This Friday, Brooklyn residents who have received summonses can now respond to them in the comfort of their own neighborhood, thanks to Brooklyn’s first ever pop-up court.
The court will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Friday, June 8 at City Council Member Robert Cornegy’s office, 1360 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Although aimed at Brooklyn residents, it allows all city residents with summonses issued by the city’s health and sanitation departments to quickly resolve their summonses with officers from the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.
The program, which was announced at a press conference yesterday is a joint effort through Cornegy (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) and the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) to make it easier for New York City residents to resolve summonses.
“One of our concerns is that almost a third of the summonses that are issued, people ignore them, and that can have bad consequences in the future.” said OATH Commissioner and Chief Administrative Law Judge Fidel F. Del Valle. “It may not be tomorrow, it may not be next year, but in five years you may find out that you have a credit problem or some other problem because you ignored a summons. What we’re doing here today is making it more convenient for people to deal with their summonses and fight city hall.”
For those who do fight their summonses, approximately 44 percent are dismissed, according to Marisa Senigo, OATH’s Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs and Communications.
This pop-up court follows three similar courts that OATH recently held in the Bronx and Harlem. If it receives positive feedback, it may become institutionalized, Del Valle said.
“This is basically a pilot right now, and if it works out the way we hope – the way it looks like it’s developing – next year when we’re talking budget stuff, we’ll go to the council and to the mayor to see if we can get funded as a permanent program,” Del Valle said.
Cornegy said he hopes the program continues to expand. “I think the statistics will bear out that we have a lot of summonses, which makes it important to begin the program here. But I think my colleagues will look and see the success of the program, and see how beneficial it’s been and will want to do that with their residents as well,” he said.
Cornegy ended the press conference with a message for residents. “If you’ve gotten a letter, don’t be afraid to come down – this is for you.”
After this Friday, the next pop-up court will be held in Staten Island later this month.