Court Of Appeals Practice

As a premier appellate office, CAL values the opportunity to develop and litigate criminal justice issues of statewide importance. CAL’s robust Court of Appeals practice includes identifying potential issues for future Court of Appeals litigation as early as the initial case screening process; framing the issue in the Appellate Division to try to secure, if not a favorable result, then a decision that may interest the Court of Appeals; and submitting detailed substantive “leave” letters to the assigned Court of Appeals judge, explaining why an issue is leaveworthy and appropriate for high court review. CAL’s attorneys make regular appearances in the Court of Appeals; it is an exciting moment for us all when a junior attorney gets their first leave grant.

Once leave is granted, we hold "leave lunches" to brainstorm angles and approaches for Court of Appeals briefing, and discussion continues throughout the briefing process.   

Recognizing that trial attorneys are vital partners in developing issues of law at the earliest stages, CAL authors a monthly newsletter, distributed statewide, flagging developments in the law and how to create a proper record for appeal.  That newsletter can be accessed from our Resources link. CAL's Court of Appeals update, downloaded at right, is another resource for the legal community.  It tracks each criminal case in the Court of Appeals, from the initial leave grant though to its argument date.  Also available to the wider legal community is our "Eye on Eagle" website feature, where we offer analysis and critique of selected Court decisions, often with practice tips and suggestions for future litigation.       

Finally, at the end of each Court of Appeals term, we host a roundtable discussion for CAL’s attorneys, where significant cases from the term are presented and analyzed. 

Robert Dean and Barbara Zolot coordinate the Court of Appeals practice.