Sullivan pleas for second judgeship for sixth year in a row

NORWICH – Abuse, neglect, child custody and visitation rulings are among the cases being postponed at Chenango County Family Court - many for several months - because the county’s sole family and surrogate court judge is overloaded.

And the problem isn’t new. For the sixth year in a row, Family and Surrogate Judge W. Howard Sullivan had made a plea before the Chenango County Safety & Rules Committee for another judge to help him.

“Right now people come into Family Court and we tell them we can’t see them until April,” he said. “That’s not acceptable.”

In 2007, Judge Sullivan’s caseload in Chenango County’s family and criminal courts totaled 2,236. Cortland, Madison and Otsego counties have two judges each, but only the judges in Otsego - where the population is about 10,000 greater than Chenango’s - exceeded Sullivan’s number, and just barely, with 2,596 cases. Delaware county’s sole judge presided over one thousand less cases last year than Sullivan.

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