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Top judges propose reform of town and village courts

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The chief judges of the state's court system want to overhaul local town and village courts. A New York Times series published in late September savaged the local system. The Times found widespread examples of incompetence and improper behavior, especially here in the North Country.
The local courts are often low-budget operations. Most local justices have no legal background, and minimal training. In cases cited by the Times, some allegedly used racist or sexist language. They were accused of showing bias against defendants. People were jailed without due process.
The chief judges' report released yesterday acknowledges many of the weaknesses. Its authors - at the top of the justice system - also admit they can't mandate change.
Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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