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What you need to know for 01/17/2017

Schenectady, Saratoga Springs city courts to add judges

Schenectady, Saratoga Springs city courts to add judges

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill this week sent to him over the summer, adding a full-time position t

City Court in Schenectady now has a fourth judge.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill this week sent to him over the summer, adding a full-time position to Schenectady’s City Court, as well as bringing Saratoga Springs City Court to two full-time positions, from the 1 1⁄2 it had previously.

The bill passed over the summer with some Schenectady County legal officials questioning whether there were other, more pressing, judicial needs in the county, including in County Court and Family Court.

Cuomo signed the bill without comment.

Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, called the new and expanded positions good news, helping ensure that cases in the courts keep moving.

Regarding the concerns about Schenectady County Family Court and County Court, he said the bill opens the possibilities for more movement on the issue.

“You’ve got to walk before you can run,” Tedisco said. “We’ve got our foot in the door.”

The new and expanded judgeships are part of a statewide bill that increases the number of city judges around the state.

Schenectady’s increase is to take effect Jan. 1, 2015. The Saratoga Springs change takes effect on April 1, 2014.

According to the bill memorandum, the measure was introduced at the request of the chief judge and chief administrative judge, upon the recommendation of a City Court Advisory Committee.

The memorandum noted that sometimes City Court judges can be temporarily assigned to serve in County Court or Family Court, when case loads require it.

“In short, more so perhaps than as to any other court in our trial court system,” the memorandum reads, “it is vital that City Courts be maintained in a state of maximum preparedness to cope with their caseloads.”

Schenectady County currently has one County Court judge, Karen Drago. Regularly helping her are judges visiting from other counties.

Family Court has relied this year on Judge Mark Powers and four part-timers. A vacant position was filled in last month’s election, with Kevin Burke winning election.

Some officials have suggested that a third Family Court judgeship would be beneficial.

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