Opinion 89-44


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.


VILLAGE JUSTICE -- Acting Justice (reporting requirement to the State Comptroller)
STATE COMPTROLLER -- Justice Court Fund (reporting requirements for acting village justices)

VILLAGE LAW, §§3-301(2)(a), 4-410; STATE FINANCE LAW, §99-a; UNIFORM JUSTICE COURT ACT, §2021: Acting village justices are required to file a monthly report with the Justice Court Fund of the Office of the State Comptroller whether or not they received moneys during the month for which they are reporting.

You ask if acting village justices are required to file a monthly report with the Justice Court Fund of the Office of the State Comptroller for those months during which they did not preside as a village justice and during which they received no moneys for which they are required to account.

The office of acting village justice is a permanent office required to be established by Village Law, §3-301(2)(a) in the event a village has only one village justice. An acting village justice is not elected, but is appointed by the village mayor subject to the approval of the board of trustees (Village Law, §3-301[3]). Pursuant to statute, an acting village justice "shall serve when requested by the village justice or in the absence or inability of the village justice to serve" (Village Law, §3-301[2][a]). It is not uncommon for an acting village justice, although duly appointed, to encounter extended periods of time when he or she does not serve.

Village Law, §4-410 sets forth the reporting requirements for village justices. Subdivision b of this section provides that the village justice "[s]hall pay... [all moneys] ...paid to him on any proceeding during any calendar month to the state comptroller within the first ten days of the month following collection." Subdivision c of section 4-410 further provides that the village justice "[s]hall report the fact that he has not received any costs, fees, expenses and fines during any month to the state comptroller within the first ten days of the succeeding month". Thus, a village justice is required to report monthly to the State Comptroller, whether or not moneys are received by the justice in the performance of his or her duties.

Neither section 4-410 nor any other statute, however, specifically requires an acting village justice to report and pay over moneys to the State Comptroller. Nonetheless, it is without question that, given the general statutory scheme pertaining to the collection and distribution of moneys received by both town and village courts, acting village justices are subject to the provisions of section 4-410 with respect to any moneys received in the performance of their duties (see State Finance Law, §99-a, Uniform Justice Court Act, §2021 and Town Law, §27(1) which, together with Village Law, §4-410, require that moneys received by village and town courts be accounted for and paid to the Justice Court Fund of the Office of the State Comptroller). Since acting village justices are subject to the provisions of Village Law, §4-410 with respect to moneys received, it must be assumed that they are similarly subject to the provisions of the same section with respect to the requirement they report the fact that no moneys have been received during the preceding month.

Accordingly, we conclude that although section 4-410 does not specifically refer to acting village justices, it is intended that such officers be subject to the requirements of this section. Therefore, such justices are required to report monthly to the Justice Court Fund, whether or not they have presided as a justice or have received money in the performance of their duties during the preceding month.

November 8, 1989
Melvin I. Rosenblat
Director, Justice Court Fund