NEW YORK - The New York Court of Appeals today declined to hear plaintiffs’ direct appeal in Little v. LATFOR, a lawsuit challenging New York’s law ending prison-based gerrymandering. The plaintiffs — who include upstate elected officials and residents who would no longer unjustly benefit from having prisoners in local correctional facilities be counted as residents in their districts — had sought to skip the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division and go directly to the Court of Appeals.
In December, New York Supreme Court Justice Eugene Devine ruled that the law was constitutional. Plaintiffs’ appeal will now proceed to the Appellate Division Third Department.
Attorneys for the 15 voters from around New York State who joined the suit as intervenor-defendants issued the following joint statement:
“Today’s decision leaves in place New York’s law ending prison-based gerrymandering, which advances fairness in redistricting and is in complete agreement with New York’s state constitution. The opponents of this law lost the policy debate in the legislature, and their efforts to reinstate the old unjust practice of prison-based gerrymandering have so far been unsuccessful in the courts. We look forward to defending this vital law at the appellate division.”
The organizations representing the 15 voters in court were the Dēmos, Brennan Center for Justice, the Center for Law & Social Justice, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the Prison Policy Initiative.