Appeals & Opinions Division

The Division of Appeals and Opinions operates under the direction of the Solicitor General, who, by statute, is appointed by the Attorney General. The Division is responsible for preparing and arguing civil and criminal appeals in both state and federal courts. The Division determines which cases are to be appealed and determines which legal arguments will be advanced on behalf of the State of New York. The Division also provides advice and counsel to the Attorney General and to Attorneys throughout the Office.

Criminal Appeals & Habeas Corpus

The Criminal Appeals Unit and the Federal Habeas Corpus Section in the Division of Appeals & Opinions are headed by the Deputy Solicitor General for Criminal Matters.

The Criminal Appeals Unit handles all appeals for the Office's Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, Organized Crime Task Force, and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Criminal Appeals attorneys appear before the State's appellate courts. Attorneys also provide research and support services to trial/investigative attorneys throughout the Criminal Justice Division and the Organized Crime Task Force on a wide range of criminal law issues.

The Federal Habeas Corpus Section handles federal petitions for habeas corpus and subsequent appeals filed by inmates in state corrections facilities. These petitions raise constitutional challenges to criminal convictions obtained not only by the Attorney General but also by District Attorneys throughout the State. The Section handles all proceedings in both the federal district courts, where evidentiary hearings are sometimes required, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


The Division also provides formal opinions to Executive Branch departments and agencies, public authorities, the Office of Court Administration and the State's public university system; renders informal advisory opinions to municipal attorneys to assist local governments; and issues opinions on proposed state constitutional amendments to the Legislature.