Calling on the State Courts System to Slow Evictions
In April 2022, I wrote to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks calling on the New York State Courts to stop calendaring eviction cases faster than lawyers can be assigned to low-income tenants who qualify for free representation under the Right to Counsel law in New York City. Following the end of the eviction moratorium set up during the worst parts of the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure people were not evicted during a public health emergency, there is a backlog of eviction cases that New York City housing court is currently processing. The Office of Court Administration (OCA) which calendars cases for eviction hearings has been processing cases faster than pro-bono and Legal Aid Society attorneys can be assigned to tenants in need of legal counsel. This is entirely an administrative issue coming from the courts and is within the control of Chief Judge DiFiore and Administrative Judge Marks. Tenants should not be evicted because they were forced to represent themselves in court and the state courts system should not allow justice to be weighted in favor of landlords simply because an attorney cannot be assigned to a case. I hope that Chief Judge DiFiore and Administrative Judge Marks will be act swiftly to slow the process of calendaring cases and ensure tenants are fairly represented.