be known as municipal court judge and for his or her compensation, and authorize the exercise by the court or judge of the jurisdiction and the judicial powers, authority and duties set forth in section one of this article and similar or related judicial powers, authority and duties enumerated in any applicable charter provisions, as set forth in the charter or ordinance. Additionally, any city may provide by charter provision and any municipality may provide by ordinance, that in the absence of or in the case of the inability of the municipal court judge to perform his or her duties, the municipal court clerk or other official designated by charter or ordinance may act as municipal court judge: Provided, That the municipal court clerk or other official designated by charter or ordinance to act as municipal court judge shall comply with the requirements set forth in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, as well as any other requirements that the city by charter provision or the municipality by ordinance may require.
(b) Any person who makes application for appointment to, or who files to become a candidate in any election for municipal judge, shall first submit to a criminal background check, to be conducted by the State Police. The cost of the criminal background check shall be paid by the applicant or candidate. The result of each background check conducted in accordance with this section shall be forwarded to the municipal court clerk or recorder whose duty it is to review the results and confirm the eligibility of the applicant or candidate to serve as a municipal judge. No person convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor crime set forth in articles eight, eight-a, eight-b, eight-c or eight-d, chapter sixty-one, of this code is eligible to become a municipal judge.
(c) Any person who assumes the duties of municipal court judge who has not been admitted to practice law in this state shall attend and complete the next available course of instruction in rudimentary principles of law and procedure. The course shall be conducted by the municipal league or a like association whose members include more than one half of the chartered cities and municipalities of this state. The instruction must be performed by or with the services of an attorney licensed to practice law in this state for at least three years. Any municipal court judge shall, additionally, be required to attend a course, on an annual basis for the purpose of continuing education: Provided, That the forgoing additional education requirement does not apply to municipal judges who are attorneys admitted to practice in this state. The cost of any course referred to in this section shall be paid by the municipality that employs the municipal judge.
(d) Only a defendant who has been charged with an offense for which a period of confinement in jail may be imposed is entitled to a trial by jury. If a municipal court judge determines, upon demand of a defendant, to conduct a trial by jury in a criminal matter, it shall follow the procedures set forth in the rules of criminal procedure for magistrate courts promulgated by the Supreme Court of Appeals, except that the jury in municipal court shall consist of twelve members.
§8-10-2a. Payment of fines by credit cards or payment plan; suspension of driver's license for failure to pay motor vehicle violation fines or to appear in court.
(a) A municipal court may accept credit cards in payment of all costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties. A municipal court may collect a substantial portion of all costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties at the time such amount is imposed by the court so long as the court requires the balance to be paid within one hundred eighty days from the date of judgment and in accordance with a payment plan: Provided, That all costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties imposed by the municipal court upon a nonresident of this state by judgment entered upon a conviction for a motor vehicle violation defined in section three-a, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code must be paid within eighty days from the date of judgment. The payment plan shall specify: (1) The number of additional payments to be made; (2) the dates on which such payments and amounts shall be made; and (3) amounts due on such dates.
(b) If costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties imposed by the municipal court for motor vehicle violations as defined in section three-a, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code are not paid within the time limits imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, or if a person fails to appear or otherwise respond in court when charged with a motor vehicle violation as defined in section three-a, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code, the municipal court must notify the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles of such failure to pay or failure to appear: Provided, That notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the municipal court shall wait at least ninety days from the date that all costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties are due in full or, for failure to appear or otherwise respond, ninety days from the date of such failure before notifying the Division of Motor Vehicles thereof.
§8-10-2b. Suspension of licenses for failure to pay fines and costs or failure to appear in court.
(a) If costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties imposed by the municipal court upon conviction of a person for a criminal offense as defined in section three-c, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code are not paid in full within one hundred eighty days of the judgment, the municipal court clerk or, upon a judgment rendered on appeal, the circuit clerk shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of the failure to pay: Provided, That notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, for residents of this state, the municipal court shall wait at least ninety days from the date that all costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties are due in full before notifying the Division of Motor Vehicles thereof: Provided, however, That at the time the judgment is imposed, the judge shall provide the person with written notice that failure to pay the same as ordered may result in the withholding of any income tax refund due the licensee and shall result in the suspension of the person's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state and that the suspension could result in the cancellation of, the failure to renew or the failure to issue an automobile insurance policy providing coverage for the person or the person's family: Provided further, That the failure of the judge to provide notice does not affect the validity of any suspension of the person's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state. For purposes of this section, payment shall be stayed during any period an appeal from the conviction which resulted in the imposition of costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties is pending.
Upon notice, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall suspend the person's driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state until such time that the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties are paid.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, the notice of the failure to pay costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties may not be given where the municipal court, upon application of the person upon whom the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties were imposed filed prior to the expiration of the period within which these are required to be paid, enters an order finding that the person is financially unable to pay all or a portion of the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties: Provided, That where the municipal court, upon finding that the person is financially unable to pay a portion of the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties, requires the person to pay the remaining portion, the municipal court shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of the person's failure to pay if not paid within the period of time ordered by the court.
(c) If a person charged with a criminal offense fails to appear or otherwise respond in court, the municipal court clerk shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of the failure to appear: Provided, That notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, for residents of this state, the municipal court clerk shall wait at least ninety days from the date of the person's failure to appear or otherwise respond before notifying the Division of Motor Vehicles thereof. Upon notice, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall suspend the person's driver's license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state until such time that the person appears as required.
(d) On and after July 1, 2008, if the licensee fails to respond to the Division of Motor Vehicles order of suspension within ninety days of receipt of the certified letter, the municipal court of original jurisdiction shall notify the Tax Commissioner that the licensee has failed to pay the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties assessed by the court or has failed to respond to the citation. The notice provided by the municipal court to the Tax Commissioner must include the licensee's Social Security number. The Tax Commissioner, or his or her designee, shall withhold from any personal income tax refund due and owing to a licensee the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties due to the municipality, the Tax Commissioner's administration fee for the withholding and any and all fees that the municipal court would have collected had the licensee appeared: Provided, That the Tax Commissioner's administration fee may not exceed $25: Provided, however, That the Tax Commissioner may change this maximum amount limitation for this fee for fiscal years beginning on or after July 1, 2008, by legislative rule promulgated in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code: Provided further, That the administrative fees deducted shall be deposited in the special revolving fund hereby created in the State Treasury, which shall be designated as the Municipal Fines and Fees Collection Fund, and the Tax Commissioner shall make such expenditures from the fund as he or she deems appropriate for the administration of this subsection. After deduction of the Tax Commissioner's administration fee, the Tax Commissioner shall remit to the municipality all remaining amounts withheld pursuant to this section and the municipal court shall distribute applicable costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties owed to the municipality, the Regional Jail Authority Fund, the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, the Community Corrections Fund, the Governor's subcommittee on law-enforcement training or any other fund or payee that may be applicable. After the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties are withheld, the Tax Commissioner shall refund any remaining balance due the licensee. If the refund is not sufficient to cover all the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties being withheld pursuant to this section, the Tax Commissioner's administration fee shall be retained by the Tax Commissioner and the remaining money withheld shall be remitted by the Tax Commissioner to the municipality. The municipality shall then allocate the money so remitted to the municipality in the following manner: (1) Any costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties due to the municipality; (2) seventy-five percent of the remaining balance shall be paid to the appropriate Regional Jail Authority Fund; (3) fifteen percent of the remaining balance shall be paid to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund; (4) six percent of the remaining balance shall be paid into the Community Corrections Fund; and (5) the final four percent shall be paid to the Governor's subcommittee on law-enforcement training. When the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties exceed the licensee's income tax refund, the Tax Commissioner shall withhold the remaining balance in subsequent years until such time as the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties owed are paid in full. The Tax Commissioner shall remit the moneys that he or she collects to the appropriate municipality no later than July 1, of each year. If the municipal court or the municipality subsequently determines that any such costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties were erroneously imposed, the municipality shall promptly notify the Tax Commissioner. If the refunds have not been withheld and remitted, the Tax Commissioner may not withhold and remit payment to the municipality and shall so inform the municipality. If the refunds have already been withheld and remitted to the municipality, the Tax Commissioner shall so inform the municipality. In either event, all refunds for erroneously imposed costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties shall be made by the municipality and not by the Tax Commissioner.
(e) Rules and effective date. –- The Tax Commissioner may promulgate such rules as may be useful or necessary to carry out the purpose of this section and to implement the intent of the Legislature, to be effective on July 1, 2008. Rules shall be promulgated in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(f) On or before July 1, 2005, the municipal court may elect to reissue notice as provided in subsections (a) and (c) of this section to the Division of Motor Vehicles for persons who remain noncompliant: Provided, That the person was convicted or failed to appear on or after January 1, 1993. If the original notification cannot be located, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall accept an additional or duplicate notice from the municipal court clerk.
PART III. RECORDER AND MUNICIPAL CLERK.
§8-10-3. Powers and duties of recorder.
It shall be the duty of the recorder of every municipality to keep the journal of the proceedings of the governing body thereof, and he shall have charge of and preserve the records of the municipality. Unless otherwise provided by charter provision or general law, whenever the mayor is unable because of illness or absence from the municipality to perform the duties of his office, and during any vacancy in the office of mayor, the recorder shall perform the duties of the mayor and be invested with all of his power and authority.
§8-10-4. Powers and duties of recorder or clerk relating to warrants, oaths, sureties and bonds.
Any municipality may provide by charter provision and ordinance, or notwithstanding a charter provision to the contrary, a municipality may provide by ordinance, that the governing body may vest in the recorder, assistant recorder, municipal clerk or deputy municipal clerk, the authority to issue warrants for arrest, to administer oaths, and to accept and approve sureties and bonds, and any such ordinance shall provide for the appointment of such person by confirmation of the governing body and for the removal of such authority by action of the governing body: Provided, That such person may only issue warrants, administer oaths, or accept and approve sureties and bonds, in the absence of the mayor, or if there be a police court or municipal judge, in the absence of such police court or municipal judge.