Mark Zeno is the assistant attorney in charge at the Center for Appellate Litigation, a nonprofit law firm representing clients in appeals and post-conviction proceedings in Manhattan and the Bronx. He has been with the center since it was founded in 1997.
Zeno has represented clients convicted of offenses from simple trespass to first-degree murder, regularly argues appeals in New York’s Appellate Divisions and the New York State Court of Appeals, and litigates state post-conviction proceedings at every level of New York State court, federal habeas corpus proceedings in the Southern District of New York, and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Zeno’s clients’ recent appearances in the New York Court of Appeals have resulted in important enhancements to the rights afforded criminal defendants, including People v. Santos Suarez, where the court reformulated the elements of depraved indifference murder, resulting in the dismissal of Suarez's murder conviction, and constraining the prosecution of reckless homicide statewide. Another case, People v. Darrell Williams, involved the court striking down the then-common practice of correcting offenders' sentences to include post-release supervision even after they had been released from prison, resulting in both the amelioration of Mr. Williams' sentence and the sentences of hundreds of other offenders across the state. In People v. David Paulin, Zeno’s work resulted in the Court extending eligibility for reduced sentences under the Rockefeller drug law reforms to hundreds of parolees.
Zeno has focused on launching the center’s innovative post-conviction program for immigrants, which focuses on helping non-citizen offenders, many of whom who have lived nearly their entire lives in the United States and face deportation for only minor offenses, avoid removal. He is also a frequent Continuing Legal Education lecturer on New York criminal law, regarding issues including Rockefeller drug law reform, double jeopardy, and the intersection of immigration law and criminal law.