Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Kali Holloway, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: January 16, 2007

Seal of the Unified Court System

First Steps in Action Plan to Improve Quality of Local Justice Courts
New Appointments and Administrative Changes Implemented to Enhance Justice Delivery in New York’s Town and Village Courts

NEW YORK - Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced a number of new judicial and administrative appointments to improve operations of New York’s nearly 1,300 Justice Courts. These changes are the first step in the implementation of the State Judiciary’s Action Plan for the Justice Courts, a broad-based initiative designed to improve the efficiency and quality of local Town and Village Courts, which adjudicate as many as two million cases each year.

“These changes in the structure and oversight of local Justice Courts will provide needed support and guidance to help meet the challenge of modernizing our three hundred year old Town and Village Court system.” said Judge Lippman. “The newly created positions are key elements in our effort to assist our local Justice Courts, which are a vital component of New York’s justice system.”

These appointments include Supervising Judges in every judicial district that has Justice Courts, including, in the Fourth Judicial District, Hon. Frank B. Williams, Hon. James P. Dawson and Hon. David Demarest; in the Fifth Judicial District, Hon. James P. Murphy; in the Seventh Judicial District, Hon. Alex R. Renzi and Hon. John J. Rivoli; in the Eighth Judicial District, Hon. Sara S. Sperrazza and Hon. M. William Boller; in the Ninth Judicial District, Hon. Charles Apotheker; and in the Tenth Judicial District, Hon. John G. Marks and Hon. Madeleine Fitzgibbon.

Third District Judicial Administrative Judge George B. Ceresia Jr. and Sixth District Administrative Judge Judith F. O’Shea will both assume the position of Supervising Judge of Town and Village Justice Courts in their respective districts.

The newly appointed Supervising Judges will serve as key liaisons between State courts, local courts and their localities. All appointments were made by Judge Lippman with the approval of Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and in consultation with the Presiding Justices of the Appellate Divisions, and are effective January 1, 2007.

Additional appointees include:
• Diane Schilling, town justice for East Greenbush in Rensselaer County, as Special Counsel for the Justice Courts. In this position, she will work closely with Town and Village Judges to oversee the operations of their courts.
• Paul Toomey, town justice for Sand Lake in Rensselaer County, to the position of Director of the newly created Office of Justice Court Support, which will coordinate support and assistance to Justice Courts.
• Maryrita Dobiel as Assistant Dean with the New York State Judicial Institute, where she will oversee training of Town and Village Judges.

The Unified Court System’s Action Plan for the Justice Courts was based on a comprehensive review of New York’s Justice Court system, and was informed by an advisory group of sitting judges of Town and Village Courts and other Justice Court experts. The State Judiciary has allocated $10 million dollars to support the initiative to assist in court operations, auditing and financial control, court security and education and training. The complete plan is available online at


Web page updated: February 1, 2007