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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Administrative Changes For New York City Courts

Local Administrators to Handle Day-to-Day Court Management
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - April 9, 2009

ALBANY, NY - Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced yesterday changes that strip away what court officials describe as an unneeded layer of oversight in New York City's criminal and civil courts. The chief judge said that, effective immediately, he is doing away with the citywide positions of administrative judge for criminal courts and administrative judge for civil courts. Administrative judges in the city's five boroughs now will oversee day-to-day management of the courts. The new county-based structure will "allow for greater attention to local issues and concerns, enable quicker responses to operational and administrative problems when they arise and create more flexibility in deploying resources among the courts," the chief judge said in a statement released by the Office of Court Administration. The changes represent round two in Judge Lippman's efforts to streamline the administration of the courts, which has been criticized as bloated by some legislators.

Last month, he eliminated three of the five state chief deputy administrative judgeships, leaving only the posts of chief deputy administrative judge for courts in New York City and for courts outside New York City. He said his goal was to cut through what he called the "clutter" at the top echelons of the judiciary (NYLJ, March 12). Judge Fern Fisher was the last holder of the title of administrative judge for New York City civil courts. She was designated by Chief Judge Lippman last month as chief deputy administrative judge for courts in New York City. Judge Juanita Bing Newton was administrative judge for New York City criminal courts. Judge Newton, who also held the title of deputy chief administrative judge for justice initiatives, has been designated as dean of the New York State Judicial Institute.

Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau yesterday praised the work of both Judge Fisher and Judge Newton, but said their new assignments gave Judge Lippman the opportunity to make changes.  "The whole idea is, in a time of limited resources, we want to make sure that the resources get to the trial courts and make sure that the bureaucracy is as limited as possible," Judge Pfau said in an interview. "This does not create any new positions, it is just a new management structure."

Under the new structure, administrative judges for civil matters will manage the Supreme Court civil terms and Civil Court. They will oversee the supervising judges for the Housing Court and Civil Court in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. Similarly, the administrative judge for criminal matters will manage the Supreme Court's criminal terms and Criminal Court, and they will oversee the counties' Criminal Court supervising judges. Previously, supervising judges reported directly to Judge Fisher or Judge Newton and not to the administrative judges designated for civil and criminal courts in the four boroughs. They now report to the county-based administrative judges directly. Because of Staten Island's relatively small size, one administrative judge will oversee both criminal and civil courts there, Judge Pfau said.  There are currently several openings among the civil and criminal court administrative judges in the five boroughs. The OCA said yesterday the openings would be filled within the next several weeks.

Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Obus, the administrative judge for the Criminal Term of Manhattan Supreme Court, said the new structure could simplify his dealings with Judge Melissa Jackson, the supervisory judge of Manhattan Criminal Court.  In the past, Judge Jackson would go to Judge Newton with matters involving Criminal Court that did not concern the Criminal Term in Supreme Court. Under the new structure, Judge Jackson reports to Justice Obus. "I am hopeful that it will help in terms of streamlining things," Justice Obus said. "I am also hopeful that it will not change things all that much as far as the day-to-day lives of the people who work in the courts. With clerks and court officers, things really shouldn't change." Justice Obus said he anticipates working closely with Judge Jackson on drug cases and diversion to treatment programs given the Rockefeller drug law reforms approved by the state lawmakers last week in the 2009-10 budget.

Family Court Not Affected

Family Courts in New York City will not be affected by the new county-based system but remain under control of supervisory judges in each of the five boroughs, who will continue to report to a citywide administrative judge for Family Court. That judge, in turn, will report to Judge Fisher. Since Family Court judges can handle criminal and civil issues in the same case, Judge Pfau said it does not lend itself to an administrative structure that separates those issues. With the changes, the city court structure will more closely mirror the administrative system already used outside New York City, according to Judge Pfau. There, supervisory judges already report to one administrative judge in each of the Supreme Court districts, she said. Judge Lippman said the changes were made in consultation with Presiding Justices A. Gail Prudenti of the Appellate Division, Second Department, and Luis A. Gonzalez of the First Department.


Anonymous said...

You know OCA is a real manipulator with these "administrative' blah, blah judicial and office positions! These jobs are held by all political hacks...many who are not versed in any aspects of the law or weak in related judicial knowledge. Not one of these hacks is tested for ability to perform in these positions and their backgrounds for appointment are usually political, sexual or it up activities!

So this alleged reform by Lippman is barely understandable in identifying titles and placement and I have much experience in OCA garbage these titles are given and changed often within the administrative blah, blah confuse the taxpayer and others about who got what huge salary for doing what sinful deed. Can anyone figure out what Lippman is talking about position-wise?

If this is the reform that Lippman is concerned about...shuffling hack jobs from city to city or eliminating them by putting them elsewhere in courts around and around..... then who the hell cares!!!

Eliminate all of these administrative positions that Kaye put in, in order to payoff her friends, politicians and their supporters...all over NY state. Replace them with non-hack, tested and community vetted...with any signs of scandle mandating automatic elimination, and that means pending lawsuits...and then Lippman can bragg about having ethical judicial substance.

Otherwise, I don't care what the hell that hack himself, Lippman is doing relative to moving around the judicial corruption! The system is still a joke and this action proves it even more..better Lippman just do nothing, because he doesn't really get it...OCA corruption has always been his work and life!

Anonymous said...

Anyone on the blog know if there is an administrative policy manual.. ?? beyond the list of none complied with rules...

ie.. (D) Disciplinary Responsibilities.

(1) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood that another judge has committed a substantial violation of this Part shall take appropriate action.

(2) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood that a lawyer has committed a substantial violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility shall take appropriate action.

(3) Acts of a judge in the discharge of disciplinary responsibilities are part of a judge's judicial duties.

Prior to these Judges.. there was such a thing as sua sponte Justice...

It's implied there... but I have yet to see it in action...

Anonymous said...

So, Lippmann just moved them from one hack position to another hack position..When is he going to wake up and smell the coffee, that these are the same hacks that are committing the corruption in the court system.

Blah, Blah, Blah said...

So,what is Lippman doing about the CORRUPTION in the Courts?

Anonymous said...

Lippman's new OCA motto: "We know corruption from experience."

Court Officer said...

Lippman in making smoke and nothing is new, its the same old same old........

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Lippman will make make the pay-off`s tax deductable.
Or instead of "donating money" to a pollitical group you can just go up to the bench and they will swipe your credit. It will save the time it takes to write out a check.

Anonymous said...

re: "administrative policy manual"
Besides the "Code of Judicial Conduct" there are the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge. Those rules are supposed to be mandatory, which covers judicial conduct.
You can also look up the Rules of the Chief Judge and NYCRR.
The Judge's rules are on the court's website. The NYCRR are also online, but I forgot where. It might also be the court.

Anonymous said...

To the above writer...RULES, what RULES? They never follow any of the the rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Slick and connnected said...

The rules of the Chief Judge are only meant for those employees that are "not" political and in some mental way...bother the nepotistic and hacks that want to continue to "not" perform their assigned duties... so they are "not" meant for law and order in the judiciary...fact!

CSEA allowed OCA, their brother in collusion, to have the ADMINISTRATIVE title in the civil service category, back in the late 1980's. This title as told to me by CSEA... was for OCA to use politically (what?) as entrance positions..supposed to be low level grades 4-12. CSEA claimed that OCA renigned on that agreement...during Kaye's haye days, when she started using them to employ hacks all the way up to grade 34. All of these professional sounding titles state some type of administrative...blah, blah..blah something, with changes constantly being created right up until today, to confuse anyone inquiring about a particular employee with that title, from the judiciaries website of grade titles and salaries and what they make..if you can find that site.
One of the offender employees testified in a deposition that her administrative college at all..over $100,000 salary...was just changed again...Dec. 2008!
You would have to be a very intimate employee of OCA to know this because they attempt to keep this information within the exempt title employees exclusively....but a smart, well connected employee could certainly obtain any information OCA tends to block from the public knowledge...hence this report!

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