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Fund for Modern Courts

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The Fund for Modern Courts is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, statewide court reform organization founded in 1955. Led by concerned citizens, prominent lawyers, and business leaders, Modern Courts strives to improve the administration and quality of justice in our courts. It is the only organization in New York State devoted exclusively to improving the judicial system.

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THE FUND AND COMMITTEE FOR MODERN COURTS SUPPORTS THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO INCREASE THE MAXIMUM RETIREMENT AGE OF JUDGES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS AND JUSTICES OF THE SUPREME COURT

New York, NY - The Fund and Committee for Modern Courts supports the Constitutional Amendment to increase the maximum retirement age of judges of the Court of Appeals and Justices of the Supreme Court (Proposal Number Six) on the ballot for the November 5, 2013 election which amends the New York State Constitution, sections 2 and 25 of article 6, to provide that: (a) a Justice of the Supreme Court would be eligible for two additional two?year terms of certification after the present retirement age of 70, instead of the three such terms currently authorized; and (b) a Judge of the Court of Appeals who reaches the age of 70 while in office would be permitted to remain in service on the Court for up to a maximum of ten years beyond the present retirement age of 70 in order to complete the term to which that Judge was appointed.

Milton, L. Williams, Jr., the Chair of the Fund and Committee for Modern Courts, said, "This proposed amendment to the Constitution improves the administration of justice in New York State because it benefits the public by allowing some of our most experienced judges and justices to continue to serve beyond an arbitrary retirement age."

"In addition," Mr. Williams said "that the Chief Judge has committed to use the additional judicial resources available as a result of this proposal to assign Supreme Courts justices and Acting Supreme Court justices to Family Court where the crushing caseloads urgently demand more resources."

In April 2009, Modern Courts' Task Force on Family Court released a report entitled, ?A Call to Action: The Crisis in Family Court: Recommendations for Leadership and Reform? in which it recognized that there are simply not enough Family Court judges to meet the courts' ever-expanding and called upon the Chief Judge to re-allocate judicial resources by the assignment of additional judges to Family Court.

Mr. Williams added that, "The Chief Judge has committed to improving the current certification process for Supreme Court justices in order to make the process more effective and transparent, including the participation of the public and interested parties in hearings involving those justices who have applied for certification."

Mr. Williams said that Modern Courts considers adoption of this proposal as the first step in its efforts to raise the mandatory retirement age of judges of all courts of record, including judges of the Court of Claims, County Court, Surrogate's Court, and Family Court.

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