Hon. Christopher Klingner
Justice Clerk to Honorable Christopher Klingner
Dawn Marie Klingner – Court Clerk
Phone: (845) 373-8434
Fax: (845) 373-8435
Court Hours: Even Tuesdays at 5:00pm
DA Court 3rd Monday at 10:00am
Hon. Graham R. Spearman
Justice Clerk to Honorable Graham R. Spearman
Maureen Moore- Court Clerk
Phone: (845) 373-7017
Fax: (845) 373-8435
Court Hours: Odd Tuesdays at 5:00pm
DA Court 3rd Monday at 11:00am
Town Court Rules
Due to need for increased security in court please note:
ALL PERSONS ARE SUBJECT TO SEARCH
NO FOOD OR DRINKS
PROPER ATTIRE ONLY – NO SHORTS – TANK TOPS – NO TEE SHIRTS
Police Constables: Francis Lansing, Abdur Mohammed, Justin Romeu, Marcos Mendoza
There are two Town Justices in the Town of Amenia who are elected to 4 year terms. Currently Christopher Klingner and Graham Spearman are serving as the Town of Amenia Justices. The Town Justices deal with criminal and civil litigation arising within the town limits. The justices can also perform civil marriage ceremonies.
On the civil side, the Courts hears actions seeking monetary awards up to $3,000 and small claims proceedings for awards up to $3,000. The court also handles landlord/tenant matters that may result in an eviction as well as a money judgment for back rent that is due.
Town Courts are best known for their small claims parts. Small claims proceedings are intended to provide a low-cost, simplified and informal procedure for individuals to resolve disputes involving limited monetary claims. Often individual litigants do not use an attorney in these matters and are not required to do so.
On the criminal side, the court is authorized to handle matters involving the prosecution of misdemeanors and violations that are committed within the towns or villages geographic boundaries.
The Town of Amenia Court also conducts arraignments and preliminary hearings in felony matters. In addition, these courts hear Vehicle and Traffic Law misdemeanors and traffic infractions.
Town Justices are required to be on-call 24 hours a day and are often called upon to arraign misdemeanor and felony charges as well as to act as Family Court judges when Family Court is not in session. In cases involving domestic violence, the judges are also authorized to issue orders of protection.
There are two Court Clerks who can answer questions about court procedures but cannot give legal advice. The Clerk collects fines and responds to requests for documents such as certificates of disposition. The Court Office is located in Town Hall. Maureen Moore is the Court Clerk for Hon. Graham Spearman and she can be reached at 845-373-7017 or via email. Dawn Marie Klingner is the Court Clerk for Hon. Christopher Klingner and she can be reached at 845-373-8434 or via email.
The Town of Amenia Court hears formal civil cases when either the Plaintiff or the Defendant resides in, is employed in or has a place of business within the Town.
Defendants are not guaranteed legal representation in civil court as they are in criminal court but may retain legal representation. People with low income may wish to contact Legal Services of the Hudson Valley which is funded, in part, by the US Department of Health and Human Service, the New York State Office for the Aging, and Westchester County.
Vehicle and Traffic Court
Cases charging the commission of a traffic infraction within the town limits are filed in the Town of Amenia Justice Court. Information regarding how to proceed with a traffic ticket may be found on the ticket issued to the motorist. If the motorist responds by pleading not guilty, the Court Clerk will schedule a pre trial conference hearing. The Court conducts non-jury or bench trials for violations, offenses and vehicle and traffic cases. If the motorist pleads guilty by mail, a fine letter will be issued that instructs the defendant on procedure and amount of payment. Online payments accepted here.
Small Claims Court
The Court hears small claims cases up to a maximum amount of $3000 when the Defendant resides in, is employed in, or has a place of business within the Town. Individuals and sole proprietors of businesses may bring a suit against an individual, corporation, partnership, association or assignee in Small Claims Court by filing a claim with the Court. There is a filing fee of $10 for claims up to $1000 and $15 for claims up to $3000. You may not file a claim in Small Claims Court for over $3000.
Small Claims Court is intended to provide a simple, informal and inexpensive procedure for prompt determination of small claims. The hearings are conducted in a way that ensures justice according to law without requiring a detailed knowledge of courtroom procedures or rules. pdfSmall Claims Handbook (968 KB)
The Court also hears Summary Proceedings/Evictions when the property and the Respondent are located within the Town. These proceedings include non payment of rent or holdover evictions. Plaintiffs may claim the full amount in dispute as there is no limit on the amount of the claim for which the Court has civil jurisdiction in such cases.
The Court hears both residential and commercial landlord/tenant cases. http://nycourthelp.gov/diy/districtCityTownVillagecourts.html
The Town of Amenia Court hears criminal cases originating within the Town and has full jurisdiction for non-felony cases (misdemeanors and violations) to accept guilty pleas or hold trials. On felony charges, the court conducts the arraignment and preliminary inquiry and may set bail or hold without bail. If the charges are not reduced to misdemeanors, the Town Court transfers them to Dutchess County Court for final disposition. The Town Court may not accept pleas in felony cases.
Defendants have the right to legal counsel and to choose a jury trial or non-jury trial for misdemeanor cases. The Dutchess County Public Defender’s Office provides legal services to criminal defendants who have been determined to be indigent.