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Keeping our Neighborhoods and Families Safe
Published on: Jan 14, 2014

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is keeping Rhode Islanders safe by prosecuting those who threaten the safety and wellbeing of our neighborhoods, families, and children. 

From the streets to the courthouse, no candidate understands the justice system better than Peter, who has a proven record of keeping our communities safe. As Attorney General, he’s drafted legislation and passed laws to protect children from predators and the elderly from scams, to get drunk drivers off the road, and to keep violent felons behind bars.

To address gun violence in urban communities, Peter fought for stricter penalties for those who illegally possess firearms and supported innovative new programs to identify and track people who engage in gang and violent activity. Following the Newton shootings, he also worked extensively with legislators to develop new gun control lawsincreasing penalties for possession of illegal firearms and guns with missing serial numbers and requiring studies to examine mental illness screening and background checks.

Peter took on gang leaders wreaking havoc on our neighborhoods, announcing indictments charging MS-13 gang members, including MS-13 leader Francisco Bonilla, for various gun, drug and assault crimes after a nearly two-year investigation. His legislation for tougher sentencing for crimes committed by gang members also passed

Beginning with his sponsorship of Rhode Island's 2009 law banning texting while driving, Peter has made this issue a priority. He introduced the, "It Can Wait" campaign, sponsored by AT&T, which sends speakers to schools statewide to educate students on the dangers of texting while driving, and he fought for for tougher DUI laws, such as increasing license-suspension periods following a DUI conviction. He also successfully advocated to allow magistrates to order the installation of interlock ignition devices in vehicles of offenders.

The first Attorney General in Rhode Island history to successfully prosecute a case involving human and sex traffickers, Peter strongly supports victims of these destructive crimes and has enacted training for police on how to identify and investigate such issues. In May 2013, representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Laor joined with Peter to educate local and state law enforcement personnel on investigating and prosecuting human trafficking.

Peter believes that crime prevention is a critical component of public safety—from combating prescription drug abuse to bringing awareness to teen dating violence or the dangers of texting while driving, Peter knows that partnering with community members can help prevent crime before it starts. When new and deadly synthetic drugs hit our streets, Peter took quick action leading the charge to outlaw these highly dangerous drugs, and he developed a new law banning synthetic drugs such as "bath salts." The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that there has been a decline in number of calls to the center regarding exposure to synthetic marijuana since this state ban on synthetic drugs.

In 2011, Peter created a new child abuse unit in the Attorney General's office, which focuses solely on prosecuting those who have perpetrated physical and sexual abuse against children and takes into account the unique issues surrounding these cases. Peter and the Child Abuse Unit worked to prosecute Julio Alicea, a Central Falls pastor, for violation his probation after from a 1992 child molestation conviction, which put Alicea behind bars for another 18 years, and successfully prosecuted John Rainey on first and second degree child molestation. 

After past budget cuts forced a court service that helps victims of domestic violence to navigate the legal system to cut operating days and services, Peter and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence successfully urged state legislators to restore previous funding—and to add an additional $100,000 to better serve more than 8,000 victims who use these services every year. Peter also targeted teen dating violence with the “Love is Respect” campaign, launched in February 2013.

Since Peter took his oath as Attorney General, not a day has gone by without his applying that pledge to prosecute those who violate the law, no matter who they are. Rhode Islanders can feel safe knowing that, for another four years, he will prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law.