Appealing a Criminal / Quasi-Criminal Court Conviction for Pro Se (Unrepresented) Litigants
(sec. 200.33 Uniform Rules, sec. 460.10 and 460.70(1) CPL)
If you believe that a City Court decision/disposition in your criminal matter was legally incorrect, you may ask to have that determination reviewed by a judge of the County Court. You should read the following in its entirety before proceeding with an appeal. However, before deciding to appeal the decision, there are certain matters which you should understand and consider before proceeding on an appeal.
Taking an appeal will involve additional expense including, but not limited to, a filing fee of $30.00 with the City Court at the time you file your Notice of Appeal. Other expenses may include the cost of preparing the transcript of the trial or hearing and, if you choose the cost of hiring an attorney to represent you on the appeal.
You may be entitled to proceed as a poor person and have the costs of the filing fee waived or have the transcripts paid for by the county and/or for assignment of an attorney for the appeal:
To waive the fees for the above, you will need to file a poor person application with the County Court. You may obtain a poor person application by requesting a copy from the court clerk or by downloading from the court’s website located at https://www.nycourts.gov/legacyPDFs/courts/6jd/forms/SRForms/ifp_order.pdf If poor person relief is granted by the County Court, you will need to supply the City Court with the Order from the County Court. You should file your Notice of Appeal (see #1 below) within thirty (30) days of your conviction before making application to the County Court. This will protect your right to continue with the appeal should your application for poor person status be denied.
Note: If you are represented by an attorney at the time of the conviction, your attorney should, if so instructed, file the Notice of Appeal on your behalf. Be sure to advise your attorney at the time of the conviction that you wish to appeal so that the Notice of Appeal may be filed within the proper time limits. If you have assigned counsel at the time of conviction, your assigned counsel will need to make an application to the County Court for permission to continue as assigned counsel on the appeal.
The defendant to a criminal or quasi-criminal (i.e. traffic infraction / code case) case may appeal to have his/her conviction reviewed by a judge of the County Court.
1. Within thirty (30) days from the date of conviction, file two copies (original and copy) of a written Notice of Appeal with the City Court that heard and decided the case. The Notice should contain the caption of the case, the docket number associated with that case, and a statement that you (as the "appellant") appeal the conviction. You must also include your address in the Notice of Appeal.
You must also mail/deliver a copy of the Notice of Appeal to the prosecuting attorney (this would be either the Corporation Counsels Office OR the Chemung County District Attorney’s Office depending on the case) and file a notarized Affidavit of Service with the Court showing how, when and to whom the Notice of Appeal was served.
2. If there was a Court Reporter at trial: If a Court Reporter was present in the Courtroom for the trial, you must contact that reporter and request a transcript of the trial. You must advise the Court Reporter that there is an appeal pending of the City Court decision and the reporter is then required to provide you with an estimate of the cost of two (2) copies of the transcripts. If you wish to obtain a copy of the transcript for your records, you must make those arrangements directly with the reporter.
The cost of the preparation of a transcript (both the court's original and any copy for your record) is solely your responsibility so you must request an estimate of the cost of the transcript before ordering the transcript (Note: this is only an estimate, and the actual cost may be less or more than the estimate). The reporter may require an advance deposit before starting the transcript and will require payment of the balance before releasing the transcript. (Note: If you have been granted poor person status by the County Court, you must file the Order of the County Court with the City Court to avoid the cost of the transcript.)
3. If there was no Court Reporter at the trial: If there was no court reporter at the trial, the trial will have been recorded electronically. If this is the case, then you will need to make a written request to the City Court for the transcript to be prepared. Your written request must contain the date(s) of the trial/plea/sentence/other proceedings that you wish to have transcribed and the transcription service that you wish to use to prepare the transcript. To obtain a listing of the court-certified transcriptionists, you may request a copy from the court clerk or find on the court’s website at https://www.nycourts.gov/LegacyPDFS/howdoi/vendor-list.pdf. After you have selected a transcriptionist, the Court will then send the audio directly to them.
It is your responsibility to pay for the cost of the two (2) transcripts: one (1) which will be filed with the Court and one (1) for yourself. You should be aware that the Court will not provide you with a copy of the transcript(s). You must request a cost estimate of the transcript(s) before ordering the transcript(s). (Note: this is only an estimate, and the actual cost may be less or more than the estimate). The transcription service may require an advance deposit before starting the transcript and will require payment of the balance before releasing the transcript. (Note: If you have been granted poor person status by the County Court, you must file the Order of the County Court with the City Court to avoid the cost of the transcript.)
4. After the City Court has received the original transcript(s), you will need to “settle the minutes” and will receive a letter from the City Court in this regard.
5. Once the minutes are settled, the City Court will file a "Return" (that is, the City Court file including the transcript) with the County Court. The City Court will notify the appellant that the "Return" has been filed with the County Court.
6. At this point, the matter is now to be considered by the County Court. If you wish to
file additional documentation with the County Court, you should contact the County Court Clerk's office on the procedure for submitting additional documents. Copies of any documents that you provide to the Court should always be provided to the prosecuting attorney.
7. If, after you have started an appeal, you change your mind and wish to discontinue or withdraw the appeal, you must notify the City Court and County Court, in writing, of the discontinuance. You should also notify the prosecuting attorney that you will not be proceeding with the appeal. Of course, you will also be responsible for any costs associated with the appeal including any portion of the transcript that has already been prepared.
8. After the appeal has been decided by the County Court, a copy of that Decision will be mailed to you at the most recent address on file with the County Court.
NOTE: You may visit the Law Library located in your county for legal references on the filing of an appeal. Court personnel cannot provide legal advice.