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

Date: June 19, 2006

Seal of the Unified Court System
www.nycourts.gov

Strengthening the Local Justice Courts:
Focus of Action Plan
Reforms to Address Problems Detailed in State Comptroller Report

NEW YORK - Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced that the New York State court system will develop and implement an action plan for improving the operations of New York’s town and village justice courts. The action plan will focus in particular on problems highlighted in a report recently issued by the New York State Comptroller’s Office that identified the mishandling of money in 11 of 32 justice courts audited.

“Although the town and village justice courts are locally funded and staffed, they are an essential part of our state’s justice system,” said Judge Lippman. “We are committed to ensuring that these courts meet the most rigorous standards in budgetary management and operations.”

Judge Lippman added, “We have carefully studied the State Comptroller’s report and take very seriously the concerns raised. We are resolved to addressing any areas of weakness revealed by these audits and, to this end, are expeditiously formulating an action plan, to begin implementation within the next 90 days.”

The action plan will be developed by Lawrence Marks, Esq., Administrative Director of the Office of Court Administration, and Ronald Younkins, Esq., Chief of Operations of the Office of Court Administration. Mr. Marks and Mr. Younkins will be assisted by an advisory group consisting of sitting judges of town and village courts, leaders of the New York State Magistrates Association and other experts on New York’s justice courts.

New York has more than 1,300 town and village courts, presided over by more than 2,000 judges. They operate in all areas of New York except New York City, and hear civil and criminal cases, adjudicate misdemeanors, minor offense and traffic violations, and arraign all criminal matters.

The members of the advisory group are as follows:
Hon. Robert G. Bogle
Village Justice, Valley Stream Village Court
Past President, New York State Magistrates Association
Supervising Court Attorney, Nassau County Court

Hon. Thomas R. Dias
Town Justice, Ancram Town Court
Current President, New York State Magistrates Association

Maryrita Dobiel, Esq.
Attorney, Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Court Operations and Planning

Hon. David O. Fuller, Jr.
Village Justice, Tuckahoe Village Court
President Elect, New York State Magistrates Association

Becky Letko
New York State Office of Court Administration, Division of Court Operations
Former Clerk, Guilderland Town Court

Margaret Palmer
Clerk, Groton Town Court
President, New York State Magistrates Court Clerks Association

Hon. Diane Lufkin Schilling
Town Justice, East Greenbush Town Court
Attorney, New York State Unified Court System; City, Town and Village Resource Center

David Sullivan
Executive Assistant, Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Courts Outside of New York City

Hon. Paul G. Toomey
Town Justice, Sand Lake Town Court
Supervising Counsel, New York State Unified Court System; City, Town and Village Resource Center

 
Web page updated: August 16, 2006