Deep Overtime Cuts Bring Delay, Rethinking of Case Presentation-NYLJ

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Justice Michael V. Coccoma (See Profile), the chief administrative judge for courts outside of New York City, said he receives eight to 12 requests daily, mainly in Family Court and often when someone is being remanded and transportation becomes an issue late in the day.

“I try to determine if this is something unanticipated, if it is going to cause a financial hardship to the parties [to push the matter over to the next day], whether it is an emergency,” Justice Coccoma said. “I put a lot of weight on the judge and what he or she tells me is going on.”

Justice Coccoma said sometimes it is cheaper to spend the money for overtime than require a jury close to verdict to return the next day, or to stop jury selection when only one more juror is needed. Jurors and prospective jurors get paid $40 a day.

“For the most part, the requests have been reasonable,” Justice Coccoma said. “But if I start seeing a court that is frequently asking for OT, I will take a closer look. Is it a problem with the judge’s case management or calendar? Is it a problem of over scheduling cases? The judges have been cooperative; the court staff has been cooperative. We just have to learn to work with it.”

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