Monday, March 21, 2011

New York Criminal Leave Applications

Studying Case Outcomes on the State's Highest Court
by Lauren Owens

Lauren Owens, a third-year student at Albany Law School and Executive Director of the school's Moot Court Board, explores the process and outcomes of criminal leave applications to the New York Court of Appeals.

For several years, criminal defense attorneys, court watchers, and even the judges themselves have scrutinized the criminal leave application process at the New York Court of Appeals. In July 2009, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced an initiative to review the process by which the high court grants appeals in criminal cases. Practitioners and scholars anxiously awaited what changes, if any, would be made to the court's handling of criminal leave applications.

First, this paper reviews the process by which the highest court in New York currently grants leave to appeal in criminal cases, the comparison to the civil appeals process, and the New York State and New York City Bar Associations' recommendations to make the application process more fair. Second, the paper inquires into the subsequent case outcomes in the small percentage of criminal cases where the court actually granted leave. Third, the paper determines whether a relationship existed between the case outcome and the judge who granted leave, and how that particular judge voted in the actual decision. Finally, the author researched case outcomes on particular criminal issues to determine: a) if the court was more likely to grant leave on certain issues, and b) whether the disposition of particular issues was more favorable towards the prosecution or defense.
Read the entire paper here.