Albany City Court - Criminal part

518-453-5520 (new in 2011)
Mailing Address:
Albany Criminal Court
1 Morton Avenue, Albany, NY 12202
Street Address:
1 Morton Avenue, Albany, NY 12202
Traffic matters are handled separately in <a href="">Albany Traffic Court</a>. Make sure you check the clipboards on the wall in the hallway to see which courtroom your case is in. Also (for attorneys) when you get to your courtroom, check to see if the Judge is conferencing cases in their chambers or in a conference room in the back. Ask one of the cops or court staff. This is one of the most unpleasant courts in the area. You just feel a little uncomfortable here, perhaps because the more serious criminals are here. Town Court criminal nights generally involve shoplifting and other minor crimes. Albany Criminal gets the more serious problems. There are a lot of police in the building. The main courtroom has a glass wall separating the area in front of the bench from the spectators and those waiting. Beyond the normal appearance of bias one gets from a Court housed in the same building as the police and being guarded by the police, the glass wall adds to the appearance as the DA is inside and the defense attorneys and most defendants wait outside. All of the judges are good people. Carter was a hard-working ADA for many years, and maybe a Trooper before that. No one knows criminal law better. Keefe was a political fixture of the "progressive" movement in Albany for years, and his election was seen by many as a revolution in Albany politics. Kretser hasn't been on the bench long (but it has been at least a couple years now) and her career background is different. She's extremely bright and learning fast.
Part of the unpleasantness is the area immediately surrounding the Court. It is on Morton Ave near S. Pearl Street. This neighborhood seems run-down. DMV is a block away and there's a good Greek diner in between. Albany's sports arena is very close as well. It used to be called the Knickerbocker Arena (the Knick), then the Pepsi Arena, and now the Times Union Arena (named for the local paper). Some locals still call it the Knick.
Hon. William Carter, Thomas Keefe & Rachel Kretser. Carter is very experienced in criminal law, a bit stern, but with a heart. Keefe & Kretser are more pleasant.
The Albany DA prosecutes matters in this court. They are good to work with once you are able to get their attention. On a good day that will be quick, but on a bad day it can take more than an hour. There's at least one more. Historically Albany ADAs rotate quite a bit, and lately (mid-2008) there has been even more turnover.
Criminal Part handles all crimes (misdemeanors and felonies) in the city, along with various violations such as marijuana and certain city code violations (like open container). Felonies get moved up to County Court.
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