NEW YORK STATE GAZETTEER.
The Supreme Court.—The State is divided into 8 Judicial Districts’,1 in each of which, ex¬
cept the first, 4 justices are elected. The clerks of counties are clerks of this court. It has general
jurisdiction in law and equity, and power to review the judgments of the County Courts and of
the former Court of Common Pleas. This court has three distinct branches,—General Terms,
Special Terms, and Circuits. The General Term held by three or more of the Supreme Judges,
including the presiding judge, is an appellate court for the review of cases from the courts below,
and for deciding solely upon questions of law. Special Terms are held by one Supreme Judge,
without a jury, for the decision of equity cases; and Circuit Courts are held by one Supreme
Judge, with a jury, for the trial of issues of fact. At least four general terms of this court are
held in each district every year. Every county (except Hamilton) has at least one special and two
circuit courts annually. A general term of the Supreme Court is held at the Capital in January of
each alternate year, for the purpose of arranging the terms of all the Circuit Courts and Courts of
Oyer and Terminer, of assigning the business and duties of the justices, and revising the rules of
County Courts are held by the County Judge,2 assisted by two justices of the peace elected
annually for the purpose. The judge performs the duty of surrogate, except in counties where the
population exceeds 40,000, in which the Legislature may provide for the election of a separate
officer as surrogate.3 The Legislature may direct the election of local officers, not exceeding two in
any county, to discharge the duties of judge and surrogate in case of inability or vacancy in that office,
and to exercise such other powers as may be provided by law.4 Judges and surrogates receive a
salary fixed by the Supervisors, and which cannot be increased during their, term of office.
County Courts have jurisdiction in civil cases when the real estate, or all the defendants, or all
the parties interested are within the co., and where the action of debt,assumpsit, or covenant claimed
is not above $2,000, or in actions for injury to the person, or trespass upon property, where the
damage claimed does not exceed $500; or in replevin suits where the value claimed is not above
$1,000. These courts have equity jurisdiction for the foreclosure of mortgages, the sale of the real
estate of infants, the partition of lands, admeasurement of dower, the satisfaction of judgments
over $75, and the care and custody of lunatics and habitual drunkards. Surrogate’s Courts are
held by the County Judge or Surrogate, (in counties' where the latter is elected,) and have the ordi
nary jurisdiction of Courts of Probate.
Justices’ Courts are held by justices of the peace, who have jurisdiction in civil suits where
the sum claimed does not exceed $100 in value.5 They have jurisdiction in criminal cases for im¬
posing fines to the amount of $50, and of inflicting imprisonment in the county jail for a term not
exceeding 6 months.6
Tribunals of Conciliation may be established, and their powers and duties prescribed
bylaw; but their judgments are not obligatory unless the parties previously agree to abide by
City Courts. In each of the cities and in several of the larger villages are courts of local
jurisdiction organized under special laws.7
rence, and Tioga, 1849; Ulster, 1850; Chenango, 1851; Sullivan,
1854; Essex, 1857; and Tompkins, 1858. The term for which
these officers are elected is 3 years, except in Chenango, Tomp¬
kins, and Ulster, in which it is 4 years.
8 There are 4 justices elected in each town except Champlain,
Ellisburgh, Fort Ann, Hanover, Harmony, Hector, Lenox, Niag¬
ara, Pomfret, and Potsdam, which have each 5, and Brook-
haven, which has 8. Justices were appointed by the Council of
Appointment from 1777 to 1822, and by the Supervisors and
Judges from 1824 to 1827, since which they have been elected.
8 Revised Statutes, Art. I, Title 4, Chap. 2, Part 3.
t Constitution, Art. YI, See. 23.
8 The principal City Courts are as follows:—
In Albany.—A Mayor’s Court, held by the Mayor, Recorder,
and Aldermen, or the Mayor and Recorder jointly, or either
of them singly. It is practically held by the Recorder only;
a Court of Special Sessions, held by the Recorder or County
Judge, with one or more Justices; a Justices’ Court, held
by 3 Justices elected for the purpose. Two Police J usticea
In Auburn.—Justices’ and Police Courts. Three Justices of the
In Brooklyn.—The City Court., held by the City Judge; Po¬
lice Courts and Justices’ Courts, for whose convenience
the city is divided into 5 districts; a Court of Special Ses¬
sions, held by a Justice or Police Justice.
In Buffalo.—A Superior Court, held by 3 Justices ; Justices'
and Police Courts. Eight Justices of the Peace and one
Police Justice elected.
New York State Judicial Districts under the Act of May 8,
1. City and County of New York.
2. Dutchess, Kings, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rock¬
land, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties.
3. Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan,
and Ulster Counties.
4. Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery,
St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Wash¬
5. Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego
6. Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison,
Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga, and Tompkins Counties.
T. Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben,Wayne,
and Yates Counties.
8. Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara,
Orleans, and Wyoming Counties.
From 1777 to 1822 Judges were appointed by the Council of
Appointment; and from 1822 to 1846, by the Governor and
Senate. One in each co. was styled “ First Judgeand a fixed
number (subsequently 4) of others were called Judges.
8 Surrogates are elected in Albany, Cayuga, Chautauqua,
Columbia, Dutchess, Erie, Jefferson, Kings, Monroe, New York,
* Constitution, Art. VI, Sec. 15. Special acts have been passed
for this purpose, as follows:—Special Judge and Special Surro¬
gate in Cayuga, Chautauqua, Jefferson, and Oswego, 1849;
Washington, 1855. Special Judge in Oneida, Orange, St. Law¬