Scope and Content Note

Minute books are the record of proceedings in the regular terms of the Supreme Court of Judicature in New York City (or in other locations during the Revolutionary War). The engrossed minute books are final versions in fine handwriting. Rough minute books are usually less complete but may contain unique information. Until 1797, the minute books contain entries relating to both civil litigation and criminal prosecutions throughout the colony and state. In civil cases there are numerous orders (rules) concerning appearance in court, pleading by the opposing parties, determination of judgment award, final judgment, and execution of judgment. The minutes also contain a few determinations of cases transferred from lower courts by writs of error and certiorari. In criminal cases at which a Supreme Court justice presided, there are minutes of jury trials in New York City and County, as well as returns of jury verdicts and sentencing minutes for trials in circuit courts held in other counties.

The Supreme Court minutes during the early years of state government contain many entries relating to the indictment and conviction of Loyalists. After 1797, the minute books contain mostly entries or lists of legal issues, motions, and appealed cases considered and decided by the court. There are also numerous entries relating to the partition of real property and the appraisal of lands taken for street openings in New York City. The minute books for 1795-1805 contain a few orders for naturalization of aliens. During all time periods the minute books contain rules relating to court procedure, and the admission of attorneys to practice in the court.