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About The Fund for Modern Courts

The Fund for Modern Courts is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice in NewYork. Founded in 1955, and led by concerned citizens, prominent lawyers, and leaders of the business community, Modern Courts works to make the court system more accessible, efficient, and user-friendly for all New Yorkers. For the last 45 years, the cornerstone of our efforts has been the need to change New York's method of selecting judges. From the day of our founding, we have fought to remove the influence of money and politics from the selection process by working to institute merit selection.

In 1998, we also created a Task Force on Judicial Campaign Finance Reform, which works to improve our existing elective system, while we continue to fight for merit selection. In 1975, Modern Courts also created the nation's first Citizen Court Monitoring program. Currently active in 16 counties across the state, our volunteer monitors evaluate NewYork's courts from the perspective of the ordinary citizen. In recent years, their recommendations have been instrumental in helping to obtain numerous improvements.

A few examples include:

- Establishment of in-court child care facilities in 22 courts around the state;

- The New York State Office of Court Administration's implementation of a mandatory civility training program for all non-judicial personnel.

- Construction of new courthouses in Dutchess and Rensselaer Counties to replace badly outdated, dilapidated, and inaccessible Family Court buildings; and

- In February, 2000, creation of a task force in Schenectady County to oversee reform of grossly outdated and inadequate court facilities and technology.

Some of our current projects to improve the state courts include the following:

- Making reports, users' guides, and other publications and information available to users via this Web site;

- Creation of an on-line, searchable public database of campaign finance information for New York State Supreme Court races;

- Sponsorship of outreach events to educate the public and the legal community about issues related to court reform;

- Publication of users guides to the courts, including a Spanish translation of our newest publication, "Taking Action Against Abuse: A Guide to the Courts for Victims of Domestic Violence in New York State"; and

- Assumption of the Citizens Jury Project, an ombudservice for jurors in New York City courts.

Modern Courts relies primarily on private contributions to fulfill its mission to improve New York's courts. These funds have helped to underwrite our groundbreaking Citizen Court Monitoring program, public education and outreach, publication of monitoring reports and users guides to the courts, and numerous other projects. To help support our efforts by making a tax-deductible* contribution, please contact us at justice@moderncourts.org.


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© 2003 The Fund for Modern Courts
351 West 54th Street New York, N.Y. 10019
Tel.: 212.541.6741
Fax: 212.541.7301
justice@moderncourts.org