BINGHAMTON, NY – With a spate of courthouse closures across the state, the wheels of justice are grinding to a halt.
Locally, all municipal criminal courts are closed and the Broome County Courthouse is only open for emergency proceedings such as arraignments where cash bail still applies, fugitives brought in on warrants and orders of protection.
Jury trials and grand juries have been suspended.
Anyone whose crime does not qualify for cash bail is no longer being arraigned and therefore is not being formally charged.
That includes drug and weapons charges.
In some cases, attorneys are being allowed to call in via the telephone during court appearances.
Broome County District Attorney Mike Korchak says he thinks the state court system may institute video conferencing.
“We’re looking at a delay in the proceedings in court and we really don’t know how long that’s going to be. The local courts are shut down, county court is shut down, it’s only open on an emergency basis. If a new case comes in, we’ll address it when it comes in,” says Korchak.
Korchak says that whenever the system gets back up and running, it will face an enormous backlog of cases to work through.