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Rhode Island Court Appeals

Rhode Island has a state trial court system that consists of Superior Courts, Family Courts, District Courts, Traffic Tribunal Courts and the Workers' Compensation Court. Municipal Courts and Probate Courts are local courts.

Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all types of civil and criminal State Appeals, but generally only handle Rhode Island Court Appeals that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. Family Courts, District Courts, Traffic Tribunals, Municipal Courts and Probate Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases. The Workers' Compensation Court is a specialized Court Of Appeal that handles employer/employee disputes.

Unlike most of other states, the Rhode Island Court Of Appeals is not particularly demarcated into Rhode Island Court of Civil Appeals and Rhode Island Court Criminal Appeals. Superior Court handles most of the Rhode Island Court Civil Appeals such as Civil Equity, Complex Commercial and the District court handling landlord/tenant case and small claims that are than less than $5,000. District Courts also handle domestic violence protective orders; involuntary hospitalization and some administrative agency appeals and each have a Small Claims Court division for some general civil claims for less than $2,500.

Rhode Island Criminal Appeals cases heard by the Superior Courts include felonies and some misdemeanors, handling misdemeanor criminal cases when a right to a jury trial is invoked. Superior Courts also handle some probate matters related to equity cases. A Superior Court may have a specialized division for gun-related crimes, including criminal gun possession and use of a firearm in a crime. Limited types of misdemeanors are handled by District courts of Rhode Island Court Appeals .

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Court Of Appeals of Rhode Island has Family Courts that have jurisdiction over domestic relations, juvenile matters, some criminal cases and a few types of civil cases. Domestic Relations cases heard by such courts include divorce and legal separation, child custody, child support, division of property, alimony and paternity. Criminal cases include abandonment, desertion, neglect, threats against immediate family members and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Traffic Tribunals have exclusive jurisdiction over most violations of state law related to motor vehicles, littering or traffic offenses. The Workers' Compensation Court handles disputes between employees and employers about workers compensation benefits, the rehabilitation of injured employees. Its primary responsibility is to provide employee benefits to the deserving candidates or discontinue the benefits when an employee is no longer disabled. The Workers' Compensation Court has a procedure through which individuals can file their litigations without much paper work or expense.

Among the interesting case of Rhode Island County Court Of Appeals include that of James Harris v. State of Rhode Island filed on June 18, 2009 with case number No. 08-259-A and No. 09-038-A. under the Justices Goldberg, Acting C.J., Flaherty, Suttell, Robinson, JJ. And Williams, C.J. (ret.). The appeal was from associate Justice Robert D. Krause in Superior Court, Providence County.

The petitioner, James Harris, appeals from the denial of his application for post conviction relief. He asserts that his request for appointment of counsel was ignored and he was denied the opportunity to be heard on this application. After a pre briefing conference, this case was referred to the full Court sitting in conference for possible disposition without further briefing or argument but a Superior Court justice issued a one-page order denying his petition for failure to set forth sufficient supporting facts and for being "nothing more than a formula pleading."