Agency Web Site: http://www.nycourts.gov/
The Judiciary is one of the three branches of New York State government. The mission of the Judiciary is to provide a forum for the fair and prompt resolution of civil and family disputes, criminal charges, disputes between citizens and the state, and challenges to government action. Other matters within the jurisdiction of the Judiciary are administration of decedents' estates, presiding over adoptions and proceedings to protect children and incapacitated persons, and regulation of the admission of lawyers to the Bar and their conduct and discipline. Each year nearly 3.5 million new cases are filed in the New York State Courts.
The Judiciary’s State Operating Funds Budget requests $2.28 billion, excluding fringe benefits, for FY 2020. This represents a cash increase of $44.7 million, or 2 percent, over current-year cash funding. The request seeks the funds that will enable the courts to fulfill their mission to deliver justice in a manner that reflects the full measure of New York’s commitment to a just society under the rule of law. The delivery of justice by the New York State Unified Court System (UCS) has many diverse facets. It entails the operation of twelve separate trial and appellate courts, in more than three hundred locations in sixty-two counties throughout the State—as well as oversight over an additional 1,250 town and village courts. It employs the energies of more than sixteen thousand judges, officers and employees around the State, who handle more than three million new case filings annually. It includes a vast array of ancillary programs designed to facilitate access to justice – including programs providing for substantial funding of criminal and civil legal services for indigent persons. It features the operation of specialized courts addressing, among other things, matters involving domestic violence, youth, veterans, and drug offenses. It necessitates the ongoing provision of cutting edge technology in all aspects of court operations, including electronic filing, remote access to court proceedings, and an ever-expanding list of operational demands. It contemplates the planning – for the immediate and longer term – of construction, renovation and maintenance of scores of court facilities throughout the State. It includes responsibility for the oversight of the legal profession – the admission and discipline of attorneys—as well as matters of judicial ethics and conduct. These duties, among many others, are the critical components of the operation of the Judiciary that underlie this budget request.
Also requested in the Judiciary’s FY 2020 Budget, is a $24 million capital appropriation. The majority of the requested funding would support the third year of a multi-year plan to modernize the Judiciary’s computer network, provide computing equipment for judges, court staff and the court system’s data centers, and provide advanced communications, videoconferencing and remote access capacities for all judges and court staff. The funding will also allow the continued expansion of the integrated courtroom technology initiative, the modernization of critical security equipment, including x-ray scanning machines, magnetometers, security cameras and access control systems, and the continuation of the UCS records digitization project to convert paper records into a data format that is more efficiently stored, searched and copied.
The Judiciary’s Budget submission is the product of the careful balance of the duty to provide New Yorkers with the system of justice that they expect and deserve, and a responsibility of faithful stewardship of public monies.