On Friday, December 8, 2023, The Providence Journal reported that Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini has filed an official complaint with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel against Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha over social media posts Neronha made regarding a case Judge Procaccini presided over.

At a hearing on December 8th, Judge Procaccini outlined five rules of professional conduct he said Attorney Neronha had violated through his social media posts, including making false statements undermining the integrity of the court, disruptive conduct intended to undermine the court’s workings, and failing to correct false statements of fact or law.

Judge Procaccini’s complaint centers around social media posts Neronha made in November after closing arguments in a case where Judge Procaccini acquitted a defendant without a jury. Neronha’s posts questioned why some judges “never oversee a jury trial,” which Judge Procaccini and others interpreted as a swipe at his integrity.

Neronha rejected Judge Procaccini’s accusations, maintaining that he was exercising his free speech rights and that his posts were intended to raise public awareness about weaknesses in Rhode Island’s justice system. However, Judge Procaccini held that Neronha’s statements were “unprofessional,” “unethical” and “false” in violation of conduct rules.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel will now investigate Judge Procaccini’s complaint against Neronha. As the state’s chief legal officer, Neronha faces potential disciplinary action if found to have violated the rules of professional conduct through his social media posts regarding the ongoing legal matter.

 

Source: The Providence Journal