04.07.00

IN ANTICIPATION OF MONDAY VOTE, SCHUMER URGES JUDGES TO SUPPORT ORANGE COUNTY COURTHOUSE

SENATOR ASSURES JUDGES THAT CONSTRUCTION FUNDS WILL NOT COME AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHER FACILITIES

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Justices of the Second Circuit Judicial Council in a letter to approve a Southern District federal court facility in Orange County. The Second Circuit Judicial Council may vote on the proposed facility as early as Monday, April 10.

"The growing population and economic activity in Dutchess, Orange, and Sullivan Counties, as well as the steady increase in caseloads from these areas substantiates the need for a new courthouse... A new facility will benefit the area economically, and will improve accessibility to the court for attorneys, litigants, jurors, and residents," Schumer wrote in the letter.

The new Orange County court would significantly benefit the needs of local residents in the surrounding counties. For example, jurors serving their required duty would no longer have to travel from areas like Middletown and Monticello to the courthouse in Westchester County.

Schumer also assured the Justices in the letter that "funding for the Orange County facility will come out of the $3 billion GSA leasing budget, and, as such, will not affect either the capital budget, which funds larger projects like the Brooklyn courthouse, or the repairs and alterations budget which funds the 40 Centre Street renovations.... [We] are confident that the modest Orange County facility will not hinder the Foley Square project or other federal courthouse projects in the State."

Congress first authorized holding court in Orange County in 1996. Construction of the courthouse will not proceed until the Judicial Council endorses the proposal.

Schumer wrote to Chief Judge Thomas Griesa of the Southern District of New York in January to encourage the development of the facility in the MiddletownWalkill area. Schumer was joined by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in writing to the Justices.

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