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Benchmarks: Journal of the New York State Unified Court System

Summer 2006

RESOURCE CENTER IS LIFELINE TO TOWN AND VILLAGE JUSTICES

When New York’s town and village justices have questions — procedural, substantive, even administrative — about matters ranging from murder arraignments to charges of driving while intoxicated, they can call the City, Town and Village Resource Center.

The center was created in 1990 by the Office of Court Administration to provide legal research and technical support for the approximately 2,200 town and village justices around the state as well as for justice court clerks; more recently it became a resource for city court judges as well. Such assistance, which is particularly helpful to the town and village justices who are not attorneys, was previously available only on an informal basis.

Located in Cohoes, N.Y., just outside of Albany, the center is staffed by four attorneys, one of whom is on call weekdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. to accommodate night court. The justice courts are funded by the local town or village, and all town and village justice positions are part-time (see article, this page).

“The type of questions we receive today versus 20 years ago hasn’t changed,” said Paul Toomey, supervising counsel of the center and also town justice for Sand Lake in Rensselaer County. “However, the volume has increased.” The center receives an estimated 15,000 inquiries a year via phone, fax, e-mails, letters and drop-ins, officials said.

Information about the center is available at www.nycourts.gov/ea, or call 800-232-0630 or e-mail: ResourceCenter@courts.state.ny.us.

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Web page updated: September 1, 2006 - www.NYCOURTS.gov