In New York City, 1683-1962
The Court of General Sessions was a county court established on October 17, 1683 by the first Assembly in New York. Initially the court was known as the Court of Quarter Sessions and had both civil and criminal jurisdiction. In 1691, the court’s jurisdiction was confined to all felony cases not punishable by death or life imprisonment. The Court of General Sessions was abolished in all counties except New York by the Constitution of 1846, and its jurisdiction was transferred to the County Courts.
In New York County, the Court of General Sessions continued until 1962 and was at that date the oldest criminal court in the United States. In 1962, the Court of General Sessions was abolished and its jurisdiction was vested in the New York Supreme Court.