The New York State Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, has denied an appeal brought by the NAACP and the New York Civil Liberties Union, among others, to release testimony heard by the grand jury that declined to indict Daniel Pantaleo—the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in Staten Island last summer.

A group of civil rights organizations, joined by Public Advocate Letitia James, brought the appeal after a mid-level court ruled to keep the minutes under wraps back in July. For the better part of this year, advocates have argued that the public deserves to know the thought processes behind such a highly-contested decision.

An initial request for access to the records was denied by Staten Island judge William Garnett back in March. And as recently as August, Garnett denied a request for the records put forward by the Civil Complaint Review Board.

"Although this decision is disappointing, we take heart in the progress we have made, such as the establishment of a special prosecutor and the nationwide attention the cause of criminal justice reform has received," said James in a statement.

The Appellate Division rejected the request for the grand jury minutes—documentation that is not typically made public—in a three-sentence written decision without explanation.

Back in March, Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan described the request for transcripts as atypical and unprecedented, arguing that the "disclosure would damage the credibility of prosecutors seeking to assure both grand jurors and witnesses that details of their participation would be kept from public view."

"No one has been held accountable for the death of Eric Garner, and New Yorkers still don’t know why," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU, in a statement.