Rhode Island prosecutors did not pursue 1,300 felony cases

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin

The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office said it didn't pursue about 1,300 cases between 2009 and 2015, with the statute of limitations up on about 900 felony cases.

Outgoing Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said his office recently realized prosecutors didn't pursue those cases when the office did a review before it transitions leadership to Attorney General-elect Peter Neronha. (Kilmartin is term-limited.)

The office said part of the reason for lack of prosecution is because when felony cases go from District Court to Superior Court, they need packages from police containing things like statements or evidence.

In some cases, the attorney general said police didn't follow through with supplying them.

"It's a very labor-intensive process. As we move forward in the next few years, it will be less labor intensive and the communication will be enhanced, but there's no lack of communication," Kilmartin told NBC 10 News on Wednesday.

The attorney general's office said the unprosecuted felony cases represent about 3 percent of cases initially filed between 2009 and 2015.

The Rhode Island Police Chief’ Association said in a statement that it is “disappointed to learn there has been a clear breakdown of communication in this process for some 1,3000 cases. “

They go on to say in the statement that it would be “speculative at best and irresponsible to criticize or offer blame without knowing the facts.”

The President of RIPCA said only a comprehensive review of the process can offer better insight on what happened and where to improve.

In a statement by the Attorney General-elect's transition spokesman Blake Collins, the office is evaluating all aspects of the AG's Office.

During the transition process we are evaluating all aspects of the Office of Attorney General, including the intake unit. That evaluation is in depth and ongoing. As with all units within the Office, the Attorney General-Elect is committed to building a strong, efficient intake unit that can effectively serve the people of Rhode Island," said Collins.
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