Bar Associations demand action in overcrowded family courts

In July, I wrote a story about overcrowding and other problems in the family courts in Yonkers and New Rochelle. A state report criticized the buildings as “among the worst in the state” for family courts and cited insufficient space, lack of parking, security problems and accessibility violations among the problems.

County and court officials at the time said they would address the situation. Four months later, nothing has changed.

Today, the Westchester County Bar Association issued a joint statement with other legal groups calling for action to fix the “severe disrepair”‘ in those facilities. Here is the full, unedited statement:

“Local Bar Associations representing the majority of practicing lawyers in Westchester have come together to call attention to the deplorable conditions that exist in the Family Court facilities in Yonkers (and New Rochelle) and call for appropriate action to correct these conditions.”

“Donald Sandford, President of the WCBA, describes the current state of the facility:  ‘There is insufficient space for the most basic needs, conference space for litigants and their attorneys, storage space for court files, work space for court personnel, etc.  These problems have now been exacerbated by the fact that persons having business before the court are denied access because the facilities are so grossly overcrowded.'”

“The Law Guardian Association, the New Rochelle Bar Association,  the Yonkers Bar Association, the Westchester Black Bar Association,  the Westchester Women’s Bar Association join with the Westchester County Bar Association in calling for action. As leaders of the legal community, the combined organizations believe that it is their duty to speak out against the disgraceful conditions in order to assist those seeking access to justice. They agree that activism on the part of local bar associations is the best way to call attentions to the problem and bring about a solution to the conditions in the satellite family courts.”