Justice Court

Justice Court

r-_pakolaVillage Justice: Richard S. Pakola, Esq.

Judge Richard S. Pakola attended the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a B.A.  He received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, New York, New York, graduating on the Dean’s List, and an LL.M. from the George Washington University School of Law, Washington D.C., with Highest Honors.

He served as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG), where he practiced in a wide variety of legal areas, to include criminal prosecution and defense, information law and environmental law.

After leaving the Air Force, he worked at a prominent law firm in New City, New York, specializing in criminal defense.  He is currently a Deputy Town Attorney with the Town of Orangetown and “of counsel” with the Law Office of William F. Smith, specializing in municipal and surrogate’s practice.

He was elected Village Justice in West Haverstraw in 2016.

roselina-serrano-village-of-west-haverstraw-02-08-172Associate Village Justice: Roselina Serrano, Esq.

Judge Serrano earned a Bachelor of Arts   In Political Science, cum laude, from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy University at Albany, and earned her J.D. from the Florida Costal School of Law. She also graduated from the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University in June 2019. Judge Serrano was appointed as the Associate Village Justice for the Village of West Haverstraw in January 2017, becoming the first Latina judge to be appointed in Rockland County.  

Admissions:
New York  State Bar
New Jersey State Bar
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

Court Clerk: Laura Bidewy-Zitofsky
Associate Court Clerk: Judith Shephard

Office hours are: 8:30 am. to 4:30 pm.

The Court accepts credit cards: Visa and Mastercard. Court payments can be made online at nCourt. Convenience fees for online transactions will be applied.

2020 Court Calendars
Justice Pakola
Associate Justice Serrano

The Village of West Haverstraw Justice Court handles both criminal and civil matters. The Court’s duties include:
Criminal arraignments of all crimes and violations occurring within the Village of West Haverstraw.
Trials for misdemeanors and violations occurring within the Village of West Haverstraw.
Parking violations and violations of the West Haverstraw Village Code including building code violations.
Civil jurisdiction: $ 3,000.00
Small Claim jurisdiction: $ 3,000.00
Counter Claim: $3,000.00
Landlord Tenant matters: location of subject property MUST be within the Village of West Haverstraw. There is no monetary jurisdiction.

Small Claims

If your claim is for $ 3,000.00 or less and the defendant resides or has a place of business in the Village of West Haverstraw, you may avail yourself of the Village of West Haverstraw Justice Court. The cost of filing a Small Claim is as follows:
$ 10.00: filing fee to the court for claims up to and including $ 1,000.00
$ 15.00: filing fee to the court for claims up to and including $ 3,000.00
Fees are payable at the time of filing. The Court accepts certified checks, money orders, cash and credit cards (Mastercard/Visa).
Small Claims and other civil actions are heard approximately every other Tuesday. Check with the Court Clerk for precise court schedule.

If your claim is settled prior to the hearing date, BOTH parties must notify the Court in writing. If your claim proceeds, you MUST be prepared at the time of the hearing to PROVE your claim. This means that you should have your evidence with you when you appear in court. When you come to court you should bring two (2) extra copies of your documents for both the Court and your adversary.

If you plan on using paid receipts as evidence: BRING THEM TO COURT with copies for the court AND your adversary.

If you plan on using estimates as evidence: bring at least two (2) written estimates with copies for the court AND your adversary.

The court will send out a summons and complaint on your behalf via the United States Post Office. If service by mail is unsuccessful, it will be the responsibility of the plaintiff to have the papers served via a third party with proof of the original affidavit of service.

Vehicle and Traffic

Vehicle and traffic matters are heard six (6) times a year.
Traffic infractions pleas (non-criminal) should be answered by mail or dropped off at the Court in Village Hall. You should enter your pleas in the appropriate box on the summons and send it into the court by the date indicated on the summons. This applies only to traffic violations. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you MUST appear in court on the date indicated on your appearance ticket.

If you are pleading guilty you will be sent a fine letter. Fines may be paid by cash, money order, certified check, bank check or credit card (Mastercard/Visa) ONLY. If you are pleading guilty by mail, you may plead guilty with an explanation which will be taken into consideration by the Court.

If you plead not guilty, you will receive notice of the pre-trial conference date in the mail.

Adjournment requests are discouraged, however, if you must request an adjournment, they must be submitted in writing and RECEIVED by the court one week prior to the conference date. The court’s fax number is (845) 947-1560.

The court will notify you in writing IF an adjournment has been granted.

If you fail to appear on your scheduled conference date, your license will be suspended.

Parking Tickets

Parking tickets pleas should be mailed to the court. You should enter your plea in the appropriate box on the summons and send it into the court by the date indicated on the summons.

If you are pleading guilty you will be sent a fine letter. Fines may be paid by cash, money order, certified check, bank check or credit card (Mastercard/Visa) ONLY. If you are pleading guilty by mail, you may plead guilty with an explanation which will be taken into consideration by the Court.

If you plead “not guilty”, you will receive notice of the pre-trial conference date in the mail one month prior to the scheduled date.

Adjournment requests are discouraged, however, if you must request an adjournment, they must be submitted in writing one week prior and RECEIVED by the court prior to the pre-trial conference date. The court’s fax number is (845) 947-1560.

The court will notify you in writing if an adjournment has been granted.