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Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath Keeps Manhattan and Some NJ Courts Closed; Deadlines Extended

Posted Nov 1, 2012 7:42 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Power failures plagued state and federal courts in Manhattan on Wednesday.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will remain closed through Friday, along with federal trial and bankruptcy courts in Manhattan; Newark, N.J.; and Trenton, N.J., according to court websites and a summary by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. State courts in Manhattan were closed, except for emergency hearings, on Wednesday, while most state courts in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island reopened, Reuters reports.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an order waiving deadlines for civil and criminal cases, while federal judges did the same for affected Manhattan and New Jersey courthouses, according to Reuters and websites.

Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District in Manhattan spoke with Reuters in her unlit office at 500 Pearl Street on Wednesday before issuing an order pushing back deadlines. "I actually came in thinking I could do some work," she said. Auxiliary generators at the courthouse powered three elevators and emergency lighting.

Only one light bulb illuminated a Manhattan courtroom for the arraignment of Paul Ceglia, accused of trying to defraud Facebook with a faked contract. Ceglia was in Buffalo while lawyers were in the dimly lit Pearl Street courtroom of U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon. Because the Pearl Street phone lines were down, a cell phone was used so Ceglia and his lawyers could hear the proceeding. McMahon set bail at $250,000 and ordered home detention with electronic monitoring.

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