The Southampton Town Justice Court is one of the busiest Justice Courts in the State. In 2013, the Justice Court handled over 45,000 cases including Small
Claims, Civil, Criminal, Traffic, Town Codes, and Parking Tickets. In 2013, this Court had over 50,491 people pass through the metal detector with approximately 16,685 activations.
Total 2013 revenue of $3,030,402.82 was collected and the New York State Comptroller returned $1,856,569.60 to the Town.
Arraignments are held on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, as well as all holidays. Small claims and Civil Court are held on Monday and Friday mornings, as well as some Wednesday evenings. Traffic tickets are heard every day of the week, whether in morning or afternoon sessions. Criminal cases are heard on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the morning and afternoon sessions. Parking tickets are heard on Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. Town codes are heard on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. Jury and non-jury trials are heard on Thursday. Drug Court is heard on Tuesday afternoons. Night Court is held on Wednesday nights for small claims, civil, and some town code matters.
To handle this workload, there are four judges using three courtrooms, along with one chief court clerk, 13 full-time clerks, 2 part-time clerks, one law clerk, two stenographers, and two interpreters. Every summer there are law interns to assist the judges. Also, assisting the Courts are four court officers (budgeted through the Police Department) and a domestic violence staff (budgeted through the Human Services Department, as per Chapter 8 of the Town Code).
In November 2003, the Drug Court (East End Regional Intervention Court (EERIC)) was started with Southampton Town Justice Deborah Kooperstein and Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith. It started with one defendant and now has over 50 defendants and over 40 graduates. The Drug Court expenses are funded through an appropriation of the Justice Court trust fund, established by Town Board Resolution 2009-57.
Technology & Grants
With this additional workload and the volume increasing each year, the computer system had to be updated and the Court chose Service Education Inc. (SEI). In May 2004, the system became Windows NT platform and the Court was able to electronically submit the monthly reports to the state. In 2005, the system was updated to allow the Court to upload the criminal dispositions (CDR) and the vehicle and traffic violations (EDATE). At that time, the system also allowed the New York State Police to be able to start the new TRACS tickets. In 2008, the Court obtained access to use the EJUSTICE system and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) call system.
With such a large workload, there is a huge demand on equipment, computers, and technological devices. Since 2001, the Court staff has been successfully writing and applying for grants to secure these items. The application of grants are submitted to the Office of Court Administration (OCA), the Justice Court Assistant Program (JCAP), as well as the Justice Court Survey through OCA.