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After arrest for drug possession, former Cranston councilman’s law license suspended

A temporary special master has been appointed to manage the client files of Matthew Reilly, who was due in Family Court Monday to represent a client when police found him unconscious in his SUV with crack cocaine in his car

Cranston City Councilor Matthew Reilly was questioned by police after being found passed out in a vehicle on May 15.Cranston Police Department

CRANSTON, R.I. — A former city councilor whom police allegedly caught with a crack pipe and crack cocaine earlier this week has been temporarily suspended from practicing law and evicted from his law office.

The chief disciplinary counsel filed an emergency petition Friday to take action against attorney Matthew R. Reilly, after his arrest became public. A Supreme Court justice ordered the immediate interim suspension of Reilly’s law license and appointed Chief Disciplinary Counsel Kerry Reilley Travers as the temporary Special Master of his client files.

Reilly is scheduled to have 18 appearances in Family Court between May 23 and Aug. 9, but had not filed a court excusal, or responded to the chief disciplinary counsel’s attempts to contact him. As Special Master, Travers will have access to Reilly’s office and his client files, and will be able to take action, including returning the files to his clients or their new lawyers.

The emergency petition will be heard by the full Supreme Court at its next regularly scheduled conference. Reilly has until 2 p.m. on Tuesday to respond.


Reilly was due in Family Court to represent a client this past Monday, according to the petition. Instead, the second-term councilman was found passed out in his SUV in a parking lot, with a crack pipe in his hand and crack cocaine in the vehicle console.

In videos from police body-worn cameras, the councilman admitted to officers that he’d smoked crack cocaine before heading in to work at Family Court. On the videos, Reilly also said that he’d spent $100 on the drug the day before, and that he’d relapsed in a long-standing addiction problem.

Reilly is charged with unlawful possession of crack cocaine/fentanyl, which is a misdemeanor. He was released on his own recognizance for arraignment on June 15.


The District Court ordered his eviction from his office in Cranston on Wednesday.

Reilly has also resigned from his Ward 6 seat, and his position as chairman of the Cranston Republican Party.

Mayor Ken Hopkins said Thursday the city will hold a special election for the vacant seat.

“Matt made the right decision to step down so that he can focus his full attention on his well-being and young family,” Hopkins said in a statement. “With this action, a difficult week for our city has closure and it allows our local government leaders to focus on their responsibilities and mission to proceed without the distraction of this unfortunate personal matter for one of our council members. Upon reflection, Matt Reilly chose to put the interests of his constituents above his political interests.”

This story has been updated with the suspension of Matthew Reilly’s law license and the appointment of a special master.

Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.