The Town of Huntington is touting its establishment of the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication as a solution to changes in state criminal procedure law.
Once the bureau gets underway, which is expected in May, and begins tackling reports of town code violations, the cases will be treated as civil, not criminal, matters. That means that changes made last year in state criminal law that sped up how information had to be delivered to those accused of violating laws, and took away anonymity in reports, will not apply in the Huntington system. The bureau will handle code violations involving public health, safety and welfare but not violations of the building and traffic codes.
Huntington Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci said, “The state’s changes to the discovery process created a nightmare for the town attorney’s office and code inspectors seeking to resolve code violations, restore public safety and improve quality of life for our residents.”
The new state law has been criticized for making it more difficult to pursue cases with deadlines that are too tight, problems that Huntington will eliminate with the new bureau. In November, the Huntington Town Board voted to establish the bureau, becoming the first on Long Island and third in the state.
Several supervisors called for changes in the state law at a press conference in Brookhaven Thursday, saying that reports of violations have decreased because of the law’s new requirements. They fear serious health or safety issues will go unaddressed as a result.