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Articles Posted in SPOTLIGHT ON COURTHOUSES

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The Town of Ramapo located in Rockland County New York is Rockland County’s largest geographically and most populous town. The Town covers more than 61 square miles and contains 12 villages most with Village Courts of their own. With a very diverse population, the Town Court in Ramapo is both busy and efficient. With major roads traversing through the town and low density of serious crimes, it would be fair to say that speeding violations are the bread and butter of the Ramapo Court, followed by other traffic violations such as tailgating, turn signal violations and stop signs.

Traffic misdemeanors (and felonies) such as DWI and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) top the criminal calendar. Many of the traffic violations and traffic misdemeanors take place along such major roads as I-287, I-87, Rt 59 and the Palisades Parkway.

The Town had three Justices. Judges Arnold Etelson, Rhoda Schoenberger and Samuel Coleman. Judge Coleman recently retired, leaving the Town one judge short and the Court extremely busy. Expect crowded calendars and long lines on Court days. Experienced attorneys can often get you out quickly but without an attorney, expect to wait.

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The City of Yonkers, New York is the largest, and perhaps most diverse city in all of Westchester County. Located at 100 South Broadway, the Yonkers City Court is a bustling Court that reflects the dynamic of the City of Yonkers. As an attorney based in White Plains, the Yonkers City Court is one of the Courts that has become a home away from home. The Court handles everything from the most serious unindicted criminal felonies (indicted felonies are transferred to the Westchester County Courthouse) to less serious misdemeanor criminal cases and a very busy traffic calendar to landlord-tenant cases and civil cases involving disputes of $15,000.

With a population of about 200,000 people, Yonkers is the fourth largest city in all of New York State. Located just north of the Bronx it is the literal gateway to New York City with major highways such as the New York State Thruway (I-87), the Sprain brook Expressway, the Cross County Parkway, The saw Mill River Parkway and Bronx River Parkway, all running through Yonkers. Needless to say Yonkers speeding tickets are the bread and butter of any traffic ticket lawyer in Westchester County and all types of traffic infractions and traffic misdemeanors pour through the Yonkers Courthouse.

With the Cross County Mall, Yonkers Raceway which now has a casino called Empire City, shopping areas throughout downtown and Central Avenue, numerous residential neighborhoods and industrial centers other crimes abound including shoplifting, drugs, grand larceny, guns, robbery, assault and domestic violence. Despite the volume, however, the Court runs well, moves fast and in many ways is a model of efficiency.

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The City Court of White Plains is a busy Court located in the heart of downtown White Plains. The White Plains Court handles Landlord – Tenant cases, speeding tickets and traffic violations, small claims cases, Civil Suits with a monetary claim up to $15,000, criminal cases including both misdemeanor cases and felony cases before they are indicted by a grand jury.

As a White Plains criminal defense lawyer with a busy criminal and traffic practice, I routinely appear in the White Plains Court on a wide variety of criminal and other cases. My office is just a short walk from the White Plains City Court which is located near the White Plains Federal Court and the Westchester County Court.

The City of White Plains is the County Seat of Westchester County and is located just 25 miles from Manhattan. White Plains has a residential community of about 56,000 people with a population that increases to about 250,000 on any given business day as shoppers, workers and visitors arrive by rail, car, and bus. The City is one of Westchester County’s top business markets and is home to a large amount of retail activity concentrated into this small city. With three large shopping malls and a newly renovated downtown featuring “top notch” restaurants, shopping and nightlife, it is no wonder that the City Court of White Plains is an exceptionally busy Court.

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The New Rochelle City Court is located in Westchester County at 475 North Avenue, New Rochelle, New York. New Rochelle is the second largest city in Westchester County. It is a City Court and handles, among other things, traffic infractions, misdemeanors, landlord/tenant and small claims cases. It has a fairly busy traffic violation calendar as both Interstate 95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway pass through New Rochelle. Therefore, this Court presides over many speeding ticket and traffic violation cases. It also handles misdemeanors including those related to driving such as DWI, Reckless Driving and Aggravated Unlicensed Operator.

The Court is located only several blocks from Iona College and therefore, as can be expected, it hears many cases related to underage drinking, unlawful dealing with a minor, endangering the welfare of a child, possession of alcohol by a minor, drug possession including marijuana possession and assault.

While the New Rochelle City Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear felony cases post-indictment, it will be the first court you are brought before if you are arrested for a felony in New Rochelle. It is this court that will most likely handle your arraignment for a felony committed within the City of New Rochelle and set bail, release you on your on recognizance or remand you without bail. However, if you ultimately are indicted on the felony, your case will be transferred to the Westchester County Court. If the original felony charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, the case will stay in New Rochelle.

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The New York County Courthouses located in downtown Manhattan serve what is perhaps the largest and most diverse population in the world. Courthouses, plural, because the Manhattan Courthouses sprawl across lower Manhattan and have additional Courthouses in Midtown and in Harlem. By my count there are 10 distinct buildings that house the Supreme Court of the State of New York both Civil and Criminal Terms (the Criminal Term is where the most serious indicted criminal cases are handled), the Family Court, the New York City Criminal Court (which handles misdemeanors, violations and unindicted felonies), Surrogate Court, Civil Court of the City of New York which includes Housing Court and Small Claims Court.

As a former New York County Assistant District Attorney, I spent more time in the lower Manhattan, where most Courts are located, than I care to admit. I especially remember the nights, weekends and of course the long days and the numerous restaurants surrounding the Courthouses in the Chinatown, Little Italy, and Tribeca areas of Manhattan. It is not a stretch to say that I have handled over a thousand criminal cases in New York County both as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney including cases ranging from homicide to DWI, from Robbery to Drugs and from Assault to simple criminal summons such as Theft of Services or violations. I often affectionately refer to the Manhattan Courts as “my home away from home.”

In addition, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor is located in 80 Centre Street, where my old office was located. The Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office and the Special Narcotics Courts located in Manhattan, gives local prosecutors who generally only have borough wide jurisdiction the power to investigate and prosecute Narcotics and related offenses committed anywhere in New York City. As a result, Narcotics (or Drug) cases are often prosecuted in Manhattan even if they are committed in another borough such as the Bronx or Brooklyn.

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As an experience New York litigator, I am in Court almost every day and handle cases throughout New York State. However, as a Westchester County lawyer, located in White Plains, New York, I have had the opportunity to handle a wide variety of cases in the Westchester County Courthouse, located in White Plains, New York just a short five minute walk from my office. I have handled criminal cases of all types in the Westchester County Courthouse (as a general rule only felonies end up in the County Court), from homicide to felony DWI to firearms and almost everything in between. In addition to the criminal cases having also handled many family law cases involving domestic violence, child support and visitation and civil litigation including personal injury, commercial and real estate litigation, I have been in the Westchester County Courthouse too many times to Count. In fact my experience at the Courthouse goes way back to my days a young law student, working for the now retired Hon. Joseph K. West formerly of the Westchester County Court.

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The Westchester County Courthouse serves the vast and diverse Westchester County Community just to the north of the Bronx, a borough of New York City. Westchester County, a suburb of New York City contains the densely populated Cities of Yonkers, New Rochelle, Peekskill and White Plains and the more suburban areas such as Bedford, Scarsdale, Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Greenburgh but also contains the very rural areas of Somers, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge. Housing the Supreme Court of The State of New York, the Westchester County Court and The New York State Family Court, the most serious cases criminal, civil and family are all handled in this Courthouse.

The Courthouse recently underwent a major renovation adding an annex to house the County and Family Court. The annex added 22 courtrooms and related spaces to serve the two Courts housed in the new space. The centerpiece of the new space is a new, landscaped courtyard, visible from the common areas of the interior of the courthouse and accessible to Court visitors and employees.