Relates to increasing the term of office of judges of the New York city civil court housing part to ten years upon reappointment after an initial five year term.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the New York city civil court act, in relation to increasing the term of office of judges of the New York city civil court housing part
This measure is being introduced at the request of the Judiciary.
Present law calls for a five-year term of office for each Housing Judge of the New York City Civil Court. This measure would increase this term to ten years, but only where a Housing Judge is being re-appointed to his or her office. That is, each Housing Judge would serve an initial five-year term and then, if he or she is re-appointed to office, the term then to be served and any future terms will be ten years.
In our view, a five-year term for a full-time judge does not insure that individual, and the public he or she serves, an adequate measure of judicial independence. Nor are we confident that such a comparatively short term will consistently attract a sufficient number of qualified candidates to seek appointment to judicial office.(1) Housing Judges serve full-time and, like other full-time judges, they may not practice law on the side; and because they are subject to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, they are banned from engaging in many forms of extra-judicial activity by which they might otherwise augment their income. At the same time, because of the present five-year term, Housing Judges have much more limited job security than do their judicial peers on the New York City Criminal Court and New York City Civil Court.
A ten-year term for Housing Judges, after an initial five-year term, would be in keeping with the terms now fixed by law for other full-time judges of the Unified Court System, including those of the New York City Criminal Court and New York City Civil Court. Also, it would strike a more reasonable balance between the public's need to attract qualified candidates and its concern that Housing Part Judges, like all other government officials, periodically must be accountable for their performance in office. Finally, by pairing entitlement to the ten-year term to a continuing need to serve an initial five-year term, this measure will assure that only those Housing Judges who are experienced and who have demonstrated competence through a more limited tour of duty on the Court can enjoy longer tenure in office.
This measure, which would have no fiscal impact on the State, would take effect immediately but would apply only to the terms of office of housing judges appointed on or after that date.
2011 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: OCA 2011-44 Senate 4878 (Sen. Young) Referred to Judiciary
(1) Housing Judges are appointed by the Chief Administrator of the Courts from candidates for the office who have been approved by the Advisory Council for the Housing Part. See New York City Civil Court Act §110(f).
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4878--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 28, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. YOUNG -- (at request of the Office of Court Adminis- tration) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit- tee AN ACT to amend the New York city civil court act, in relation to increasing the term of office of judges of the New York city civil court housing part THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision (i) of section 110 of the New York city civil court act, as amended by chapter 310 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows: (i) Housing judges shall have been admitted to the bar of the state for at least five years, two years of which shall have been in active practice. Each housing judge shall serve full-time for five YEARS EXCEPT THAT, ONCE A HOUSING JUDGE HAS SERVED A FIVE-YEAR TERM, EACH TERM IN SUCH OFFICE TO WHICH HE OR SHE THEREAFTER IS REAPPOINTED SHALL BE FOR TEN years. Reappointment shall be at the discretion of the administra- tive judge and on the basis of the performance, competency and results achieved during the preceding term. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to the terms of office of housing judges reappointed on or after such effective date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10932-02-1