Senator Steve Saland Announces Local Justice Court Grants

Stephen M. Saland

March 10, 2008

Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that justice courts in local towns and villages in Dutchess County have received grants under the Justice Court Assistance Program of the Unified Court System.

Justice courts have a long history of serving the people of New York. Approximately 1400 justice courts exist in communities across New York and are served by part-time justices who reside in those municipalities. The justices know and live among the litigants coming before them. They adjudicate small claims' disputes and landlord/tenant grievances as well as preside over prosecutions for traffic violations and minor criminal offenses. The fines and fees their operations generate provide significant revenue for local governments.

"Justice courts serve a real need in local communities but generally operate on a tight budget. These grants are small but can make a difference for local governments to keep their justice courts viable and take the burden off local property taxpayers. I am pleased to join Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau in announcing these grants," said Senator Saland.

"Town and Village Courts play a critical role in the justice system of our State. It is vital that these courts, whose jurisdiction includes non-felony criminal prosecutions, motor vehicle cases, small civil claims and landlord-tenant disputes, be well-equipped and secure. I am therefore pleased to announce Justice Court Assistance Program grants totaling $5 million Statewide, to help ensure that these courts, which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century," said Judge Pfau.

Local justice courts were able to apply for grants of up to $30,000 each. Dutchess County courts received close to $262,900 in grants.