Midtown Court 20th Anniversary

Nicolet Robinson, honoree and former client, gets a hug from her Legal Aid lawyer Kate Mogulescu, left, and Coordinator of Trafficking Programs at the Center for Court Innovation Miriam Goodman.Nicolet Robinson, honoree and former client, gets a hug from her Legal Aid lawyer Kate Mogulescu, left, and Coordinator of Trafficking Programs at the Center for Court Innovation Miriam Goodman.

Nation's First Community Court Marks 20 Years

NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2013—The Center for Court Innovation celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Midtown Community Court with a party attended by more than 250 guests at the Morgan Library & Museum.

“If we had a theme tonight, it would be publiSenior Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg John Feinblatt, right, greets New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Fund for the City of New York President Mary McCormick.Senior Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg John Feinblatt, right, greets New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Fund for the City of New York President Mary McCormick.c-private partnership,” said journalist Errol Louis, the master of ceremonies and host of Inside City Hall. (Click here to listen to a podcast about the celebration).

Founded in 1993, the Midtown Community Court is the product of a unique collaboration of government agencies, business groups, and non-profit organizations, including the New York State Court System, the City of New York, and the Fund for the City of New York. The Court, which emphasizes alternatives to jail for misdemeanor defendants, has been credited with helping to improve public safety and reduce the use of incarceration.

The 20th anniversary celebraGreg Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation.Greg Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation.tion included three honorees:

Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of the State of New York, who has encouraged the Midtown Court to continue to test new ideas, including new responses to adolescent defendants and victims of human trafficking;

The Shubert Organization, Broadway’s largest theater owner, which provided crucial seed funding; and

Nicolet Robinson, a victim of sex trafficking who has been re-building her life with the court’s help.

Greg Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation, praised Judge Lippman for using “his bully pulpit to push and poke and prod our justice system to be the best that it can be and to live up to its highest ideals.”
Erroll Louis, master of ceremonies, and Pat Schoenfeld, widow of Gerald Schoenfeld, former chairman of The Shubert Organization.Erroll Louis, master of ceremonies, and Pat Schoenfeld, widow of Gerald Schoenfeld, former chairman of The Shubert Organization.
Lippman declared that “one of the enduring takeaways from the Midtown Community Court is that transforming individual lives isn’t just a feel-good story– it's good public policy.”

John Feinblatt, chief advisor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for Policy and Strategic Planning and founding director of the Midtown Community Court, highlighted the crucial role that The Shubert Organization and its then-Chairman Gerald Schoenfeld played in the early days of the project.

Robinson, the former client, told the crowd that every system she’d encountered before coming to the Midtown Court had failed her—schools, foster care, and the criminal justice system. But when she came to the Midtown Court three years ago, “I finally was treated like a whole person. Not as a number or as a criminal or looked at as a victim or as any other label.” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., left, and John Jay College President Jeremy Travis.Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., left, and John Jay College President Jeremy Travis.Over 250 people attended the party at the Morgan Library.Over 250 people attended the party at the Morgan Library.

 

 

Video: Justice That Works: The Midtown Community Court
This video shows how the first community court in the country continues to adapt and thrive.

 

Video: The Short Answer: What's the Legacy of the Midtown Community Court and Problem-Solving Justice?

Timothy Murray, the executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute and the principal architect and administrator of the nation’s first drug court (in Miami-Dade County, Fla.), provides a short answer to the question: What's the legacy of the Midtown Community Court and problem-solving justice?

 

Featured Research

Video

UPNEXT: A Second Chance at Life and Fatherhood

UPNEXT: A Second Chance at Life and Fatherhood

Meet Harry, a proud father and an alumnus of UPNEXT, a fatherhood engagement and workforce readiness program of the Midtown Community Court. Learn about Harry's life and his continuing path to success in his career and fatherhood.

Publications

Unmasking Times Square: A Needs-Assessment Survey with Ticket Sellers, Costumed Characters, and Others

Unmasking Times Square: A Needs-Assessment Survey with Ticket Sellers, Costumed Characters, and Others

By Tia Pooler and Becca Cadoff

Since the spring of 2016, people soliciting tips, selling tickets and CDs, and panhandling in Times Square have had to conduct their business in “Designated Activity Zones” or risk a criminal penalty. This report presents findings from a needs-assessment survey of these workers. Implications for programming at the Midtown Community Court that handles violations of the new activity zones and recommendations for policy reforms by regulatory bodies are discussed.

Download a fact sheet summarizing the survey's results

Publications

Fact Sheet: Community Service at the Midtown Community Court

Fact Sheet: Community Service at the Midtown Community Court

This fact sheet outlines the various community restitution projects at the Midtown Community Court. These initiatives seek to restore both the neighborhood and re-integrate participants into the community. 

Contact
  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • 601 Tully Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13204
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Canterbury Court
    1-3 Brixton Road
  • London, SW9 6DE
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060