New york state court system

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New York Legal Research: Judicial Opinions

new york state court system

The official home page of the New York State Unified Court System. We hear more than three million cases a year involving almost every type of endeavor.

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The structure of the courts and appeal procedures have not changed since the last judiciary amendment of Although there have been proposals to simplify the court system in and again in , changes are still not on the horizon. The proposed court reorganization of is quite extensive and would require an amendment of the New York Constitution. New York's highest appellate court was established to articulate statewide principles of law in the context of deciding particular lawsuits. The Court thus generally focuses on broad issues of law as distinguished from individual factual disputes.

The law and its complex and often slow-moving machinery can confound the ordinary citizen searching for justice even in the best of circumstances. In New York State, the court system is particularly complex. There are 3, judges in 11 separate trial courts. Some judges are appointed and others are elected. Some serve on several courts simultaneously. Salaries and supporting staffs vary.

New York Research In-Depth

Guide to the NY State Court System

The New York court system has three levels: Trial courts - including the Supreme Courts unlike in the federal system , the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals, which is the court of last resort similar to the Supreme Court in the federal system. For a thorough introduction to the New York court system, see the link below to the guide published by the New York Unified Court Systems. In general, the Court of Appeals hears civil and criminal cases on appeal from the other appellate courts. Its review is generally limited to questions of law. Cases on constitutional provisions and the death penalty are appealed directly to this court.

These courts are often referred to collectively as the Justice Courts. These courts handle close to 2 million cases a year. Town and Village Courts small claims proceedings are intended to provide a low-cost, simplified and informal procedure for individuals to resolve disputes involving limited monetary claims. Often, the parties to these proceedings do not use attorneys. Criminal Jurisdiction: Town and Village courts are authorized to handle matters involving the prosecution of misdemeanors and violations that are committed within their geographic borders. These courts also conduct arraignments and preliminary hearings in felony matters. In addition, these courts hear Vehicle and Traffic Law misdemeanors and traffic infractions.

Judiciary of New York (state)

The Court of Appeals , sitting in Albany and consisting of seven judges, is the state's highest court. The system is administered by the Chief Judge of the State of New York , working with the Chief Administrative Judge , other administrative judges, the Office of Court Administration, and other agencies. In general, the judicial system is composed of the appellate courts and the trial courts, consisting of the superior courts and the local courts. The appellate courts are the: [1]. The superior courts are the: [1]. And the inferior courts are the local courts: [1].

In some less populated counties one judge may serve in multiple courts. Note: Town and Village Courts and direct appeals are not shown in this chart; in the Third and Fourth Departments, criminal appeals from the City Court proceed to the County Court and can be further appealed to the Court of Appeals. Modern Courts believes that the current court structure is too complex, confusing, costly, and impedes litigants, both private citizens and business, from fully pursuing their rights. Consolidating the eleven courts of record — more trial courts than virtually any other state — into a more simplified system will provide greater efficiencies and improve the administration of justice. In addition, consolidation would enhance public confidence in the court system and promote better public understanding about how the court system operates.


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