New York courts cope with Irene's aftermath

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 30, 2011 1:33 PM
New York courts cope with Irene's aftermath

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Disruptions and closings slowed New York's state and federal court systems on Monday, especially upstate, following the weekend's lashing by Hurricane Irene.

Due to severe flooding, courts were closed in Amsterdam City and a number of largely rural upstate counties including Delaware, Schenectady, Sullivan, Ulster and Orange.

Officials were hopeful but unsure whether operations would be back to normal by Tuesday. Court administrators had not yet decided whether upstate courts would be able to open by then, court spokesman David Bookstaver said.

Emergency applications, such as a family-court protective order or request to prevent an imminent foreclosure sale, could be handled by local town courts or open courts nearby, according to the state court system's website.

State courts in New York City were operating near normal by Monday, according to Bookstaver. He said the storm produced fewer arrests than usual for a weekend and expected any backlog of criminal arraignments to be cleared on Monday.

"We're New Yorkers," Bookstaver said. "We're resilient."

Federal courts, which typically close over the weekend, seemed to have weathered the storms with few disruptions.

The federal courthouse in Manhattan was open but proceedings were postponed to accommodate staffers and officials whose commutes were delayed by limited public transportation.

Federal courthouses in Albany and Utica, part of New York's Northern District, were also largely unaffected by regional flooding, court officials said.

(Reporting by Jessica Dye, additional reporting by Joseph Ax, Basil Katz and Dan Wiessner, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)