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The Court of Appeals, New York State's highest court, is composed of a Chief Judge and six Associate Judges, each appointed to a 14-year term. New York's highest appellate court was established to articulate statewide principles of law in the context of deciding particular lawsuits. The Court thus generally focuses on broad issues of law as distinguished from individual factual disputes. There is no jurisdictional limitation based upon the amount of money at stake in a case or the status or rank of the parties.
Excellence Initiative
On February 8, 2016, Chief Judge DiFiore announced the Excellence Initiative, a detailed and comprehensive evaluation of current processes and procedures to determine what is working well and what needs to be improved in the New York State Unified Court System. For more information on this initiative, including how comments may be submitted to the Chief Judge, please see Excellence Initiative.
Notice to the Bar - Primary Election Appeals

The Clerks' Offices of the Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division Departments release the following joint scheduling announcement:

The Appellate Division Departments have scheduled only the following dates to consider appeals related to the September 13, 2016 primary elections:

First Department - Tuesday, August 16, 2016
(Wednesday, August 17, if necessary)

Second Department - Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Third Department - Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fourth Department - Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Court of Appeals has scheduled Tuesday, August 23, 2016 and, if necessary, Wednesday, August 24, 2016 to consider appeals and motions for leave to appeal related to primary election matters.

Because there is limited time available between the primary election sessions of the Appellate Divisions and the Court of Appeals, parties who seek to have matters placed upon the Court of Appeals motions or appeals calendars must contact the Court of Appeals Clerk's Office for filing instructions immediately after the decision of the Appellate Division is released.

All parties, election boards and affected courts are expected to proceed expeditiously with all phases of election matters so that the requirements of these special sessions can be met. For more information on the schedules of the Appellate Division Departments and the Court of Appeals, contact the respective Clerk's Office.

Full Notice to the Bar
Notice to the Bar - Word and Page Limits

After considering all public comment received, the Court of Appeals has amended its Rules of Practice, effective June 22, 2016. Principal briefs filed on normal course appeals, certified questions and review of the determinations of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct will be subject to a 14,000 word limit. Requests to exceed the limit may be made by letter. Rule 500.11 submissions (the Alternative Procedure for Selected Appeals), reply briefs, amicus curiae briefs and briefs in response to amicus curiae briefs will be subject to a 7,000 word limit. The amended Rules provide corresponding page limits for briefs that are handwritten or prepared on a typewriter. The new word and page limits will apply to all appeals for which the preliminary appeal statement is filed on or after the June 22 effective date.

In addition to the adoption of the word and page limits, section 500.20(d) was amended to clarify that only one request for reargument or reconsideration per party of a specific criminal leave application is permitted.

Questions may be directed to the Clerk's Office at (518) 455-7701 or (518) 455-7702.

Full Notice to the Bar
Notice to the Bar - Change to 2016 Calendar
The Court will be hearing argument away from Court of Appeals Hall for a day of its upcoming October 2016 Session. On Friday, October 14, 2016, the Court will hear argument at the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, M. Dolores Denman Courthouse, 50 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604. Oral argument will begin at 10:00 a.m. The Court has amended its 2016 Calendar of Sessions, substituting October 14 as an argument date in place of October 17, 2016.
Full Notice to the Bar
Notice to the Bar - 2017 Calendar of Sessions
The Court of Appeals has released its 2017 Calendar of Sessions. The schedule set forth below includes the appeal sessions as well as the Court's Conference days, which are scheduled for June 20 and 21 and December 7 and 8. August 30 and 31 are special election appeals session days.
Full Notice to the Bar
Law Day 2016

On Monday, May 2, 2016, the Court of Appeals celebrated Law Day.  The event included a tribute to former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, who passed away in January of this year.  Speakers included Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State Bar President David P. Miranda.  The event was webcast and is available for viewing here.

Statement on the Passing of Former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye From Acting Chief Judge Eugene F. Pigott, Jr., January 7, 2016.

We are sad to announce the passing of our beloved former Chief Judge, the Honorable Judith S. Kaye.

Chief Judge Kaye passed away last night. She was the first woman Judge and Chief Judge in Court of Appeals' history. She was the Court's longest serving Chief Judge. She served tirelessly and compassionately for over 25 years . The Court of Appeals and the entire New York State Court System is saddened by her loss. She has been an inspiration to all of us who were privileged to know her and she will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Press Release
Notice to the Bar - Amicus Curiae Participation

On December 22, 2015, a Judge of the Court granted defendant leave to appeal in People v Otis Boone. The appeal is proceeding in the normal course of full briefing and oral argument.

Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of two counts of robbery in the first degree. The two complainants, both of whom are white, described their assailant as African-American, and picked defendant out of a line-up and identified him at trial as the person who had robbed them of their cell phones during two separate incidents. Supreme Court denied defense counsel's request for a jury instruction regarding the unreliability of cross-racial identifications because defendant presented no evidence on the issue and did not raise it on cross examination. The Appellate Division affirmed (129 AD3d 1099 [2nd Dept 2015]). Defendant argues that the trial court's refusal to give a cross-racial identification instruction deprived him of a fair trial where the evidence connecting him to each robbery rested on a single-witness identification.

The Court invites amicus curiae participation from those qualified and interested.

Amicus motions must comply with section 500.23 of the Rules ofthe Court of Appeals.

Questions may be directed by telephone to the Clerk's Office at (518) 455-7705.

Full Notice to the Bar


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