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Chief Judge Janet DiFiore lauds Nassau, Suffolk for cutting case backlogs

New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet

New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore on June 1, 2016, in Albany. Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

New York' Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said the state has made significant progress in reducing case backlogs in Nassau and Suffolk counties but an amendment to the state constitution would further curb inefficiencies in the massive state court system.  

In an appearance Tuesday at the Long Island Association in Melville, DiFiore, appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2016, applauded District Court judges in both counties for their work in helping to modernize the court system.

"Judges and nonjudicial staff are working smarter, more effectively and more efficiently and as a result our productivity has increased in every way that the public should expect and demand from us," DiFiore said in prepared remarks. 

In Suffolk and Nassau, the number of new court cases filed and the backlog of pending cases dropped in most categories between 2015 and 2018, according to a state report on the court system released in February. 

Pending felony cases were down 38% in Nassau and 29% in Suffolk during the period. The number of new felony cases dropped by 18% in Suffolk but rose by 4% in Nassau, according to the report.

New civil case filings in Nassau decreased by 20% and 23% in Suffolk between 2015 and 2018. Pending civil cases in Nassau were down by 34% and 31% in Suffolk, according to the state report.

The felony case backlog outside New York City declined by 71%, DiFiore said.  

DiFiore last month proposed a change to the state constitution aimed at simplifying the state judicial system, which includes 11 different trial court venues. The measure would need to pass the State Legislature and a statewide voter referendum.

Long Island Association President and CEO Kevin Law said the business association “supports Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s efforts to modernize New York’s court system and make them more efficient which should ultimately save businesses time and money. ”

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