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

Date: March 17, 2003

Seal of the Unified Court System
New York Courts Host Day-Long Discussions with Clergy
NEW YORK - Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye will met with 130 religious leaders from throughout New York City in a one-day seminar to help educate and inform members of the clergy about the state court system. The seminar will be held on Wednesday, March 19, from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. at the Interfaith Center of New York at 40 East 30th Street in Manhattan.

"When individuals are in trouble or experiencing difficulties in their lives, they often turn ro a member of the clergy for help," said Chief Judge Kaye. "It makes sense for the courts to reach out to these community leaders, to acquaint them with the workings of the court system, so that  they can better assist their congregants. This conference provides a unique opportunity for a two-way dialogue between the judiciary and clergy representing a diverse cross-section of the religious community. We look forward to not only sharing information but also hearing how we can better address the needs of their constituents."

Hon. Juanita Bing Newton, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justices Initiatives, whose office developed the one-day program in partnership with the Interfaith Center of New York, stated,"We sought feedback from the religious community on conducting a seminar such as this one and received an outpouring of interest and suggestions for discussion topics. The program was tailored to address these areas of concern, which include discussions about privileged communications with congregants, clergy's obligation to report criminal matters, housing issues, domestic violence, family law and immigration. Today's seminar, whcih is part of our community outreach initiative, will serve as a model for other like seminars to be held around the state."

This program is organized in collaboration with the American Jewish Congress (Metropolitan Region); Bangladesh Buddhist Society; Carribbean Cultural Center; Central Brooklyn Churches; Disaster Response Taskforce; New York Conference of the United Methodist Church; Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs Commission of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York; Episcopal Social Services; Hindu Temple of North America; Islamic Circle of North America; Latino Religious Leadership Project (Latino Commission on AIDS); New York City Buddhist Council; New York Mission Society; NYDRI; Queens Federation of Churches; and Sikh Coalition.