Local officials react to new arraignment hub law
Roger Hannigan Gilson is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media on the local response to a new law that will create arraignment hubs at local courthouses signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month. The law mandates the creation of a rotating list of hubs, open all night, where defendants are arraigned after arrest. The hubs would make it easier for public defenders to be available to appear on behalf of those charged. In Columbia County, defendants arrested at night are arraigned at whatever local courthouse has a judge who will do the arraignment. Columbia County Public Defender Robert Linville said he had received little guidance so far from the state Office of Court Administration on how the new system will work. "It will take a great deal of local conversation and airing of concerns to figure out how to do it," he said of the law’s implementation. He said the idea itself was as good one, and wouldn’t leave police searching for an available judge at all hours of the night. Dutchess County Public Defender Thomas Angell said the hubs were a good idea. "If they have centralized arraignments, it would make it a lot easier for us," he said. Livingston Town Judge Robert Moore, who handles many late-night arraignments, agreed. "I believe it would be positive," he said. "It would bring a defendant before the body of the court in more timely manner." Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said he thought the hubs were a good idea, especially in spread-out Greene County. A more efficient way to go about arraignments was through video links, Groden said. "Talk about efficient, that’s efficiency," he said. "You’re not driving all around the county to get someone arraigned, or getting a judge out of bed." Read the full story in the Register-Star.