FAQs - Your Appeal
Have questions? We have answers!
Click through the catagories on the left for answers to some common questions.
If your question is not answered here, please contact us at (212) 693-0085. For individual attorney extensions, please refer to our staff page.
What is a criminal appeal?
An appeal is a review by a higher court of what happened in the lower or trial court. Its purpose is to determine whether any serious legal errors occurred at your trial, hearings, plea, or sentencing, which would require reversal or modification of your conviction or sentence. Convictions in the Supreme Court of Kings, Queens and Richmond Counties are appealed to the Appellate Division, Second Department. Convictions in the Criminal Court in those counties are appealed to the Appellate Term, Second Department. In some cases, a further appeal can be taken to the New York Court of Appeals.
What will the appeals court consider in deciding my case?
1. Minutes of all the important proceedings in the trial court, such as trials
2. Documents submitted to the lower court – such as written motions, decisions on motions, notes from the jury, the Probation Department’s pre-sentencing report, court-ordered psychiatric reports – are also part of the record on appeal. Police reports are not generally available to us unless they were exhibits at trial or are attached to other papers in the court file.
3. Physical Evidence admitted at trial or a hearing – such as photos of a line-up or crime scene – may also be considered on appeal.
How does an appeals court make its decision?
Will I be brought to court for my appeal?
What happens when my case is assigned to Appellate Advocates?
What should I do if I have questions or important information about my case?
While we are waiting for the record to become complete, your case will remain with our expert paralegal staff. During this period, any questions you have about your case should be directed to our Chief Paralegal, Ms. Irene Wojcicki. She will be able to answer most of your questions about the status of your case and the appeals process. She will usually keep inquiries about the legal issues in your case with your case file, so that they can be considered by the attorney who is eventually assigned to your case.The Chief Paralegal is in daily contact with Ms. Fahey and the other supervisors at Appellate Advocates and she will alert them to any issue or question that requires an attorney’s immediate attention.
As soon as we have the complete record in your case, one of our attorneys will be assigned to prepare a brief on your behalf. Within a few days of receiving your case file, your attorney will write to you. You will then have the chance to write to your individual attorney about any legal issues you wish the attorney to consider and anything else about your case that you think your attorney should know. From the time he or she is assigned to prepare your brief, your individual attorney will have direct responsibility for your case and you should correspond directly with that attorney.
Is there anything I should let Appellate Advocates know right away?
- your address changes;
- you have been given a stay of your sentence pending appeal;
- you have a life-threatening medical condition;
- you have any transcripts in your case or you know your attorney does;
- you either filed a 440 motion or received a decision on a 440 or other motion after you were sentenced;
- you have been resentenced or otherwise brought back to court on your case after your original sentencing;
- you have been arrested for or convicted of a crime, or charged with violating parole or probation, since your sentencing;
- you have had any serious disciplinary action taken against you in jail or prison since your sentencing; or
- there is any other matter in your case that might require urgent attention.
Can I call my attorney?
The expense of receiving unnecessary collect calls from clients is prohibitive, so your attorney may tell you that a call is not necessary in your case. You may rest assured that your attorney will keep you informed by mail of all important developments in your case.
You may also have a friend or relative phone your attorney, provided you have given us written permission to discuss your case with that person.
Can I have my attorney visit me?
How long will my appeal take?
Is there any danger my appeal will be dismissed because of delays?
Can I get a video recording or transcript of the attorney’s argument?
If your case goes to the Court of Appeals, however, the argument will be available as a webcast and a transcript of the argument will be available.