Q: What kinds of appeals do you handle?
A: Our office handles appeals from criminal, family, and matrimonial matters. We handle criminal appeals from violations, misdemeanors, and felonies, both after trial and after a plea of guilty. We handle Family Court appeals, both from support magistrates’ rulings and Family Court judges’ rulings in any kind of family court matter, including custody, child support, spousal support, family offense, abuse and neglect, paternity, etc. We also handle certain administrative appeals, including appeals to the Office of Children and Family Services from an indicated CPS report, and appeals to the Board of Parole.
Q: How long do I have to appeal?
A: Generally, you have thirty days in which to file a Notice of Appeal from a judge’s ruling. That timeframe is extended to 35 days if the judge’s decision or order was mailed to you.
Q: Who hears my appeal?
A: Generally, your appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department in Albany. If you are appealing from a support magistrate’s decision, you must first file objections to the decision, which are reviewed by a family court judge. If you are appealing from a conviction by a town or justice court, your appeal is heard first by the County Court.
Q: If I cannot afford an attorney, can I get a free attorney?
A: If you wish to appeal from a criminal or family court matter, and you are found to be indigent, you may qualify for counsel free of charge. There is no free attorney available for an appeal from a matrimonial matter, except from the portion of that matrimonial matter that may have involved the custody of children.
Q: How strict are the deadlines for fling an appeal?
A: Very. If you are even thinking of appealing a judge’s decision, you should file a Notice of Appeal within the 30 day deadline. The whole appeal does not need to be completed by then, just the notice filed. If you do not file the notice within the allotted time period, and decide later that you wish to appeal, it will most likely be too late and your appeal will not be allowed to proceed.