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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74461 Find in a Library
Title: Court Reform - The New York Experience (From Court Reform in Seven States, P 105-129, 1980, Lee Powell, ed. - See NCJ-74456)
Author(s): F Miller
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: National Ctr for State Courts
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Sale Source: National Ctr for State Courts
Publications Dept
300 Newport Avenue
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Court reform activity in the State of New York is described in this paper in the National Center for State Courts' collection of narratives for seven States; political influences are highlighted.
Abstract: New York has a large and complex court system which process more than two million cases each year. The system has two principal appellate courts, which include the court of appeals and four regional divisions of the supreme court that serve as intermediate appellate courts. Before 1978, the appellate divisions were also responsible for administering the 11 trial courts. Each of the trial courts has its own jurisdiction; the supreme court's jurisdiction is unlimited. A total of 3,500 judges serve throughout the unified court system. Since 1978 the unified court system has had a chief administrator of the courts appointed by the chief judge of the court of appeals. In addition, since 1976 the system's fiscal and personnel structure has been unified through legislative action. The first major reforms of the New York judicial system occurred at the 1846 constitutional convention. By the mid-1940's, the system had proven to be too rigid to adapt to the flood of litigation, particularly motor vehicle negligence cases, that poured into the courts after the war. The legislature and the courts responded to the growing crisis in the civil courts with a series of procedural devices designed to speed caseflow, including pretrial conferences, pretrial discovery, and use of special referees. These measures were inadequate, an additional reform measures were proposed in the mid-1950's by the Tweed Commission, chaired by attorney Harrison Tweed. Political interests quickly led to debate, revision, and rejection of many of these measures. Other reform attempts were made by the judicial conference in 1958, by the Constitutional Convention of 1967, and by the Dominick commission report. More recent efforts have been made by the Gordon Committee, by Court Reform Now, and by judicial initiatives. Appendixes summarizing amendments and policies are included.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Court reorganization; National Center for State Courts (NCSC); New York; Political influences; Reform; State court unification; State courts
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