Rhode Island Case Law

The Rhode Island state court system is divided into two levels. The highest court in Rhode Island is the Rhode Island Supreme Court, which consists of five judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the lower courts in Rhode Island. Decisions by the Rhode Island Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.

The lower level of the Rhode Island state court system consists primarily of the Rhode Island Superior Courts and the Rhode Island District Courts. The Superior Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by District Courts. The jurisdiction of the District Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include some misdemeanor cases, violations of municipal ordinances, and small claims cases. 

Rhode Island also has certain other courts that review distinctive types of cases. These include the Rhode Island Family Court, the Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Court, and the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. The Family Court reviews cases related to divorce, child support, property division, and other family law matters. The Workers' Compensation Court reviews workers' compensation disputes. The Traffic Tribunal reviews most traffic violations in the state.

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