New York’s Appellate Division — the only branch of the state court system empowered to reduce a criminal sentence on grounds other than illegality — rarely provides insight as to how it decides to modify, or not modify, a defendant’s sentence.

“It’s very, very, very rare that you’ll see [an Appellate Division] court get into a discussion about sentencing,” said one experienced criminal appeals attorney. “Most of the time in the 1st Department, it’s unanimous, they say they’re reducing the sentence, and they don’t say why.”

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