Friday, August 5, 2011

Suffolk County Courthouse Gets New Name: Dedicated As The "Hon. Alan D. Oshrin Supreme Court Building"

The Suffolk County Courthouse in Riverhead has been officially named the Hon. Alan D. Oshrin Supreme Court Building.  On Monday, August 1, 2011, a dedication ceremony was held to commemorate the event.
Suffolk County Courthouse, Riverhead, New York

The courthouse is now named for the late Justice Oshrin, who was elected to the State Supreme Court in 1991, and served as Suffolk County's District Administrative Judge from 2001 until his death in 2003 at the age of sixty-four.  Prior to taking the bench, Justice Oshrin was a prominent Long Island divorce attorney.

Speakers  at the dedication ceremony included: Gale Prudenti, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department; Justice Anne Pfau, Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Court System; Justice C. Randall Hinrichs, Oshrin's successor as District Administrative Judge; Matthew Packman, President of the Suffolk County Bar Association; and Adam Oshrin, Judge Oshrin's nephew and a local attorney.
Justice Prudenti described Justice Oshrin as someone who "personified the best in the judiciary," loved the law, and had a penchant for helping people.  All of the speakers had similar praise.
Justice Pfau, although beginning her speech by inadvertently referring to Nassau County rather than Suffolk, lauded the work of the courthouse staff during "a year when everyone has done more than their fair share."  For more than a year, as well as stalling a movement for judicial pay raises, State budget woes have caused a hiring freeze in the courts.  Staff who retire or leave for other reasons are not being replaced, and - while the workload has likely increased due to the rise in foreclosures - the number of courthouse staff has shrunk.

Nonetheless, work on the courthouse has continued, albeit slowly.  Suffolk County's courthouse complex in Riverhead has been in the process of renovations for over fifteen years.  

There has been a courthouse at this site, now known as the intersection of Griffing Avenue and Court Street, since 1729.  A new, modern building was added in 1996, and the old courthouse (built in 1881, then re-built in 1929 after a fire), has been mostly closed for renovations since then.  The new and old courthouses are linked by two enclosed bridges: one on the north side of the third floor; the other on the South side of the second floor.   Slowly, sections of the old courthouse, parts of which are now referred to as the "annex," are being re-opened.  


* "Supreme Court Building Expected To Finish in 2012," by Tim Gannon, Riverhead News-Review (August 8, 2011).  

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