Appeal Statistics

In deciding whether to pursue an appeal, you should consider the potential reward, the cost, and the probability of success. The Court statistics stated below do not necessarily indicate the probability of success in your appeal, as the statistics are based upon a mix of cases, and no two cases are exactly the same. The probability of success in your appeal cannot be estimated until your appellate attorney knows all of the facts of your case, and the applicable law.  

In 2017, in the Appellate Division, Second Department, some 3,494 civil appeals were “perfected.” Of those, 615 (or 18%) resulted in a “reversal,” i.e., the appeal was successful, and the order or judgment was changed completely in the appellant’s favor. An additional 253 civil appeals (or 7%) were partially successful in 2017, in that one or more parts of the order or judgment was changed in the appellant’s favor. Some 1521 civil appeals (44%) resulted in an “affirmance,” i.e., the appeal was not successful, and the order or judgment that was appealed from was not changed by the Appellate Division in any way. (The Second Department dismissed 376 of the perfected civil appeals in 2017; and it disposed of the remaining 115 in some “other” manner).

Statistically, the success rate for criminal appeals is lower. For example, in 2017, in the Appellate Division, Second Department, some 846 criminal appeals were “perfected.” Of those, 58 appeals (or 7%) resulted in a “reversal,” i.e., the appeal was successful, and the order or judgment was changed completely in the appellant’s favor. An additional 67 criminal appeals (or 8%) were partially successful in 2017, in that one or more parts of the order or judgment was changed in the appellant’s favor (such as a reduction of the sentence, or a dismissal of one or more of the charges, but not all of them). Some 677 criminal appeals (80%) resulted in an “affirmance,” i.e., the appeal was not successful, and the order or judgment that was appealed from was not changed by the Appellate Division in any way. (The Second Department dismissed 11 civil appeals in 2017; and it disposed of the remaining 122 in some “other” manner).

In the First Department, 46% of the civil appeals that were decided in 2013 were successful to some extent, in that the order or judgment was changed completely or partially in the appellant’s favor, while the other 54% were not successful, and there was an affirmance.
Approximately 30% of the criminal appeals decided by the First Department in 2013 resulted in a complete, or at least partial, change in the order or judgment appealed from, which was favorable to the appellant, while the other 70% resulted in affirmances.

In 2017, our State’s highest Court, the Court of Appeals, in Albany, received 2275 defendant’s applications for permission to appeal in criminal cases, of which it granted only 25 (1%). That same year, the prosecution made 65 applications for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeals, of which only 7 were granted (1%). Another 30 criminal appeals were filed “as of right,” based upon one of the grounds listed in CPLR 5601 (e.g., a dissent in the Appellate Division). Of the 62 criminal appeals that were decided in 2017 by the Court of Appeals, 34% were reversed, 1.5% were modified, and 1.5% were dismissed.

Only 80 civil appeals were decided in 2017 by the Court of Appeals. Some 33% were reversed, 10% were modified, 1% were dismissed, and 9% were disposed of in some “other” manner.