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Criminal Justice

New York’s night court is a tourist attraction

Posted Mar 18, 2014 7:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The nighttime sessions of Manhattan Criminal Court have become a tourist attraction for those who want to catch a glimpse of justice in action.

The court handles an average of 70 to 90 arrestees during its 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. session, the Associated Press reports. The story calls the court “one of New York’s more peculiar and paradoxical tourist traditions” offering “gritty entertainment, hard-knocks education or at least a chance to experience real-life law and order on a New York scale.”

The place is noted in tour books, including Lonely Planet New York.

Observers include not only tourists but also legal workers and law students who want to learn more about New York’s justice system. Also visiting court are school groups from as far away as Denmark and judges from Japan.

Wording changed at 10:40 a.m. to say the court handles an average of 70 to 90 arrestees during its nighttime sessions.

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