Elmira, N.Y.-- State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira) today announced that justice courts in the town of Reading in Schuyler County and the village of Cayuga Heights in Tompkins County have been awarded state grants to provide aid for automating court operations, enhancing or expanding court facilities or improving court services in other ways.
Winner, who in 1999 strongly supported the creation of the "Justice Court Assistance Program" through which the grants are being made, said: "The Legislature recognizes the importance of helping town and village justice courts enhance their operations with modern equipment and technology, superior facilities and effective management. I’m hopeful that the Justice Court Assistance Program will continue to provide valuable resources to achieve these goals, and I’m extremely pleased that courts I represent will benefit from this state aid."
New York State Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman said: "The importance of the Justice Court Assistance Program cannot be overstated. Modern, well-equipped town and village court operations are essential if justice is to be administered fairly in our State’s smaller communities, if crime victims are to be protected, if traffic laws are to be enforced, and if citizens are to continue to enjoy access to an inexpensive forum for the resolution of small claims matters. This program will ensure that the justice court, which dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries, continues as a viable and valuable institution into the 21st century."
The state’s nearly 1500 justice courts preside over non-felony criminal and motor vehicle prosecutions, small civil claims and landlord-tenant disputes. They provide a significant source of local and state revenue, and their ability to process cases and information promptly is essential to maintaining a statewide comprehensive criminal history database. Recognizing the budgetary limitations of the towns and villages that support these courts, Winner said that the Legislature created the Justice Court Assistance Program to provide supplementary state assistance in the form of grants to the courts.
In Schuyler County, the Town of Reading Justice Court will receive $800.
In Tompkins County, the Village of Cayuga Heights Justice Court has been awarded $940.