The Appellate Division may not dismiss pending criminal appeals filed by defendants if their absence from New York and unavailability to “obey” the court’s directive are caused by their deportation from the United States, the state’s highest court ruled Tuesday.

The New York Court of Appeals ordered separate panels of the Appellate Division, 2nd Department, to consider the merits of the appeals of two deported defendants, Carlos Ventura and Damian Gardner, on the ground that both were denied the “absolute right to seek appellate review of their convictions” by dismissal of their pending cases.