In addition to prosecuting cases in New York State Supreme Court and the New York City Criminal Court, the Office of the District Attorney has responsibility for litigating in the higher courts of the state and in the federal judicial system. In 2006, the Appeals Bureau won 97% of the 193 appeals by defendants to overturn felony convictions in the Appellate Division and lost only five cases.
For the tenth consecutive year, in 2006 there were fewer than ten successful appeals by defendants. In appeals decided in New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, convictions were affirmed in all eleven cases (including two appeals brought by the District Attorney). It was also the eleventh consecutive year that the People won all or a majority of the appeals they brought. In 2006, the People won four out of five such cases.
The Office continues to modernize legal research. The on-line and CD-ROM research services are upgraded to keep pace with the latest software developments.
Decisions from the Appellate Division, First Department are now expedited to the Office via the internet. Furthermore, most assistant district attorneys use the Internet as a research tool, particularly because many court opinions, including decisions from the New York Court of Appeals, are available on-line. These enhancements have expanded the range of research resources available to the entire Office and improved its productivity.
Since 2000, the Chief of the General Crimes Division has compiled memos on cases and issues of interest to the Office in a "Trial Assistance Notebook." These memos are grouped into such topical areas as Pre-Trial, Trial, Suppression and Evidence. The materials in the Notebook now form the basis of a searchable database called "Trial Assistance." Trial Assistance is a comprehensive program of legal resource material. It consists of an extensive collection of memoranda, and is supplemented with material from specific cases, statutes and websites that provide additional information. This in-house criminal law research tool is available to approximately 350 users. The program permits the user to search the entire collection of material for specific topics of interest. For example, the program has the capability to list cases decided by specific judges. The material contained in the program is continuously updated which makes it possible for prosecutors to access up-to-the-minute resources easily. Access to this information is expected to make prosecutors better prepared and more confident in litigating cases.