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Pending Outcome Of Consolidation Of 4 Town Courts Should Be Interesting

Keep an eye on the pending consolidation of four Chautauqua County town courts into one.

French Creek and Mina officially merged judgeships earlier this year after home rule legislation was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Sherman offficials tried to consolidate two judge positions into one last year because of declining case volumes but had the decision overruled by town residents before both justices left the bench on their own. Clymer officials had a vacancy and are using Denis Cooper, French Creek/Mina judge, as Clymer’s acting judge.

Consolidating the four courts into one judicial structure, all housed in the Mina town courthouse, is an interesting experiment. In addition to creating a larger area from which to find a town judge, it will be interesting to see if there are cost savings by sharing the cost of a judge, clerk and operating expenses. How does having one court in Mina affect the county District Attorney’s Office? Does the four-town court result in unacceptable case backlogs? Or, with the exception of a longer drive to court, do town residents not even notice a difference?

Again, this will be an interesting agreement to watch because it could have repercussions for other small courts in the county, especially if there are cost savings to be had.

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