Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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  2002 Signature
2002 Veto
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July 8, 1996


In accordance with the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws § 43-1-4, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 96-S-2989, as amended, "An Act Relating to Criminal Procedure."

The original intent of this bill was to make certain technical corrections relating to the destruction or sealing of records of persons acquitted or otherwise exonerated of a crime. The Department of the Attorney General and the State Police did not oppose the bill in its original form. A floor amendment was added, however, which would have a significant adverse effect on the operation of the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Identification.

The amendment requires the Bureau of Criminal Identification to report to the FBI any exoneration within three business days of receipt of the disposition. Both the Office of the Attorney General and the State Police find this provision unnecessary and entirely unworkable.

First, under present practice, when a person is arrested, two FBI fingerprint cards are taken. One is sent to the FBI reporting the arrest and the second "the green sheet" is taken with four fingers and used to report the disposition at the conclusion of the criminal case. Since Rhode Island is not a "single source contributor State," each of the local police departments submits the cards directly to the FBI upon arrest. After disposition, the green sheet is then used by local law enforcement agencies to submit the final disposition to the FBI and it is matched to the original submission. To comply with the bill, as amended, the Bureau of Criminal Identification would need to receive all of the original FBI fingerprint cards as well as the disposition cards from every police department and be responsible for submission of both to the FBI. The BCI unit estimates a potential additional paperwork load of over sixty-eight thousand forms per year. Since this would be in addition to the State forms already handled, this bill would effectively double the workload of the ten-person unit. The bill provides no additional resources to handle the increased responsibility.

Second, even if the Attorney General's office were forced to assume the added responsibility of reporting the arrests and dispositions for the forty-plus law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island, a legal requirement to do so within three days is unrealistic.

The Attorney General and the State Police proposed an alternate amendment which would have required the original submitting agency to submit the exoneration to the FBI within forty-five days. This amendment would have both relieved the BCI of an enormous increase in workload and provided a reasonable and definitive time frame for local law enforcement agencies to report an acquittal or other exoneration to the FBI. Unfortunately, the proposed amendment was rejected.

For the foregoing reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support of this veto.


Lincoln Almond