Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: October 17, 2000

Seal of the Unified Court System
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge to Direct Roll-out of New York's Court -Mandated Drug Treament Program
NEW YORK - A critical step in the groundbreaking program unveiled by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye this summer to provide court-mandated substance abuse treatment to nonviolent drug-addicted offenders was taken today with the appointment of Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Joseph J. Traficanti, Jr., as the court system's first Director of Court Drug Treatment Programs. The appointment, which takes effect immediately, was made by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman.

Judge Traficanti will oversee the implementation of the judiciary's comprehensive substance abuse initiative, which includes drug screening for criminal cases, court-mandated treatment for nonviolent defendants and parents charged in Family Court child neglect cases, and the creation of specialized courts that will exclusively target persistent misdemeanor offenders. The court system's innovative addiction-focused program - the first of its kind in the nation - is designed to address the staggering 400 percent increase over the last two decades in the volume of narcotics cases confronting New York's courts.

The appointment of a statewide director to spearhead the judiciary's reforms targeting substance abuse cases was one of the key recommendations of the Commission on Drugs and the Courts, a panel convened by Chief Judge Kaye to study the impact of  drug-related cases on court caseloads and chaired by Robert B. Fiske, Jr., a former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. In his new position, Judge Traficanti will steer the statewide implementation of the judiciary's sweeping drug screening and court-mandated treatment program, which is slated to be fully in place within three years, with implementation beginning initially in Kings, Erie, Monroe, Onondaga and Suffolk Counties. He will be assisted by a special advisory board, consisting of judges, criminal justice professionals and court officials. (A roster of the advisory board members is attached.)

Judge Traficanti is presently the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Courts outside New York City, a position in which he has responsibility for the operations of state and local courts in 57 counties. He will continue in this capacity concurrently with his new assignment as Director of Court Drug Treatment Programs.

Chief Judge Kaye stated, "I am delighted with the appointment of Judge Traficanti to head the implementation of New York's landmark court-mandated treatment initiative. He has demonstrated exceptional leadership ability during his tenure as Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, having  engineered and put into place many new programs and operational improvements throughout the state. His familiarity with the legal communities of both large metropolitan areas and smaller, more rural regions, as well as the respect he has garnered statewide for his outstanding intellect and integrity, make Judge Traficanti the perfect candidate for this critical position."

Judge Lippman said, "As the Director of Court Drug Treatment Programs, Judge Traficanti will perform the pivotal role of implementing the court system's comprehensive substance abuse strategy, providing centralized direction and oversight for this groundbreaking initiative. He will be the main point of contact for judges, district attorneys, treatment providers and the defense bar, orchestrating the roll-out of one of the most far-reaching initiatives ever undertaken by the New York judiciary. For the past decade, he has served as Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for all courts outside New York City, an experience that has given him extensive knowledge of the workings of the court system and an intimate understanding of the justice community throughout the state. Judge Traficanti's stellar reputation and unparalleled experience give me every confidence that he will provide superb leadership for this vital initiative."

Judge Traficanti is the Ulster County Surrogate, a judgeship he has held since 1982, and also serves as an Acting Supreme Court Justice in the Third Judicial Department. From 1998 to 1999 he was the Acting Presiding Judge of the New York Court of Claims. Prior to his tenure on the bench, Judge Traficanti practiced law, serving as Assistant District Attorney and later Chief Assistant District Attorney in Ulster County. A graduate of Siena College and New York Law School, Judge Traficanti has presided over a broad range of cases, including criminal, family and civil matters, and he frequently lectures throughout the state on various legal topics.

Advisor Committee for Statewide Implementation of Court-Supervised Drug Treatment  

Debbie Botch
Chief of Budget Operations
Office of Court Administration

Hon. Joan B. Carey
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge
New York City Courts

Carey R. Dunne, Esq.
Davis, Polk & Wardwell

John Feinblatt, Esq.
Director, Center for Court Innovation

Prof. Michael P. Jacobson
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Hon. E. Michael Kavanagh
Justice of the Supreme Court
Third Judicial District

Hon. Robert G.M. Keating
President, Trial Text, LLC

Hon. Dennis M. Kehoe
County Judge, Wayne County

Hon. Judy Harris Kluger
Administrative Judge
Criminal Court of the City of New York

Lawrence K. Marks, Esq.
Special Counsel to the Chief Administrative Judge
Office of Court Administration

Michael Magnani, Esq.
Administrator for Special Projects
Center for Court Innovation

Nancy Mangold
Assistant Deputy Chief Administrator, Division of Court Operations
Office of Court Administration

Hon. Robert T. Russell, Jr.
Presiding Judge, Buffalo Drug Treatment Court