(a) The attorney general, or an assistant attorney general specially designated by the attorney general, may apply ex parte to the presiding justice of the superior court of competent jurisdiction for an order authorizing the interception of any wire, electronic, or oral communications. Each application ex parte for an order must be in writing, subscribed and sworn to by the applicant.

Terms Used In Rhode Island General Laws 12-5.1-2

  • Designated offense: means the offenses of:

    (i) Murder, robbery, kidnapping, extortion, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault with intent to rob or murder;

    (ii) Arson in the first degree, arson in the second degree, or arson in the third degree;

    (iii) Bribery or larceny involving the receipt of stolen property of a value of more than five hundred dollars ($500);

    (iv) Any violation of chapter 28 of title 21 where the offense is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;

    (v) Any violation of chapters 19, 47, or 51 of title 11, where the offense is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;

    (vi) The lending of money at a rate of interest in violation of law;

    (vii) Being a fugitive from justice for any of the offenses provided in this subdivision; and

    (viii) Conspiracy to commit any of the offenses provided in this subdivision. See Rhode Island General Laws 12-5.1-1

  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • in writing: include printing, engraving, lithographing, and photo-lithographing, and all other representations of words in letters of the usual form. See Rhode Island General Laws 43-3-16
  • Intercept: means aural or other acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device. See Rhode Island General Laws 12-5.1-1
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Oral communications: means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that the communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying that expectation, but the term does not include any electronic communication. See Rhode Island General Laws 12-5.1-1
  • Person: means any individual, partnership, association, joint stock company, trust, or corporation, whether or not any of the foregoing is an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a state, or a political subdivision of a state. See Rhode Island General Laws 12-5.1-1
  • Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.

(b) The application must contain:

(1) The identity of the officer making the application;

(2) A full and complete statement of the facts and circumstances relied upon by the applicant to justify his or her belief that an order should be issued, including:

(i) Details as to the particular designated offense that has been, is being, or is about to be committed;

(ii) A particular description of the nature and location of the facilities from which, or the place where, the communication is to be intercepted;

(iii) A particular description of the type of communications sought to be intercepted; and

(iv) The identity of the person, if known, committing the offense and whose communications are to be intercepted;

(3) A full and complete statement as to whether or not other investigative procedures have been tried and failed or why they reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried or to be too dangerous;

(4) A statement of the period of time for which the interception is required to be maintained. If the nature of the investigation is such that the authorization of interception should not automatically terminate when the described type of communication has been first obtained, a particular description of facts establishing probable cause to believe that additional communications of the same type will occur after the described type of communication has been first obtained;

(5) A full and complete statement of the facts concerning all previous applications, known to the individual making the application, made to the presiding justice of the superior court for authorization to intercept wire, electronic, or oral communications involving any of the same persons, facilities or places specified in the application, and the action taken by the presiding justice of the superior court on each application; and

(6) Where the application is for the extension of an order, a statement setting forth the results thus far obtained from the interception, or a reasonable explanation of the failure to obtain the results.

(c) The presiding justice of the superior court may require the applicant to furnish additional testimony or documentary evidence in support of the application.

(d) Allegations of fact in the application may be based either upon the personal knowledge of the applicant or upon information and belief. If the applicant personally knows the fact alleged, it must be so stated. If the facts establishing reasonable cause are derived in whole or in part from the statements of persons other than the applicant, the sources of the information and belief must be either disclosed or described, and the application must contain facts establishing the existence and reliability of the informant, or the reliability of the information supplied by the informant. The application must also state, so far as possible, the basis of the informant’s knowledge or belief. If the applicant’s information and belief is derived from tangible evidence or recorded oral evidence, a copy or detailed description of the evidence should be annexed to or included in the application. Affidavits of persons other than the applicant must be submitted in conjunction with the application if they tend to support any fact or conclusion alleged in the application. Accompanying affidavits may be based either on personal knowledge of the affiant, or information and belief with the source of the information and reason for the belief specified.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1969, ch. 55, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 167, § 2.)