Seven Area Justice Courts to Receive Grant Funding

March 7, 2008

Assemblyman Robert C. Oaks (R,C – Macedon) has been advised by the state’s Chief Administrative Judge, Ann Pfau, that seven justice courts in Wayne County have been awarded grants under the state’s Justice Court Assistance Program. Justice courts in the towns of Huron, Macedon, Ontario, Sodus, Walworth, Williamson and Wolcott will be receiving between $600 and $26,000 each to undertake renovations and purchase equipment to improve their operations and make their facilities more secure.

In announcing these grants, Judge Pfau said, “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.”

Assemblyman Oaks said, “I am pleased to be announcing the Wayne County recipients of the Justice Court Assistance Program grants with Judge Pfau. These grants will help the courts serve the people of their communities and further the administration of justice.”

“A few months ago, I had the opportunity to testify before the Special Commission on the Future of the New York State Courts that was reviewing the role of the justice courts in New York State. In that testimony, I made clear my strong support for the local justice court system,” said Assemblyman Oaks.

New York’s nearly 1,300 Justice Courts are funded by the towns and villages they serve. 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, as well as the operation of programs that protect domestic violence victims and keep drunk drivers off the road.

Despite their critical function, these courts often have limited resources – reflecting the budgetary limitations of the towns and villages that support them. Recognizing this, the state Legislature, in 1999, established the Justice Court Assistance Program to provide supplementary state assistance in the form of grants to the town and village justice courts. These grants, awarded by the Chief Administrative Judge of the state court system, make it possible for justice courts to acquire essential equipment, enhance security, and maintain a dignified and appropriate appearance.