Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Tale of Two Courts: Ithaca City versus Town of Ithaca

My backyard is Ithaca, NY. I do enjoy the Ithaca summers but winters can be trying and a dismal grey. Many people who has been charged with DWI ,and other traffic offenses often confuse the City of Ithaca and the Town of Ithaca Courts. Even after living in the City for a number of years it took me a little while to make sense of the divisions.

Cornell University occupies a huge land mass which straddles both the City and the Town boundaries and that is why some drunk driving cases are presented in the town versus the city and vice versa. On the other hand IC (Ithaca College) only occupies Town land so all IC criminal cases are held in the Town of Ithaca Court. I like to break it down this way, highlands of Ithaca (aside from Cayuga Heights which has it's own Village Court) are Town of Ithaca, and the lowlands (the flats) are the City of Ithaca.

The Town of Ithaca Justice Court only holds Court are two main days/sessions, and is less busy than the City.
Check the bottom left hand part of your tickets/charges to see whether you have to appear at:

Tioga Street, which is the Town of Ithaca Court or
Clinton Street, which is the City of Ithaca Court.

Some important Ithaca Court information is below.

Takeaways: Typically the busier City Courts will handle cases faster than the Town and Village Justice Courts (they have more support staff, open more hours, more Court sessions). That is also balanced with a much heavier case load. More cases can sometimes mean you are not getting out any faster.

The City Judges are paid much more than the part time Town and Village Justices, and they work full time schedules. Because of this, the ability to re-schedule Court dates, and have hearings on different days of the week offers more flexibility as well.

City of Ithaca Court

118 E. Clinton Street 
Ithaca, NY 14850 
(607) 273-2263

City Judges are elected to 10 year terms.

Hon. Judith A. Rossiter/ Bio Link Below

Hon. James Kerrigan/ Bio Link Below

Handles all cases from the city, some Cornell University cases, and the lowlands of Ithaca (downtown, commons, Route 13, Meadow Street).

Parking: at Cayuga Garage (across from Holiday Inn), $1.00/hour.

Court located next to police station on 3rd floor. Must go over footbridge to enter building. Do not bring hot liquids, such as coffee into the building.

Court has multiple sessions during the week, initial appearances generally scheduled on Wednesday mornings and some Friday mornings.


Town of Ithaca Justice Court

215 North Tioga Street Ithaca, New York 14850 (607) 273-0493

Town Justices are elected to 4 year terms.

Justice David Klein holds Court on: Wednesdays at 4:00 pm

Linda Fetherbay, Court Clerk

Justice James A. Salk holds Court on: Thursdays at 9:00 am

Betty Poole, Court Clerk

Handles IC (Ithaca College cases, some Cornell University Cases, and highlands of Ithaca)

Parking in garage at Seneca and Tioga Streets, next to Post Office, must park on higher levels, $1.00/hour. Starbucks and Hilton are located across the street from the Courthouse.

DO NOT CONFUSE: Tompkins County Courthouse is down Tioga street one block North. _________________________________________________________________________________

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