State’s legislature: No second judgeship for Chenango

NORWICH – Local officials are unsure why a bill that would have established a second county court judgeship in Chenango County failed to pass through the New York State legislature again this year.

“We thought we had it moving because it was included in a recommendation from the chief judge’s office,” 107th District Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch, R-Binghamton, said Monday.

“I honestly, at this point in time, I’m not sure why (it didn’t pass),” he said. Crouch co-sponsored the bill with 52nd District Senator Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton. Chenango County’s request for a second judgeship passed through the Senate.

The Board of Supervisors’ request has been turned down since 2002.

A backlog of cases has precluded Chenango’s judges from trying cases in an expedient manner. There are currently three homicide cases that have made little progress through the courts; two have been delayed for nearly a year.

In 2007, caseloads before Chenango County Family and Surrogate Judge Howard Sullivan totaled 2,236; more than the numbers in Cortland, Madison and Otsego counties where two family court judges preside. Only Otsego County - where the population is about 10,000 greater - were the caseload numbers slightly higher. Otsego’s two judges had 2,596 cases.

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