Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: April 10, 2002

Seal of the Unified Court System
Courts to Begin "Secure Pass" System for Attorneys
NEW YORK - Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced the implementation of "Secure Pass" - a new voluntary program that allows attorneys speedy, convenient access to courthouses throughout the state without subjecting them to magnetometer screening, while at the same time maintaining the highest level of security for the facility and the individuals within. Attorneys who apply will undergo a thorough application process, including an electronic criminal history search - similar to that performed on court employees and law enforcement personnel - before being provided with a special identification card with enhanced security features using cutting-edge technology that will allow them to bypass the magnetometers. The Secure Pass program was initiated in consultation with the bar, which requested an option for attorneys to speed their entry into courthouses.

Chief Judge Kaye stated, "Courthouses must be both accessible and safe for all who enter. For  'regular customers' of the court, such as attorneys, we have instituted a new system of identification that allows for simplified, quicker entry, combined with maximal security safeguards. By helping attorneys make their day in court as productive as possible, we improve the smooth functioning of the court by reducing case-processing time, which will benefit litigants and the public in general."

Judge Lippman added, "The Secure Pass system will save attorneys substantial time and inconvenience, particularly for those individuals who travel to several different court locations daily or who must enter and re-enter the courthouse repeatedly in one day. At the same time, the safety of the public and employees within our facilities is paramount and will remain uncompromised. This program will make it possible to integrate prudent, necessary security measures with the practical realities of doing business day in and day out in our courts."

Applications for the Secure Pass cards will be available to members of the bar beginning April 22, 2002, at local courthouses across the state. Use of the cards is expected to start during the middle of May. A $25 processing fee will be charged to cover administrative costs, and the card will be valid for two years.

The new program also will be made available to appropriate governmental and quasi-governmental entities with employees who regularly work in court facilities, and these applications will begin to be accepted starting June 4, 2002.