Southampton moves its justice court to new facility

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Monday, people going to Southampton Town Hall could actually find a place to park - an uncommon occurrence for several years.

The parking situation opened up because the town had moved its justice court - one of the busiest town justice courts in the state - to two prefabricated buildings at the town complex in Hampton Bays.

Southampton, like other East End towns, has its own court, which rules in civil matters, traffic violations and misdemeanor criminal charges.

The Southampton court had been in the basement of town hall - originally a public school building - for decades. It had only one large courtroom and lawyers had no place to meet privately with their clients.

The court's clerks process more than 30,000 traffic citations a year, and the judges handled around 10,000 civil and criminal cases.

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The new facility contains three courtrooms - although all the furniture was not installed by Monday - and the assistant district attorneys have offices.

Yesterday, there was room in the lobby for court officers to screen people coming into the building without the line stretching into a hallway.

And when an attorney needed to consult with a defendant, Town Justice Andrea H. Schiavoni could direct them to a private room.

The court is part of a $2.9-million complex consisting of several prefabricated structures being used for services such as Legal Aid, the town's drug court and a domestic violence unit.

The new court's anticipated opening in the fall was postponed by construction delays.

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