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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Another Effort to Simplify Corrupt Structure of Courts

State Bar Joins Call for Constitutional Amendment to Simplify Structure of Courts
The New York Law Journal by John Caher  -  May 30, 2012

ALBANY, NY - In the latest multi-decade effort to reconfigure New York's archaic court structure, the New York State Bar Association is joining about 50 legal organizations, business leaders, good government groups and citizens calling for a constitutional amendment. The proposed amendment would consolidate the state's unwieldy court system into two tiers. It would merge county court, family court, surrogate's court and the Court of Claims into a new Supreme Court, while creating a new district court comprised of the district courts on Long Island and city courts. The measure would not affect the town and village courts.  A "Coalition for Court Simplification" has been established by the Fund for Modern Courts and on Tuesday, State Bar President Vincent Doyle Jr. of Connors & Vilardo in Buffalo announced that the bar will join the coalition. Other members include the African Services Committee, the Business Council of New York, the Lawyers Committee Against Domestic Violence, the League of Women Voters, the New York City Bar Association, New York County Lawyers' Association and St. Luke's-Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center. "The existing court structure no longer adequately serves the citizens of New York," said Doyle. Now, a contested divorce with child custody and domestic violence issues could involve three different courts: Supreme Court to address the marital dissolution and financial issues; Family Court to deal with child custody and county court to handle domestic violence and order of protection issues. "The labyrinth of overlapping jurisdictions of multiple courts creates unnecessary financial burdens and delays for millions of litigants. It needs to be changed," Doyle said.  The coalition is co-chaired by former state bar president, Stephen Younger of Patterson, Bellknap, Webb & Tyler, and Fern Schair of Fordham Law School.

Advocates, many lawmakers and chief judges dating back at least to the 1970s have been struggling to re-cast a court system created at a time when Brooklyn was a cow pasture. According to the coalition, revamping the court system would save taxpayers $121 million annually while saving litigants $433 million a year in attorney fees.  Milton Williams, chairman of Modern Courts, said the organization is attempting to keep the issue alive and increase momentum.  "It is a massive issue with so many different angles and components that it is hard to have everyone on the same page at the same time," said Williams, of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Englehard. "We are able to accomplish some goals immediately and others where we have to keep chipping away. This is one we just keep chipping away at."  Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, said her organization joined the coalition because it views court simplification partially as an economic/ government efficiency issue.  "As part of our reform agenda, we support government consolidation, and this is an obvious one," said Briccetti, an attorney. "A secondary reason is we represent employers and when an employee is going through a difficult time, like a divorce, we think it would be better for the employee and employer if they only had to go to one court versus maybe three. Also, our members are sometimes involved in lawsuits and we think having a simplified court system will save them money and time."  Although there is no court consolidation bill now before the Legislature, Briccetti said she believes the reform effort is closer to success than it has been as a result of the broad scope of interests reflected in the coalition.  "There is a real push to build a strong coalition," Briccetti said. "We've got the state and city bar associations on board and lot of diverse interests. I think it has a better shot now than it has in the past."  Mark Mahoney, spokesman for the state bar, said that although there is no pending legislation to amend the state Constitution, the organization hopes to generate interest this session. Several lawmakers have repeatedly stated their support for court consolidation. Amending the Constitution requires action by successive legislatures followed by a public referendum. Since this is the last year of a session, if the currently sitting Legislature passed a measure this year and the body elected in November passes it next year, it could appear on the ballot as early as 2013.  @|John Caher can be reached at


A Real Cleaner said...

A collection of phoney front groups is going to "reform" our courts. The Fund for Modern Courts, aka the apologists for the CJC and Tembeckjian, and the African Services Committee, the Business Council of New York, the Lawyers Committee Against Domestic Violence, the League of Women Voters, the New York City Bar Association, New York County Lawyers' Association and St. Luke's-Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center. All suck the blood of the People with their corruption in the courts and the government and with their feeding at the public trough. What happens if the courts were honest? These organizations would not be needed. You can be assured that these vultures only want "reformed courts," so there are more carcasses to peck at safely protected by a court system where they have control.

Anonymous said...

have to look it up again but believe the Fund for Modern Courts utilizes or utilized as Lobbyist a firm of former Mario Cuomo insiders from Albany. wonder if that was going on when Fund for Modern Courts showed up in NYC on Sept 24 2009 at second Senate Judiciary Hearings?

Anonymous said...

You think they could not make it worst you do to know them.
They will be able to find a way.

Anonymous said...

Judy Kaye began this movement back in the 90's throughout the rest of the state...that became a tremendous blunder because she was unschooled in judcial politics anywhere outside of NYC and offended hundreds of judicial employees and poweful judges.
One of Kaye's ideas was to rid the courts of all low level employees..why and for what purpose..caused an inflated budget issue.. and she did execute part of that iniative outside of NYC..with CSEA not doing a thing!
The extermination of these employees by firing squad was cruely implemented and those fired were replaced by much higher salaried grades and loads of those family nepotism crooks, who supported judicial crimes because they were paid well to do so.
She also had her Administrative staff meet in each district, to request a higher salary for.... get this folks...the court reporters..yes the ones who create false transcripts for judges to corrupt the system!
Kaye took over courthouse security after 40 yrs and wanted to scoop up the Probation Dept too..a sentencing entity outside of the employment option of the court, just like the correctional facility and social workers involved in sentencing orders.
Their is a transcript of these meetings hidden in NYC Admin outlining these power plays by her and her minions, and as you see the efforts created some very unique disturbances that OCA is still attempting to cover-up today....lawsuits etc!
Got to wonder how I know all of this.. a surprise that OCA will never know and will always be curious about..but just to be noted, it has all been recorded!

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