Justice Kimberly Ragazzo, in her second term, and Justice Maritza Fugaro-Norton, in her third year as Cortlandt Town Justice, along with the support of their clerical staff, have made several improvements to Town Court during their tenure.
The Justices received approval from the Cortlandt Town Board and the 9th Judicial District Administrative Judge to offer night court.
Cortlandt is one of the few town courts in Westchester County to have a hybrid day and night court, where all types of cases are heard, including Penal Law, Vehicle & Traffic Law, Parking, Town Ordinances, and civil matters. The format best accommodates the needs of the community.
In another upgrade, Cortlandt Town Court has been asked to pilot a program for Town and Village courts to provide the Electronic Document Delivery System (EDDS), which allows the transmission of digitized documents to the court.
EDDS provides a secure, centralized, and efficient delivery of documents to the court, while limiting physical contact in the courthouse. The justices and staff are working with the Unified Court System and finalizing the details to launch the program. Once the program is ready, they will offer training for attorneys to learn how to use the system.
In another significant improvement, Cortlandt Justice Court has contracted with Language Line, a translation service with dial-in access 24/7. Previously there was no access to off-hours translation. Now, a live translator is available in any language to assist the defense attorney in speaking to his or her client. The justices can activate the speakerphone during the arraignment. “It is a great tool to have available in the middle of the night or on a weekend,” notes Justice Ragazzo.
Justice Fugaro-Norton and Justice Ragazzo say they will stay committed to finding ways to improve the Cortlandt Town Court by staying current with resources and technology that can provide more access to justice for the community.