Justice Court Manual - Coronavirus And The N.Y. State Courts

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Town and Village Justice CourtsTable of ContentsPREFACE . 5I.OVERVIEW: HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL. 6II.OVERVIEW OF THE JUSTICE COURT SYSTEM . 7A.New York State’s Town and Village Courts . 7B.What are the Functions of the Town and Village Courts? . 81.Civil Actions and Proceedings . 82.Criminal Actions and Proceedings . 93.Traffic and Parking Violations . .9i. Adjudicating "Traffic Infractions" . .9ii. Traffic Violations Bureau . . 104.State Laws Granting Justice Court Jurisdiction . 115.Provisional Remedies, Process, and Search Warrants . 116.Contempt of Court . 127.Marriages and Oaths . 128.Special Considerations for Justice Courts within the District of a District Court . 12C.General Oversight by the State . 13D.Other Justice Court Stakeholders . 131.Police Agencies: Transporting Defendants from County Correctional Facilities .142.District Attorneys .143.Indigent Criminal Defenders 144.Civil Legal Service Providers . .14III.JUSTICE COURT ADMINISTRATION . 16A.Introduction . 16B.Separation of Powers: Local Discretion and Judicial Independence . 16C.Supervision of Court Personnel, Establishment of Court Personnel Salaries, and Court Personnel Policies . 191.Creation and Abolition of Offices . 19i.Justices . .19ii.Non-Judicial Personnel .21iii. Enforcement Officers .22iv.Full-Time versus Part-Time Positions . .22v.Appointment and Termination, and Training .22vi. Civil Service Rules . 23vii. Oaths of Office and Undertakings . .23viii. Fingerprinting Requirements for Justices and Judicial Staff . 242.Non-Judicial Personnel: Supervision and Employment Policies . 253.Compensation: Salaries and Benefits . .26i.Non-Judicial Personnel Compensation . 26ii.Working Within Staff Appropriations . 26iii.Judicial Compensation . 27D.Vacancies in Judicial Office . 281.Creation of Vacancies . 282.Resignations . 283.Filling Vacancies . 29i.Vacancies in the Office of Town Justice . . .29ii.Vacancies in the Office of Village Justice and Acting Village Justice. 29iii.Temporary Assignment of Justices . .302

[Type text]E.F.G.4. Vacancies in Non-Judicial Office . 30Criminal Proceedings in the Justice Courts . 301.Protecting Criminal Defendants’ Right to Counsel . 302.Defendant’s Right to Counsel at Arraignment . 323.Determining Defendant's Eligibility for Assigned Counsel. . 334.Criminal History Reports of Defendants (RAP Sheets) .345.Recording Criminal Proceedings . 356.Criminal Trials and Juries . 357.Appeals . 35Justice Court Operations . 361.Court Facilities . 362.Court Security .36i.Dedicate Space Exclusively for Justice Court Use. . .37ii.Eliminate Potential Courtroom Weapons. . . . .37iii. Create Strategic Barriers. . . 37iv. Eliminate Strategic Lines of Sight. . . 38v.Secure Courtroom Furniture. . 38vi. Provide Uniformed and Armed Security Presence. . 38vii. Provide Ingress Screening. . . .39viii. Secure and Illuminate Parking . . .39ix.Arrange Armed Escort for Bank Deposits . .39x.Secure Storage of Cash and Negotiable Instruments . . 39xi.Provide Duress Alarms in Strategic Places . . 403.Setting Court Hours . 404.Setting Office Hours . 405.Access to Justice Court Records . 40i.Custody of Records . .41ii.Records Management Responsibilities. . . .42iii. Records of Dissolved Justice Courts. 436.Judicial Ethics . .437.Judicial Campaign Ethics . 44Justice Court Fiscal Administration . 441.Establishing Justice Court Budgets . 442.Reporting Monthly to the State Comptroller. 453. Annual Audit Requirements . 45i.Justice Court Recordkeeping Requirements . . .464. Distribution of Fines Collected by the Justice Court . 585. Fees under General Municipal Law § 99-l . 606. Handling Justice Court Funds . 61i.Internal Controls: Accounting Process and Records. . . . .62ii. Receipts. . 62iii. Disbursements. . . 63iv. Reconciling Cash Book Balances with Adjusted Bank Balances. . .64v.Bank Reconciliations. .65vi. OCA Credit Card Machine Program. . . .66vii. New Credit Card Machine Payment Program 66viii. Credit Card Controls . . .677. Insuring a Justice Court .698. Protecting Justice Court Data Security . .69i.Periodic Backups and Secure Duplication of Electronic Data .70ii. Protections Against Unauthorized Use .70iii. Protections Against Alteration .709.Internal Control Responsibilities of Governing Boards .713

[Type text]H.IV.Funding Sources for Routine Justice Court Administration . 711.Justice Court Assistance Program . 712.Records Management Grants . 723.Justice Court Audits . 72INTER-MUNICIPAL COOPERATION 74A. Inter-Municipal Cooperation Pursuant to General Municipal Law Article 5-G .75B.C.D.E.1. Getting Started . .752. The Form of the Inter-Municipal Agreement (IMA) 753. Approval of the Agreement .76Factors to Consider when Reviewing Whether and How Much to Engage in Inter-Municipal Cooperation .77Justice Courts and Tax Cap “Transfers of Function” . 78Prohibition Against Binding Future/Successor Boards .79Potential Options 801.Share Court Facilities (UJCA § 106 / GML Art 5-G) . 802.Elect a Single Judge for Multiple Justice Courts (UJCA § 106-b). 823.Share Facilities and a Single Justice for Multiple Justice Courts .834.Merge Courts and Select Justices From Each Town (UJCA § 106-a) . 835.Create a Village Justice Court (Village Law § 3-301 (2)(a)) .856.Adding an Additional Village Justice (Village Law § 3-302 (3)) .857.Abolish the Village Justice Court (Village Law § 3-301 (2)(a)) . 858.Handling of Records of a Dissolved Village Justice Court .869.Propose an Alternative Approach . 8710. Best Practices for Exploring Inter-Municipal Cooperation . 8711. Identify Opportunities . 8812.Conduct a Feasibility Analysis. 8813.Negotiate the Agreement: Important Questions to Answer . 8914. Build and Maintain Support . 9015. Anticipate and Plan for Potential “Roadblocks” . 90APPENDIX A .98APPENDIX B .100APPENDIX C .101APPENDIX D .1034

Town and Village Justice CourtsPrefaceIt is with great pleasure that I introduce the New York State Justice Court Manual. This Manual, aproduct of the Justice Court Task Force, is New York’s first one-stop-shopping handbook of best practices toefficiently operate a Justice Court consistent with both local needs and the interests of the administration ofjustice. This Manual also offers town and village governments invaluable advice about combining, sharing, andotherwise adapting their Justice Courts to fiscal, operational, and other local needs.The Justice Court Task Force, and this Manual, appear in a time of fiscal constraint and close focus onlocal governance. Like all public instrumentalities in New York State, wise stewardship of Justice Courts isimportant to keep the public trust vested in them and make efficient use of limited taxpayer funds. Ensuringthat Justice Courts reflect these realities is both important and fraught with complexity due to the many fiscal,operational, constitutional, and statutory issues that shape Justice Courts. The Task Force's work of identifyingneeds and concerns, researching best practices and governing laws, sifting through and synthesizing all of theinformation, coming to consensus, and developing this Manual, was no small mandate.In this mandate, the Task Force’s mission – and one of this Manual’s guiding values – is to recognizeand empower a town and village discretion to the maximum extent practicable. Under State law, each JusticeCourt represents collaboration between its sponsoring locality, the State, and the justice stakeholders appearingin or affected by the courts operations. I hope this Manual promotes the wise collaboration that is key tohealthy Justice Courts and their effective administration of justice.In their discretion, localities sponsoring Justice Courts are asking questions about potentiallyreconfiguring their local courts. This Manual offers objective advice about options to share facilities, mergecourts, restructure judgeships, and undertake other reforms to improve the local administration of justice.Although this Manual is an impressive document in its thoroughness and completeness, perhaps what ismost impressive is that it represents the collective voice of so many groups and agencies that have somethingimportant to say about Justice Courts and their optimal functioning. You will see these groups listed in theappendix of this Manual. This Task Force was able to take their many legitimate points of views and stillachieve this goal. Because the Justice Court environment constantly changes, this Manual is intended to be aliving document and will be updated periodically as the need arises.I would like to thank the co-chairs and members of the Task Force for their hard work and contributionsto developing this Manual. I know that it will educate and inform local governments in making the bestdecisions about Justice Courts for their communities.Honorable Michael V. CoccomaDeputy Chief Administrative JudgeUnified Court System5

Town and Village Justice CourtsI.Overview: How to Use This ManualTown and Village Justice Courts are part of New York State’s complicated web of judicial institutions and playvital roles in both criminal and civil actions. The purpose of this Manual is to provide an overview of theJustice Courts, including the types of cases they handle, how they operate, how a village may establish orabolish a Justice Court, and how towns and villages can collaborate to provide better administration of justiceand operate more efficiently.This Manual is intended to support justices, town and village governing boards, Justice Court clerks and othernon-judicial staff of the Justice Courts, municipal chief financial officers, and other municipal officials who areinvolved or interact with Justice Court operations. Its contents reflect best practices recommended by theOffice of the State Comptroller, Office of Court Administration, New York State Association of Towns, NewYork State Conference of Mayors, New York State Magistrates’ Association, and other key stakeholders in theJustice Court system. These stakeholders comprise the Justice Court Task Force, which is responsible fordeveloping this Manual. A list of the Justice Court Task Force’s participants is included in the appendix of thisManual.While this Manual aspires to be comprehensive, it is not designed to provide legal or operational advice withregard to particular issues that may arise in a specif

Jan 31, 2015 · Town and Village Justice Courts 7 II. Overview of the Justice Court System A. New York State’s Town and Village Courts Within New York’s complex judicial system are nearly 1,300 Town and Village Justice Courts.1 Justice Courts are governed by the Uniform Justice Court Act (“

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