Foreword by Hon. George Bundy Smith - April 1999

The Annual Report of the Clerk of the Court, Stuart Cohen, reveals a Court of Appeals hard at work and eminently successful in fulfilling its responsibility to declare the law of the State of New York. Under the superb leadership of Chief Judge Judith Kaye, the Court strives to remain current in its work and to maintain the quality of decisions that has been its strength for so many years.

The last year has seen the retirement from the Court of Judge Vito Titone, a person who served the Court and the judiciary with distinction for many years. The Court is fortunate to have as his successor a person who has rendered outstanding service to the judiciary for a number of years, Judge Albert Rosenblatt. We salute Judge Titone on his departure and welcome Judge Rosenblatt to the Court.

One cannot read the Annual Report without a sense of the variety of cases that come before the Court. The small sample, included in this report, of the approximately two hundred cases decided during 1998 is reflective of the complex nature of our society and the constant recourse to the courts to settle disputes. It goes without saying that the preeminence of the Court of Appeals is due to the quality of the people who work for the Court and with the Court. The personnel of the Court and their varied activities make the Court function as one of the outstanding institutions of our nation. For the quality of their work and their dedication, the Judges of the Court are truly appreciative.

George Bundy Smith


The Annual Report for 1997 noted that it had been an extraordinary year. Nineteen ninety-eight also did not disappoint in this regard. The Court lost a superb jurist with the retirement of Senior Associate Judge Vito J. Titone, and gained a superb jurist with the appointment of Associate Judge Albert M. Rosenblatt. The first capital appeal under the 1995 death penalty statute was filed in 1998, and the Court subsequently issued its first Initial Capital Appeal Management Order in that case.

I am often approached by members of the Bar and the public, who tell me what a pleasure it is doing business with the Court. I thank the entire Clerk’s staff for maintaining the high level of service to Bench, Bar and public for which the Clerk’s Office is justly known.

This report is divided into four parts. The first offers a statistical and graphic overview of the matters filed with and decided by the Court in 1998. The second describes various functions of the Clerk's Office and summarizes the administrative accomplishments of the year. The third part highlights selected major decisions of 1998. The fourth consists of appendices with detailed statistics and other information.