The City/Local Courts Bureau encompasses City, Town and Village Courts. The Unit oversees all misdemeanor, violation and traffic prosecutions in the local courts. City Court is staffed fulltime by a Bureau Chief and several Assistant District Attorneys. Town and Village Courts are attended by multiple Assistant District Attorneys generally once per week on a regular basis, as well as hearings and trials as needed.
Schenectady City Court has four judges who handle all the cases for the City, and this is the court with the largest volume of cases processed at the misdemeanor level and felony arraignment. Judges handle criminal calendars in one court and traffic matters in another court.
The primary responsibility of the City/Local Courts Assistants District Attorneys is to handle, from start to finish, all assigned misdemeanor and violation cases. Traffic tickets are also handled by these ADAs and we have transitioned to an email system to handle and process the large volume of traffic tickets as quickly as possible. All arraignments (felonies, misdemeanors and violations) for crimes committed in the City are handled by unit Assistant District Attorneys.
City Court also handles felony preliminary hearings as well as returned felony case calendars.
Alternative Treatment Court
Along with traditional criminal case calendars, City Court has a specialized court, Alternative Treatment Court, aimed to assist those requiring mental health services and treatment. The aim is to help offenders receive proper services and treatment to live productive lives within the community. Cases from local village and town courts also utilize this court program.
Schenectady City and Local Drug Courts
The Drug Court program focuses on the treatment and recovery of those addicted to illegal drugs and alcohol, rather than on incarceration as punishment. By participating in treatment, stopping the use of illegal drugs and maintaining that abstinence, the participants of Drug Court, treat an addiction and become active and productive members of society. The successful completion of a Drug Court Program results in no or a low-level criminal conviction, rather than a higher charge and incarceration. The aim is to address the issue or illness that contributed to the criminal behavior, and to provide aid and skills for those individuals.
There are 6 Town and Village Courts in Schenectady County. Assistant District Attorneys are assigned to local courts for weekly/monthly appearances as the case calendars dictate. The assigned Assistant District Attorney is responsible for handling hearings and trials in a particular court. For a listing of the current assignments of assistant district attorneys to the various local courts, please see the personnel section of this website. This may include felony preliminary hearings, however, they may be shared through the vertical prosecution efforts of the DA’s Office.
Process: When a person is arrested for a crime, he/she is brought before a judge in local court in the city, town, or village where the crime occurred. Once counsel is retained or appointed, the accused is arraigned and the judge either remands, sets bail, or releases the accused. If the crime charged is a felony, the judge may set a date for a preliminary hearing. If the crime charged is a misdemeanor or violation, the case will be heard on the next court date. In the case of a felony, following the date of the preliminary hearing (and sometimes earlier), the case will be sent to Schenectady County Court where it will be handled by a felony prosecutor.