Tompkins County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Tompkins County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Tompkins County.
I need help for my Tompkins County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Tompkins County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Tompkins County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
What happens in Tompkins County at an arraignment?
In Tompkins County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
In a jury trial in Tompkins County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Tompkins County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Tompkins County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Tompkins County. The Tompkins County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Mandatory Appearances in Tompkins County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Tompkins County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
Tompkins County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Tompkins County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Tompkins County Criminal Court Locations
Tompkins County Surrogate’s Court
Address: 320 North Tioga Street, PO Box 70, Ithaca NY 14851
Phone: 607-277-0622 Fax: 212-457-2952
Tompkins County Court
Address: 320 North Tioga Street, PO Box 70, Ithaca NY 14851
Phone: 607-272-0466 Fax: 212-401-9071
Ithaca City Court
Address: 118 East Clinton Street, Ithaca NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-2263 Fax 607-277-3702
Caroline Town Court
Address: 2670 Slaterville Road, PO Box 121, Slatervlle Springs NY 14881
Phone: 607-539-7796 Fax: 607-539-7796
Cayuga Heights Village Court
Address: 836 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca NY 14850
Phone: 607-257-3944 Fax: 607-257-8615
Danby Town Court
Address: 1830 Danby Road, Ithaca NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-0095 Fax: 607-277-0031
Dryden Town Court
Address: Phone: 607-844-8888, Ext. 1 Fax: 607-844-9358
Enfield Town Court
Address: 182 Enfield Main Road, Ithaca NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-0529 Fax: 607-277-2639
Freeville Village Court
Address: 5 Factory Street, PO Box 288, Freeville NY 13068
Phone: 607-844-8470 Fax: 607-844-4971
Groton Town Court
Address: 101 Conger Boulevard, PO Box 5, Groton NY 13073
Phone: 607-898-5273 Fax: 607-898-5798
Ithaca Town Court
Address: 215 North Tioga Street, Ithaca NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-0493 Fax: 607-275-0728
Lansing Town Court
Address: 29 Auburn Road, PO Box 186, Lansing NY 14882
Phone: 607-533-4776 Fax: 607-533-3667
Newfield Town Court
Address: 166 Main Street, Newfield NY 14867
Phone: 607-564-9982 Fax: 607-564-7404
Ulysses Town Court
Address: 10 Elm Street, Trumansburg NY 14886
Phone: 607-387-5411 Fax: 607-387-3728