PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island’s attorney general has discovered more felony cases not prosecuted by his predecessor.
In addition to the 1,300 cases publicized in December, a review found about 1,700 more cases that had not been entered into the Superior Court computer system to complete the charging process, Attorney General Peter Neronha said Tuesday.
As former Attorney General Peter Kilmartin finished his term last year, The Providence Journal reported that the statute of limitations had expired on most of the 1,300 cases brought by police departments between 2009 and 2015 that his office didn’t pursue. Kilmartin’s spokeswoman blamed the police departments, saying they didn’t file the investigative packages needed by prosecutors for those cases.
Neronha says both police departments and the attorney general’s office have a responsibility to ensure prosecutors have what they need.
Only about 40 of those 1,300 cases could still be prosecuted and the office is working with police departments that can supply the necessary information required to move forward, Neronha’s spokeswoman said Wednesday.
For the 1,700 additional cases, Neronha said prosecutors received all relevant information but didn’t have enough intake unit staff to move them forward to Superior Court. Neronha has added more clerks to that unit and plans to prosecute those cases, prioritizing ones that involve victims. They’ve addressed about 850 of those cases since January.
When he took office in January, Neronha said nothing was more pressing than getting a handle on the intake process because every case warrants a timely and thorough review. The court, defendants and especially victims of crime deserve nothing less, he added.
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré told WPRI-TV there are flaws throughout the system, both within police departments and at the attorney general’s office. Most of the unprosecuted cases were initiated by Providence police.
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