Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jim.henderson
The Flushing Library on Main Street in Queens

Justice is coming to the Queens Public Library in Flushing.

A neighborhood pop-up court will appear inside the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library on June 20, the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings announced on Monday.

The pop-up court will offer Queens residents with certain city-issued summonses the ability to appear in front of a hearing officer without leaving their home borough, the city office, known as OATH, said. This is month’s pop-up is the first to be held in the immigrant-heavy Flushing area.  

“Giving residents access to the OATH courts right in their backyard can serve as a tremendous benefit to both the city as it looks to resolve backlogs of violations and to residents by expediting the court process,” said Councilman Peter Koo, who represents the district the court will be held in.

Marisa Senigo, a deputy commissioner at OATH, said holding the pop-up court in Flushing is, in part, meant to help non-English-speaking immigrants who may fear a court summons.

“Having it in immigrant-heavy communities helps them understand that they could come and they shouldn’t be scared,” Senigo said. “This is a safe place to come and they shouldn’t worry.”

Translation services will be provided in 250 languages, Senigo said.

Senigo said having the pop-up court in the Flushing area is also important because “this is an area that is difficult to get to.”

OATH’s Queens office is located in Long Island City, and by holding the pop-up court in Flushing, the office hopes to make arguing against a city summons more convenient for those living in eastern Queens neighborhoods.

Only certain summonses, such as alleged rodent violations, having an open container of alcohol, littering or public urination, are eligible to be heard in the one-day court. Alleged parking, traffic, speeding or red light camera violations will not be heard inside the library because the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings is not the office responsible for those cases.

Additionally, the pop-up will only see summonses assigned a hearing date of June 20, 2019, or after.

On average, pop-up courts tend to hear around 10 cases per day, according to Senigo.

Pop-up courts were conceived to both alleviate the stress on the OATH offices and to ensure that defendants don’t have to travel far to get their cases heard. The first neighborhood pop-up court was held in April 2018 in the Bronx. Since then, 15 have been held across the city, three of which were held in Queens.

Library services will not be affected the day of the pop-up court.

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