The Appellate Division is New York State's intermediate level appellate court. It hears appeals from trial courts and has power to review both law and facts in civil and criminal cases. Appeals from the Appellate Division are taken to the Court of Appeals, the State's highest court. The bulk of all appellate review in New York State is provided by the Appellate Division.
The Appellate Division, Third Department, which is located in Albany, is one of four Appellate Division Departments. Each Department exercises appellate jurisdiction in a separate geographic region. There are 28 counties in the three judicial districts making up the Third Department, which stretches from the Canadian border in the north to the lower Catskills in the south and from the Vermont and Massachusetts borders in the east to the Finger Lakes in the west. The Third Department includes just over half of New York's land area and contains about one seventh of the State's population.
The Appellate Division hears appeals directly from the Supreme Court, County Courts, Family Courts, Surrogate's Courts and the Court of Claims. The Appellate Division, and especially the Third Department because of its location in the State's capital, also hears appeals from decisions by State agencies.
The Supreme Court, of which the Appellate Division is a part, is the State's principal trial court with a branch in each of New York's 62 counties. The Justices of the Supreme Court are elected to 14-year terms by the voters of their respective judicial districts; there are 13 such districts in New York State. The Justices of the Appellate Division are appointed by the Governor from among the Justices of the Supreme Court. The Governor also designates the Presiding Justice in each Department. All Supreme Court Justices have a mandatory retirement age of 70. Retired Justices may be certified for additional service on the Supreme Court or the Appellate Division for two-year periods. No Justice may serve past the age of 76.