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LETTER: Candidate pushes back against more cost to manage local courts in Seneca County

For those out in the community that I have not met I am David Dressing and I am running for Waterloo Town Justice on November 5th.  I am a school bus driver, a trained 19A DOT examiner, a former union vice president trained in contract law, negotiations, employment law, and a local business owner dealing directly with computer security, I wear many hats.  The safety and security of my community and those who I serve is my top priority in my daily life which is why when I was approached about running for justice, being qualified I felt I was the right fit for the position. 

I am a firm advocate for keeping Waterloo Justice Courts in Waterloo.  I believe we need to increase court security to ensure the safety of all in attendance.  I would like to restore the consistent operations of Waterloo Town Court to 3-4 times a month and include daytime sessions.

We have a Town courtroom in Waterloo that operates 5 days a week 52 weeks a year minus holidays. We need an elected Town Justice that is available to fill the position as it was intended and will even more so after the bail reform takes effect. If our court is running at regular times as it used to which was 3-4 times a month, being in compliance of the bail act and seeing someone charged brought before court within a 20-day period should not be an issue.

In the Finger Lakes Times article from September 26th my opponent asked for 3 additional clerks and clearly states he wants to move operations to CAP Court located south of Romulus at the Justice Center. His reasoning in the article for relocation is to be able to “do arraignments within 20 days of an appearance ticket being issued”. He goes on and says “CAP court is the logical place to conduct arraignments in accordance with the law”

I have a Huge question from a quote from the Times article that states, “The Seneca County Magistrate and Court Clerks Association and the county Criminal Justice Advisory Board has come up with a plan to meet the new requirements.”.  Has this already been agreed upon by the county, state and all parties necessary to make such a massive change behind closed doors without any thought to every community member in our entire county?

The law is pretty clear on this, N.Y.S codes, rules and regulations 22 CRR-NY 214.2 it states “ (a) It is the policy that the public is best served by justice courts which function in facilities provided by the municipality, and it is also the policy that each justice of those courts participate equally in the duties of the court. When facilities are provided by the municipality, the sessions of the court shall be held therein.”

Let me explain what his idea will become if it can be enacted:

1. This literally will move EVERY misdemeanor that a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) is issued to the Justice Center, not only in Waterloo but all courts county wide.  What this means is when someone is arrested under the new bail laws after 1/1/2020 if it does not fall within the Felony or other criteria that is a bailable offence they must go to court within 20 days of the charge…in Romulus.

2. It will cause hardships on those that will need to travel well outside of the jurisdiction they live.  This has all the potential for also causing defendants to default on not appearing in court causing them to be classified as a flight risk and then incarcerated. 

3. Increase costs in multiple departments county wide, the three clerks that are part time that were asked for and any administration costs associated with this will be a price tag that is shared across the county.  The cost of the clerks is just one cost, think about all the potential hidden costs.

Checks and balances of our local justice system are in question, when a person elected as a Justice / Judge has started to lobby for changes at the local, county and state level where does it stop?

This is an editorial special to and was not written by any member of the FL1 News Team. To submit an editorial for consideration it should be no more than 1,200 words, include identification of author, and be sent to the editorial team here. All editorials are run at the discretion of the FL1 News Team.

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