FAQs - About the Appeals Process

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.

Why does it take so long to get the record?

The same order that assigned you counsel for your appeal also requires the County Appeals Clerk to order the court stenographers who recorded the proceedings in your case to type a copy of the minutes for our use on the appeal.  Stenographers often have back orders of minutes, and new orders must wait their turn in line.
 
Sometimes, additional problems arise. If a stenographer is no longer employed by the court systems, his or her notes have to be located and typed out by another stenographer. If the court file is lost, or if it is unclear from the file precisely what proceedings occurred and when, the Appeals Clerk may have difficulty determining what minutes to order and from whom. Sometimes, the Appeals Clerk thinks he has ordered all the minutes, but when we received them, we discover that additional minutes must be ordered.

What can be done if minutes are delayed?

When minutes have been ordered and are delayed, we write or phone the stenographers involved, urging them to complete the minutes as soon as possible.  In most cases, letters and phone calls lead to production of the minutes. If not, we serve the stenographer with a formal “demand for compliance,” warning that the minutes must be produced by a particular date. If they are not, we may make a motion to have the stenographer held in contempt.
 
In some cases, a motion for summary reversal can be made if the minutes are not produced for an extraordinarily long time, or if substantial portions of the minutes turn out to be hopelessly lost. If the minutes are lost, most often the court will order a “reconstruction hearing” at which the people who were present testify about what they recall of the trial. If such a hearing is ordered, you will have a right to be present for it.

 

Is there anything I can do to get the minutes faster?

If you or your trial attorney have copies of any minutes in your case, please let us know immediately. Otherwise, there is nothing you can do. We will make every effort to get the complete record in your case as soon as we can.
 

What are the stages of the appeals process?

There are four basic stages to an appeal:
 
          (1)  Gathering the record, which may take many months in a trial case, especially if the record is long or the stenographers involved are no longer employed by the court system;
 
          (2)  Preparing the brief, which may take from a month to several months after the record is complete, depending on the length of your transcript, the complexity of your issues, and the length of time spent corresponding with you to obtain your views or investigating additional potential issues;
 
          (3)  Waiting to receive the District Attorney’s brief and for the case to be calendared by the Court, which may take several months; and
 
          (4)  Waiting for the Court's decision. Most cases are decided within two months of oral argument or submission, but occasionally a decision takes much longer.

Is there anything I should avoid doing because it might cause delay?

Yes. Do not make any motions or institute any legal proceedings relating to your case on your own; please discuss them with us first. They may cause serious and unnecessary delay of your appeal. They may also make it difficult or impossible to raise certain arguments on your behalf later. If you have any motions pending that relate to your case, please let us know about them immediately.
 

What will happen when my minutes are complete?

 When the minutes in your case are substantially complete, we will assign your case to an individual attorney. That attorney will write to you shortly after receiving your case, and keep you informed of progress on your case from then on. Usually, an attorney will not begin work on your case until everything is complete, although an exception may be made when the missing item is relatively minor. Your individual attorney will decide when your case is complete enough to begin work on the brief.

Can I get a copy of my transcript?

When we have received the complete minutes in your case, we will automatically make a copy of them and send it to you free of charge. It is important that you take good care of this copy of the transcript. If it is lost or destroyed, we will not be able to provide you with a free replacement.
 
If you want a second copy of the transcript, we will have to charge for making that additional copy.  Please let us know, and we will advise you of the cost.