Extends from four years to eights years, the term of office of commissioner of jurors to insure a continuous pool of capable candidates for this office.
BILL NUMBER: S5772
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the judiciary law, in relation to the term of office of commissioner of jurors
PURPOSE : To change the term of office of Commissioner of Jurors from 4 to 8 years, to insure a continuous pool of capable candidates for this office.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1 would amend section 504, subdivision A of the Judiciary law to change from four years to eight years the term of office of Commissioner of Jurors, and would make it gender neutral.
Section 2 would provide that this act shall take effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION : Under present law, in each of the 57 counties outside of New York City there is a Commissioner of Jurors who is responsible, on behalf of the Chief Administrative Judge and the Unified Court System, for overseeing administration of laws and rules relating to the drawing, selection, summoning and impaneling of jurors. Each Commissioner is appointed to a four year term by the County Jury Board of the county in which he or she serves, unless the Commissioner also happens to be the County Clerk of his or her county, in which event his or her term of office as Commissioner will be coterminous with his or her term as County Clerk.
By contrast, in each of the five counties comprising New York City, the County Clerk automatically serves as Commissioner of Jurors for his or her county. In those counties, there is no County Jury Board, the County Clerk/Commissioner of Jurors is appointed to office by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Judicial department in which the county is located. Nor is there any specified term of office, as the Constitution only provides that each County Clerk in New York City is subject to removal by the Appellate Division.
Commissioner of Jurors are no longer county employees, having become State employees in 1977 as part of the Unified Court Budget Act; and while ideally Commissioners should be appointed by judicial administrative officials and serve at their pleasure, as in the case of New York City, it is recognized that County Jury Boards still play an important role in contributing locally to development of policy regarding operation of the jury system. For this reason, this measure seeks not to displace those Boards, nor to relieve them of their long held responsibility to select local Commissioner of Jurors, but only to insure that these latter offices remain sufficiently attractive to enable recruitment and retention of the kind of well trained and highly professional persons needed to discharge their more demanding responsibilities. The lure of a more meaningful term of office should accomplish this end.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2007/2008 A.3341 Referred to Judiciary 2005/2006 A.1630 Referred to Judiciary. 2003/2004 A.9692 Referred to Judiciary.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately. Commissioner of Jurors in office on such effective date would have their terms extended an additional four years.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5772 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE June 4, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sen. VOLKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the judiciary law, in relation to the term of office of commissioner of jurors THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision (a) of section 504 of the judiciary law, as added by chapter 316 of the laws of 1977, is amended to read as follows: (a) Except in counties within cities having a population of one million or more, the county jury board, or a majority thereof, shall appoint a commissioner of jurors for a term of
[four]EIGHT years and shall fill any vacancy occurring in such office in the same manner as an original appointment. The county jury board may, in its discretion, appoint the county clerk or other county officer or employee to serve as commissioner of jurors. A county clerk's term of office as commissioner shall be coterminus with his OR HER term of office as county clerk. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, the term of office of each commissioner of jurors appointed, pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (a) of section 504 of the judiciary law, prior to such effective date, who is in office on such date, shall be extended by an additional four years.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00886-01-9