Brooklyn Boro

Ribbon cut on new summons court that will serve Brooklyn

December 19, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. Photo courtesy of the Office of Court Administration
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Chief Judge Janet DiFiore cut the ribbon on Friday for a new state-of-the-art Summons Court, which will handle some criminal court summonses issued in Brooklyn. The court is expected to open on Monday, according to an announcement from DiFiore and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Having modern, clean and secure court facilities is integral to the Judiciary’s vital mission,” Chief Judge DiFiore said. “This beautiful new Summons Court, designed for optimal efficiency and navigability, will enable us to better serve the justice needs of the people of this great city, providing a dignified environment that fosters respect for and confidence in our justice system.”

The court will handle criminal summonses issued in Manhattan and Brooklyn plus summonses issued citywide for violations for building or fire codes. The renovated facility cost $20 million and includes a dedicated entrance, a new lobby and 40,000 square feet on the 16th floor of the David N. Dinkins Municipal Building located at 1 Center St.

The relocation of this Summons Court is part of a more comprehensive plan to improve the summons process by making it easier to navigate. This initiative has already, among other things, redesigned the paper summons form to make it simpler to understand, created a text-message reminder system for court appearances and an online payment system, according to the mayor’s office.

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“I want to extend my gratitude to the Mayor’s Office, the City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Criminal Court of the City of New York and the courts’ Office of Facilities Planning for their collaboration and support, to which we owe the successful transformation of this space into a highly functioning courthouse,” DiFiore said in a statement.

This new Summons Court, which was formerly occupied by the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services, was designed specifically to expedite the flow of traffic and ease case processing. It also features an electronic check-in system designed to reduce wait times.

It will also house the citywide summons operation’s central receiving unit, which collects the summonses from the over 40 city agencies certified to issue them including the NYPD, the MTA and the FDNY.

“Trust is the foundation of public safety, and the principles of legitimacy — respect, fairness, transparency and voice — are the cornerstones of the city’s work to ensure every New Yorker has confidence in the justice system,” said Elizabeth Glazer, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “Design is a key piece of building trust: Whether it is creating an open and welcoming courtroom, reducing wait times or providing clear explanations of the process.

“The mayor and the city are grateful to the chief judge for her leadership and the Office of Court Administration for its partnership in suffusing the design of the structure and process of the new Summons Court with the principles that advance our joint goals of improving the quality of justice for all New Yorkers.”

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