Purpose of the Court
The Tompkins County Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDV Court) is a specialized court designed to better serve families experiencing domestic violence.
Previously, litigants in domestic violence cases were required to appear in front of multiple courts and judges to address their criminal, family and matrimonial issues. In order to simplify the court process and ensure effective case resolution, Chief Judge Judith Kaye established the IDV Court embracing a "one family-one judge" concept, allowing a single judge to hear a family's related cases where the underlying issue is domestic violence. Beginning in December 2003, IDV Judges in Tompkins County began presiding over the IDV Court to address the related criminal, family and matrimonial legal matters that may arise in the context of domestic violence.
The goals of the IDV Court are to promote informed judicial decision-making, consistency in orders of protection, reduced court appearances, enhances services to victims and increased offender accountability, while protecting the rights of all litigants.
The IDV Court hears interrelated cases from throughout Tompkins County. The initial requirement for the entry into the IDV Court is a pending criminal case involving allegations of domestic violence or a violation of an order of protection between the alleged victim and a defendant in addition to either a Family Court matter and/or a contested matrimonial matter between one or both of the same parties. For these cases to be IDV eligible, the parties must be married, previously married, have children in common or be related in a way defined by Section 812 of the Family Court Act.
In addition, the IDV Court will automatically preside over cases involving criminal contempt of a Tompkins Family Court Order (even without the existence of a pending Family Court petition); and criminal cases alleging a Violation of an Order of the IDV Court.
All such domestic violence cases from Tompkins County Town, Village and City Courts will be removed to the IDV Court, provided that no case has been pending so long in the originating court that transfer would not promote the administration of justice. Upon identification of appropriate cases, the IDV Court will issue a mandatory Transfer/Removal Order notifying the parties and originating local courts that the mattes have been transferred. Once the parties have been notified, they need only appear in IDV Court and need not attend scheduled appearances in other Courts.
The IDV Court staff is a team of specially trained professionals that includes a Supreme Court Justice; a Court Clerk; Court Office Staff; and a Resource Coordinator. Honorable John C. Rowley, and Honorable Joseph R. Cassidy, acting as Justices of the Supreme Court will preside over this court twice a month.
A unique feature of the IDV Court is the intensive judicial monitoring of cases to ensure ongoing offender accountability. A Resource Coordinator will act as a liaison to criminal justice agencies and local service providers to provide up-to-date reports to Judges before each court appearance. For example, for defendants convicted of crimes, the coordinator will work closely with the IDV Court to oversee their compliance with orders of probation and terms of conditional discharges.
Another important aspect of the IDV Court is the presence of a Victim Advocate. The Victim Advocate, a specially-trained representative from The Advocacy Center, will be available in Court and thereafter to provide emotional support, safety planning, referrals and other services to victims.
In addition, a trained pool of dedicated attorneys from the Assigned Counsel Program will be present in Court to accept assignments from Judges for parties who qualify for the program.