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Court Discusses Jurisdiction of the IDV Court

On 18 January 2011, defendant was arraigned in Buffalo City Court on one count of harassment in the second degree pursuant to Penal Law alleging an act of domestic violence by the defendant against the complainant.

A New York DWI Lawyer said on 26 January 2011, the People declared their readiness for trial and defendant served motions on the Erie County District Attorney on 1 February 2011. While this Buffalo City Court action was pending, three petitions were simultaneously pending in Erie County Family Court between the defendant, complainant and a third family member concerning the custody of the defendant and complainant’s child. The pendency of these simultaneous criminal and Family Court matters with the underlying issue of domestic violence prompted a screening by the herein Court, the Supreme Court Integrated Domestic Violence (hereinafter IDV) Part, located in Erie County.
Accordingly, the Court determined that a transfer of the family’s cases to the IDV Part was appropriate by finding that said “transfer of the case to the Supreme Court would promote the administration of justice” pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts for Integrated Domestic Violence Parts.

By IDV transfer Order dated 24 March 2011, the Court then simultaneously transferred the defendant’s pending Buffalo City Court violation level matter and the parties’ pending Family Court matters to the Supreme Court IDV Part.

Was the transfer proper and did the court acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter?
It is well settled that the Chief Judge of the State of New York may establish standards and administrative policies for general application throughout the state, which shall be submitted to the Court of Appeals, together with the recommendations of the Administrative Board, and approved by the Court. A New York DWI Lawyer said the Court of Appeals stated that such a review prior to the implementation of a new administrative policy is an indispensable component of the constitutional scheme.

Moreover, the Constitution of the State of New York also specifically addresses the reassignment of cases to and from Supreme Court; the constitution provides that the Supreme Court may transfer to itself any action or proceeding originated or pending in another court within the judicial department other than the court of claims upon a finding that such a transfer will promote the administration of justice.

Furthermore, Judiciary Law also grants authority to the Chief Judge, in consultation with the Administrative Board and with the consent of the Court of Appeals, to establish standards and administrative policies for general application to the unified court system throughout the state, including but not limited to standards and administrative policies relating to transfer of judges and causes among the courts.

Based upon the aforementioned constitutional and legislative authority, the Chief Judge promulgated Part 41 of the Rules of the Chief Judge on 6 June 2004 that created the “Integrated Domestic Violence Parts of Supreme Court” and granted the authority to the Supreme Court IDV Part to transfer “a domestic violence case” pending in a criminal court and a simultaneously pending civil family case pending in Supreme or Family Court involving the same parties or family for disposition in the Supreme Court IDV Part.

The straight forward language of Part 41 of the Rules of the Chief Judge grants broad transfer authority to the IDV Part and does not limit the IDV Part’s transfer authority to only misdemeanor and felony level offenses. A Nassau County DWI Lawyer said this rule applies to any “domestic violence case” pending in a criminal court as domestic violence cases inherently require serious review by the Court, regardless of the level of the offense charged given the difficult nature of these matters, especially if the allegations contained in the accusatory instrument are ultimately proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Any effort by the Legislature to abridge, limit or qualify’ the broad jurisdiction conferred under would be unconstitutional and void.

The Supreme Court IDV Part possesses the power to transfer domestic violence matters to itself from a criminal court to promote the interests of justice pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Judge, Part 41, the Constitution of the State of New York, Article VI, Judiciary § 19 and the legislative authority of Judiciary Law §211(1)(a).

Once the matters have been transferred to the IDV Part the Court then possess the subject matter jurisdiction to hear all matters that it transfers by that same constitutional authority and the authority conferred upon the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court IDV Part’s subject matter jurisdiction to hear and dispose of “domestic violence matters” most certainly includes stand-alone violation level offences that are transferred into the IDV Part by the issuance of a Supreme Court IDV Part transfer Order. A determination that the provisions of the CPL divest Supreme Court of its power to dismiss or try petty offenses and/or a determination that the CPL requires that a local criminal court has exclusive jurisdiction over a violation level offense, would render the provisions of the CPL unconstitutional and void. Such a determination would be inconsistent with the delegation of authority to the Supreme Court by the Constitution of the State of New York and the intent of the Rules of the Chief Judge, Part 41.

The Court finds that the Supreme Court IDV Part has the authority to transfer a sole count of a violation level offense charged in an Information to the Supreme Court IDV Part, and also has the requisite subject matter jurisdiction to dismiss or try the matter.

Several issues may arise out of domestic violence cases and an example of which is the above mentioned case. For advice on how to resolve these legal issues, contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates for a free consultation. You will be guided with the proper legal remedies by our brilliant New York Domestic Violence Attorneys or our New York Criminal Attorneys.

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