First Municipal Court Judge Named

The Barrington Town Council appoints attorney Francis 'Frank' Connor of Harbour Road to serve as the new Muncipal Court's first judge when it convenes in July.

The Town Council named Barrington’s first-ever Municipal Court judge Monday evening, June 3.

Attorney Francis “Frank” Connor of Barrington was selected unanimously to fill the position for two years effective in July. He is a partner in the law firm of Barton Gilman, with offices in Providence and Boston.

Connor was selected over Dean Robinson of Barrington, who operates his own law firm in Riverside. The attorneys were selected as finalists out of 10 applicants.

“We were fortunate to have two very fine candidates as finalists,” said Town Councilor Bill DeWitt.

Connor lives with his wife and three children on Harbour Road. His resume and profile on Barton Gilman’s website describes him as a trial and appellate attorney in the state and federal courts in RI and Massachusetts for more than 22 years.

His expertise is described as medical professional liability defense, business disputes, insurance and reinsurance issues and catastrophic personal injuries. Connor also serves as a mediator and arbitrator, including for Superior Court civil cases. He has been his law firm’s administrative partner for nine of the past 14 years while continuing to work as a full-time litigator. 

Connor holds BA and JD degrees from Georgetown University. Active in Barrington, he volunteers in the schools and as a youth sports coach, and he races a sailboat on Tuesday nights on Narragansett Bay.

The Municipal Court is expected to convene for its first session on July. The Municipal Court will meet the third Thursday morning of every month for approximately two hours.

The judge will have jurisdiction over minimum housing and zoning ordinances and any other Barrington ordinances except traffic laws to start. Moving and non-moving traffic violations will still be handled by the RI Traffic Tribunal.

Judge Connor will have the power to set bail and levy fines of up to $1,000 and imprison violators for up to 30 days. Court costs would be $45 per charged offense. All the fees and fines would go into the town general fund.

Revenues generated by the court are projected at between $4,000 and $8,000 depending on the dismissals and the fines levied by the judge. The court is not expected to be a major source of revenue -- at least not at the start.

Cost of setting up the court is estimated at around $3,750 -- primarily for Connor’s salary.

The convenience of handling local violations at the local level is the prime reason the Town Council voted to set up the court. Barrington residents will no longer have to travel to Providence for charges such as vandalism, disorderly conduct and possession of alcohol by a minor. 

Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said the Municipal Court also is expected to cut down on some overtime by police officers who can now go to the Town Hall instead of to Providence for certain violations.


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