This leaflet contains summary information on records of New York trial and appellate courts pertaining to criminal prosecutions (felonies and misdemeanors) and appeals, and on records relating to applications for and grants of clemency by the Governor (pardons, commutations, reprieves). Thus the scope of the information here presented covers the continuum of the State's involvement with a criminal, from arraignment, through trial, conviction (or acquittal or dismissal), sentencing, appeal, and pardon (if any). (The leaflet does not discuss records or files of district attorneys or police agencies, which investigate crimes, apprehend suspects, and prepare cases for prosecution.) Records in the State Archives pertaining to criminal appeals and executive clemency are described in considerable detail. Records held by the trial courts or other repositories are discussed in general terms.
Many of the records described in this leaflet contain information that is restricted by statute; the restrictions are noted in the appropriate location. New York's criminal justice system is large and complex, and this leaflet aims to assist researchers to locate sets of records or individual cases in that labyrinth.