Rhode Island law generally makes larceny a felony if the item stolen is worth $1,500 or more, but legislation passed by both the House and the Senate drastically undercuts this limit, allowing for larceny of farm products to be considered a felony if the farm product is worth just $250. In March, we testified before the House and Senate Judiciary committees that, while these thefts should remain criminal, elevating them from misdemeanor to felony crimes solely because they took place on a farm instead of a person’s backyard was far out of line with current laws and raised serious concerns about the appropriateness of the penalties. Unfortunately, the Senate passed the legislation in March and the House followed in June. The ACLU requested a veto from the Governor, but he signed the bill into law on June 23.
Larceny of Farm Products (H 7619A, S 2643A)
Representative Samuel Azzinaro and Senator Susan Sosnowski