On Tuesday, Jamestown City Court Judge John L. LaMancuso will be elected to his third term as he runs unopposed.
LaMancuso was first elected in 1993 as city judge, which has a 10-year term. A lot has changed the last two decades for the court system, LaMancuso said. Now he deals with many specialty treatment courts which include drugs, alcohol, veterans, mental health and juvenile.
For more than a decade, LaMancuso said he has been running the drug and alcohol treatment court trying to keep offenders from repeating their mistakes. Whether it is with drugs or alcohol, LaMancuso said the court system works with offenders to keep them out of jail.
He said there has been one advancement during his tenure to ease the burden on the crowded jail system. He said with the help of modern technology, ankle bracelet monitors are now used so inmates who have been on good behavior can be released before the end of their sentence.
"Sheriff (Joe) Gerace is trying to limit the jail population, and one way is home monitors. If someone has 30 days left on their sentence, and they've been on good behavior, we can release them for home monitoring. The sheriffs place the monitor on them, and then give them restrictions to where they can go," he said. "An alarm goes off at the Sheriff's (Department) or on the ankle, if needed. Also, there is a two-way talking device on the ankle bracelet that allows the Sheriff's to talk to the individual and they can communicate."
Another treatment court started during LaMancuso's second term for veterans coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq. He said by working with the Veterans Affairs Department, they can help veterans deal with drug and alcohol problems.
"I have an excellent staff, and it doesn't happen without good people."
Jamestown City Court Judge John L. LaMancuso
"We team them with mentors who volunteer their time to work with those who find themselves running afoul," he said.
LaMancuso also assists the county with felony cases. He said Chautauqua County Judge John Ward has so many cases to hear that he handles some felony cases from incidents occurring in Jamestown.
"We try to resolve the case here because they are so busy," LaMancuso said. "We've had active County Court work for the last five to six years trying to ease the burden on County Court."
Another area LaMancuso is working to improve upon is domestic violence cases. He said he is working to make sure defendants don't reappear in court time and again by starting compliancy monitoring.
"We're trying to make sure the defendants don't reoffend, and making sure children are safe if they're involved too," he said. "A compliance (court date) where defendants comeback two weeks or 30 days later to make sure they are compliant."
LaMancuso said he wouldn't be able to accomplish his courtroom goals without his staff and community organizations lending their support.
"I have an excellent staff, and it doesn't happen without good people," he said. "We are fortunate to have WCA (Hospital) as a provider to help with drug and alcohol treatment, and the Salvation Army helping with domestic violence."
The judge said he is proud to be serving the citizens of Jamestown, and wants to continue to improve treatment court programs.
"We've been told we are on the cutting edge," he said. "We're doing things that is the future of the criminal justice system."