ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State officials say off-hours court arraignments in criminal cases will begin this month in centralized locations for four upstate New York counties.

The New York state Unified Court System announced Monday that judges in local criminal courts in Broome, Oneida, Onondaga and Washington counties will be assigned to a single, central court site on a rotation.

Judges selected for each county will conduct arraignments resulting from off-hours arrests for their entire county.

The pilot program is a result of new legislation aimed at ensuring the availability of legal counsel for poor defendants and reducing the burden on local courts.

The centralized arraignment parts, known as CAPs, will operate during designated evening and weekend hours starting this week in the Binghamton area and expanding to three other counties later this month.

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