"On Thursday, June 30, 2022, the Governor signed two bills sponsored by Senator Daphne Jordan (R,C-Halfmooon) and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C-Ballston). Senate bill S9350 allows for the electronic appearance of defendants. S9466 will increase the number of family court judges in Saratoga County by one.
The electronic appearance legislation, sponsored by Senator Daphne Jordan and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh adds Saratoga County to the list of New York counties and boroughs that already utilize this technology. For over two years the Saratoga County Court system has been using electronic appearances to great effect and this legislation makes the benefits to the county permanent.
“I’m pleased to partner with Assemblywoman Walsh to get Senate bill S9350 passed and deliver real results for Saratoga County,” said Jordan. “Permitting electronic court appearances was a practice used out of necessity during the COVID pandemic and proved beneficial. It allows for detainees to participate in legal proceedings from a designated space through a two-way, closed-circuit, audio-visual system rather than being physically transported to a Saratoga County Court. Making it permanent for Saratoga County will cut costs by reducing the number of transports while enhancing public safety.”
“By utilizing audio-visual technology, defendants will be able to have their cases heard before a judge more expeditiously than what current practices allow,” said Walsh. “This measure will not only produce significant cost savings associated with holding and transportation of the defendant, but also an extra level of safety and security in the process.”
The family court legislation has been part of a collaborative effort between current family court judges and state representatives to alleviate the increasing number of cases in Saratoga County. The original bill S8441 which added an additional family court judge in Saratoga County was included into the omnibus bill that passed also adding justices to the New York City Family Court Systems and Nassau County. "By adding one family judge and expanding the family court system, children and their parents will experience a smoother process and be better served by a reduced backlog,” Senator Jordan said.
“I’m grateful to the stakeholders at the local level who expressed support for this measure and to my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, for helping to get the legislation across the finish line ahead of the conclusion of the 2022 Legislative Session,” said Walsh. “The addition of one family court judge in Saratoga County will help address the critical needs of the vulnerable children in our communities.”