Last updated: December 5, 2013
Just 20 minutes from Niagara Falls, at the eastern end of Lake Erie, sits Buffalo, the second most populous city in New York State. It was the birthplace of the grain elevator, but now counts finance, technology and health care as integral parts of its economy.
It is inevitable that legal issues arise in the Queen City as it grows and adapts to changing times. When they do, there are a variety of courts to address the issues at hand. Here is a list of some of the key courthouses in the City of Good Neighbors.
Note: This court is a “hybrid drug and mental health court that serves veterans who are struggling with addiction and/or mental illness by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system into a specialized veterans court.” The court diverts those who are charged with a non-violent felony or misdemeanor criminal offense to a specialized criminal court docket where they voluntarily participate in a treatment plan supervised by a judge.
Note: The city courts have jurisdiction over preliminary hearings in felony cases, criminal misdemeanors and lesser offenses and civil matters with amounts in controversy up to $15,000. It has a small claims department for those with claims up to $3000 (refer to this guide for more information on small claims filing, hearings, settlement, judgments, etc.) as well as a housing court department which handles housing related issues including evictions and code violations.
Note: This court handles a variety of types of matters including neglect, delinquency or dependency actions, custody, support, adoption, establishment of paternity and more.
Note: The county courts have jurisdiction over all types of criminal offenses, but in practice tend to deal mostly with felonies. On the civil side, the county courts hear cases that involve amounts in controversy up to $25,000. For information on court records or filing for the Erie County or Erie Supreme Courts, refer to the website for the County Clerk.
Note: The supreme courts have very broad jurisdiction and can hear most cases. They are the only court that can grant divorces, annulments and separations. For information on court records or filing for the Erie County or Erie Supreme Courts, refer to the website for the County Clerk.
Note: This court handles only immigration matters. If you have received a hearing notice it is recommended that prior to your appearance you or your representative familiarize yourself with the Immigration Court Practice Manual.
Note: This court handles only bankruptcy matters. If you are filing without an attorney, check here for information from the court.
Note: This court handles only federal law matters. If you are summoned for petit jury duty, expect to be on call for 90 days. If you are selected for a jury you will be required to serve until the conclusion of that case. If you are selected for a grand jury, you are empaneled for a term of 18 months and that may be extended for another 6. Refer here for Jury Service FAQ’s.