New York’s Supreme Courts are the highest trial courts in the state and general jurisdiction courts. They are authorized to process both civil and criminal cases. Most states in the United States have a Supreme Court that acts as an appellate court, but in New York, the Supreme Courts are trial courts. The New York Supreme Courts have unlimited and original jurisdiction in the state and hear cases that fall outside of the jurisdiction of other courts. When a case has a higher dollar value than allowable in other courts, they come to the Supreme Court. Some of the types of cases that fall within the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction are tort cases, contract disputes, real property cases, misdemeanors, divorces, annulments, separations, felonies, equity cases, mortgage foreclosures, and injunctions. Outside New York City, Supreme Courts can hear both criminal and civil cases, but County Courts can only hear criminal cases.
The NYCourts.gov website has a directory of each county where Supreme Courts reside. Each link takes the user to a detail page with the courthouse location, address, phone numbers, judges’ information, hours of operation, the court calendar, and directions to the courthouse. Additionally, that same website offers patrons of the court forms for filing a case, ADA accessibility options, an e-filing option, information on each of the judges, juror information, court rules, a complete law library for reference and local district and statewide court information. The main court website also has assistance for self-represented litigants, publications to help ease patrons through the court system, a search feature and case lookup function along with other legal supports and resources. For the last year calculated, New York Supreme Courts saw a total of 44,283 criminal filings and 466,113 civil filings. Supreme and County Courts comprise about 18% of the state’s total caseload.