County Board Endorses Arraigning All Suspects In A Single Courtroom

County Board Endorses

Arraigning All Suspects

In A Single Courtroom

Jail-Lobby Renovations Now Completed

Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. discusses renovations to the county jail’s lobby to accommodate a central courtroom. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – It was pro-forma, but the Board of Representatives today approved a resolution supporting centralized arraignment in Otsego County, which it is mandated by the state to do regardless.

Under the acronyms CAFA and CAP, which grew out of concern that suspects were being arraigned without proper counsel, any arraignment for a crime by any police agency operating in the county will be done as of Oct. 1 in the lobby of the county jail.

CAFA is the state acronym for “counsel at the first appearance” and CAP is “centralized arraignment part.”

Today’s resolution, which passed routinely, avers the county has consulted with “stakeholders” – the public defender, district attorney and the various police agencies – and that the centralized courtroom for arraignments is now complete.

In another resolution, the county board authorized a contract with the state Office of Indigent Legal Services for $168,400 a year — $2.5 million over the next five years – to expand public defender services under recently appointed Public Defender Mike Trosset.

In a tour of the just-completed courtroom in his department’s lobby this afternoon, Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. said it is Phase One that’s going into effect Oct. 1, where town justices will be scheduled to be on-call on a rotating basis.

If someone must be arraigned, the arresting deputy, trooper or local police officer will arranged with the on-call magistrate and public defender on duty to meet at the facility next to the county’s Meadows Office Complex.

Under Phase Two, arraignments will be scheduled twice a day, and suspects will be held at the jail until the next available arraignment period arrives, he said.  “It’s holding people who might not be held now,” said the sheriff, but other than that it should be routine.

 


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