The Center for Appellate Litigation is a non-profit public defense law firm dedicated to the pursuit of equal justice under the law for indigent New Yorkers in their criminal appeals and other post-conviction proceedings. We believe all people deserve dignity, respect, and the right to be heard and treated fairly when their liberty has been taken from them or threatened, regardless of their ability to pay for an attorney. In support of our mission, we provide the highest quality legal representation to clients assigned to us by the Appellate Division, First Department and the Appellate Term, First Department, in criminal appeals and post-conviction proceedings in Manhattan and The Bronx.
Our clients are among society’s most disenfranchised: sentenced and often incarcerated prisoners – subject to systemic and individual injustices during the era of mass incarceration – without the means to challenge the system that has taken away their freedom. We identify reversible errors that contributed to our clients’ convictions and otherwise challenge the procedures and outcomes of the system that may have unjustly convicted them. We pride ourselves on developing dynamic and effective approaches to achieving justice.
Our client-centered approach often takes our advocacy beyond the vitally important matter of the appeal and beyond the limitations of the cold record:
• Our Justice First Project exhaustively re-investigates the circumstances that led to a client’s conviction to unearth wrongful convictions;
• Our Immigrant Justice Project attacks convictions to prevent our immigrant clients’ deportation and permanent separation from their families and communities;
• Our SORA and Plea Projects challenge excessive sentences and severe post-incarceration penalties and punishments;
• Our DLRA Project seeks to reduce harsh Rockefeller Drug Law sentences;
• Our Conditions of Confinement Project monitors and responds to the frequent threats to our clients’ safety and well-being while incarcerated;
• Our Parole Advocacy Project advocates for clients’ early releases;
• Our Re-entry Program facilitates newly released clients’ access to social services; and
• Our Books Beyond Bars Project helps provide our clients with a small measure of relief from the isolation and dehumanization of an extended prison sentence.
We do all of this with passion and creativity, a commitment to the highest standards of eloquent and persuasive written and oral advocacy, and a team of attorneys who rank among the most experienced and successful in the field.