City Courts: A City Court exists in every city in the state excluding New York City, and hears both civil and criminal cases. Its criminal caseload includes misdemeanors, violations, traffic offenses, and the preliminary stages of felonies. The City Court hears civil cases involving amounts up to $15,000, small and commercial claims, and disputed traffic tickets. City Court judges are elected to 10-year terms.
New York City Courts: : The Criminal Court of the City of New York hears misdemeanors, other violations, and the preliminary stages of felony cases. The mayor appoints Criminal Court judges from a list of candidates submitted by the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary for 10- year terms.
Supreme Court: The Supreme Court is a statewide trial court that has the broadest jurisdiction of any court. The Supreme Court hears civil and criminal cases, but not claims against the state. It is the only court that handles divorces, annulments, and separations. Supreme Court justices are elected for 14-year terms.
Family Court: The Family Court, present in every county in New York State, hears cases involving children and families including child custody and support, neglect and abuse, juvenile delinquency, family offenses (i.e. domestic violence), and paternity. The Family Court does not decide divorce, annulment, or separation proceedings. In New York City, pursuant to an executive order, the Mayor appoints Family Court judges from a list of candidates submitted by the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. In all other counties, Family Court judges are elected. All Family Court judges serve 10-year terms.
Court of Appeals: The Court of Appeals is the highest court in the state. As the state’s court of last resort, the Court of Appeals hears appeals from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. The court has seven judges, six associate judges and the chief judge. Court of Appeals judges are appointed for 14-year terms by the governor who must make an appointment from a list of seven “well-qualified” candidates submitted by the bipartisan 12-member Commission on Judicial Nominations. The New York State Senate must also confirm the nomination.