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What must I do to appeal my criminal conviction?

If you have been convicted of a felony by a New York court, you may be able to file an appeal. But you have to move quickly.

Those convicted only have 30 days to file the application after serving the adversarial party with a certified copy of the intermediate order from the appellate court that is being appealed. Filing a motion to reargue the appeal filed in the intermediate appellate court will not stop or extend the 30-day period for filing the application for leave.

If the 30 days has already passed, all is not lost. Under CPL section 460.30, a motion for a time extension is allowed, provided that the motion is made within a year after the time expired to appeal. Rules 500.20 (g) and 500.21 state that the motion must be addressed to the entire court.

Although it is possible for the defendant to file a pro se application, in most cases, the attorney who was retained or assigned in intermediate appellate court files the application for leave to appeal upon request of the defendant.

All criminal appeals not involving a capital conviction must have preliminary appeal statements filed, as per Rule 500.9(a).

Applications should be written in the form of a letter and must detail the specific grounds for which the defendant is seeking an appeal. Letters must indicate that adversarial parties have been served, although including formal service affidavits are not necessary.

All co-defendants must be named in the letter and their appeal status noted if applicable. If an oral argument is being requested, this must be stated, along with a denial that the same relief was applied for to another Appeal's Court justice.

The letter of application, copies of the decision being appealed, the judge's order and every brief filed with the intermediate have to be submitted together. The completed packet is then addressed to the Court's Chief Judge via the Clerk of Court.

Along with the application letter, a copy of the order and decision sought to be appealed and copies of each brief filed in the intermediate appellate court must be submitted with the application.

For answers to specific questions about your appeal, you can address the matter with the attorney handling your appeal.

Source: nycourts.gov, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Aug. 21, 2015

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Robert D. DiDio
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