If you have had a case in housing court and have been disturbed by the actions of a judge, you may make a complaint. If your dissatisfaction involves the judge's decision on your case, you have the right to file an appeal with a higher court. You should consult a lawyer if you are filing an appeal. If you want to make a complaint about a judge's conduct or behavior in the courtroom, you should make a complaint to the chief administrative judge of the Civil Court and the supervising judge in that borough. In order to make an effective complaint. it is helpful to understand how housing court judges are chosen and evaluated.
What Kinds Of Conduct Should I Comment About?
Some general categories are looked at to evaluate a judge's performance. Use the following as a guide for making comments:
All judges should keep order in their courtroom. They should be patient and dignified when interacting with those who are before them.
A judge should not allow anyone (or give the impression that he or she allowed anyone) to have a special influence over him or her.
A judge should not discuss the case unless both sides are present.
Conflict of Interest
A judge should not allow his or her family, social or other relationships to have influence over him or her.
How Should I Prepare My Complaint About A Judge?
Prepare written comments carefully. Make sure you include the index number of your case, your name, address and phone number so that your comments can be confirmed. Include as much detail as you can and include copies of relevant court papers. Send copies of your comments to: Honorable Jacqueline Silbermann, Administrative Judge, NYC Civil Court, 111 Centre Street NY. NY. 10013. You may also want to send copies to David Rosenberg, Chairman, Housing Court Advisory Council, 111 Centre Street, NY. NY. 10013 and to The Judiciary Committee, The Bar Association of the City of NY, 42 West 44 Street, NY. NY. 10036.
Is There Any Record Of What Happens In The Courtroom?
All discussions in front of the judge that relate to your case are supposed to be tape recorded. Before you leave the courtroom, ask the court officer or the judge's law assistant for the tape number. Later, if you want a record of what happened, you can make an appointment with the clerk to listen to the tape of your case by giving them the index number and the tape number. You can even make a copy of the tape if you bring your own equipment or you can pay to have a written transcript made.
What Will Happen With My Complaint?
Housing Court judges are appointed by the Administrative Judge of the Civil Court after being interviewed and reviewed by the Housing Court Advisory Council and the NYC Bar Association's Judiciary Committee. Housing Court judges are appointed for a five-year term.
Before a Housing Court judge's term expires the judge's record is reviewed again by the Advisory Council and the Bar Association's Judiciary Committee. An announcement is placed in the New York Law Journal six months before the end of a judge's term by the Housing Court Advisory Council asking for public comment. However, you don't have to wait until a judge's term is expiring to make a complaint. While reviewing a judge's conduct and performance, other prior complaints and comments that have been filed with the Administrative Judge will be considered.
After the review process is complete, the Advisory Council and the Bar Association's Judiciary Committee will notify the Administrative Judge whether or not they recommend reappointment. The final decision is made by the Administrative Judge and the Chief Administrator of the Office of Court Administration.
Please send a copy to the City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court so they can keep track of the complaints that are made:
The City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court
666 Broadway, Room 520
NY. NY. 10012