Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders In the News

Harvard Law Review: The Effects of Holistic Defense on Criminal Justice Outcomes

This Article offers the first large-scale, rigorous evaluation of the impact of holistic defense on criminal justice outcomes. In the Bronx, New York City, a holistic defense provider (The Bronx Defenders) and a traditional defender (the Legal Aid Society) operate side-by-side within the same court system, with case assignment determined quasi-randomly based on court shift…

News 12: Lawyer calls for reform ahead of potential marijuana legalization

“There needs to be automatic expungement of criminal records because the racial disparity will continue to haunt people.” Eli Northrup, our Associate Special Counsel to Criminal Defense, talks about how it’s imperative to be intentional about equity for minorities as marijuana legalization becomes likely in 2019. Simply making it legal to possess and smoke marijuana…

New York Times: A Woman’s Rights: Part 5 “The Mothers Society Condemns”

Our Emma Ketteringham and Erin Cloud spoke to The New York Times on how pregnant women with a history of drug use are mistreated, abused and criminalized for larger structural issues. “According to National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an advocacy and legal group, in just about every state, expectant mothers with a history or suspicion…

Giants: A Bronx Tale: Giants tackle criminal justice reform

The New York Giants visited The Bronx Defenders’ office to discuss everything from mass incarceration to what sports’ role is in working toward justice. “We are well aware that there is a strong history of social activism in sports, but I will say as public defenders, this is the first time that we have seen…

Audible: New Family Values

Our Mary Anne Mendenhall and her client Tina have a conversation on Audible’s “New Family Values” podcast. Hear them in Chapter 7: Protecting the Child, here.       

DocumentedNY: Court Use of Video Teleconferencing Causes Case Slowdown

It has been five months since Immigration and Customs Enforcement has transported any immigrants to appear in person at the Varick Street immigration courts. This is taking a toll on our clients, their ability to fight their cases, and their right to due process. Our Sarah Deri Oshiro explains how some immigrants appear before a…

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Public Defenders Are Part of the Solution

“While indigent defense is chronically underfunded, hard-working public defenders stand shoulder to shoulder with their clients every day in the fight for justice. Rather than see defender as contributing to a system of racism and oppression, we should look to defenders as a critical part of the new future Mr. Mill calls on us to…

The Appeal: New York Just Changed the Way it Prosecutes Kids, But Some Got Left Behind

“If the District Attorney’s office believes every gun possession case is ‘extraordinary,’ they misunderstand the nature of Raise the Age. A blanket position that every firearm possession amounts to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ would be an attempt to get around the intent of Raise the Age and to continue using the adult criminal justice system against children.”…

The Chronicle of Social Change: New York City Council Confronts Child Welfare Agency Over Emergency Parent-Child Separations

Between Oct 2016-May 2018, ACS reported a 30% increase in “emergency removals,” removing a child before the case has appeared before a judge. Our Managing Director of the Family Defense Practice Emma Ketteringham testified before the New York City Council on the impact of this alarming trend. “Parent advocates like Coles and Emma Ketteringham of the legal…

WNYC: Lawsuit: Immigration Detainees Wait Average 80 Days for Court Date

“Due process requires that the government give you a hearing within a few days of seizing your car,” says Niji Jain, Impact Litigation attorney at The Bronx Defenders. “And if that’s what’s required for when your car is seized, then due process certainly requires at least the same promptness when a person is themselves locked…

Documented NY: Immigrants Held in Detention for Months Without a Hearing: Lawsuit

Immigrants who are detained by ICE in New York are forced to languish behind bars for weeks and months, waiting for their first appearance before a judge. The Bronx Defenders, Cardozo School of Law, and New York Civil Liberties Union – NYCLU have filed a lawsuit against ICE and the Department of Justice challenging these egregious delays in…

RAND Study on Holistic Defense in the News

A new study released today by RAND and the University of Pennsylvania Law School finds that The Bronx Defenders’ unique model of holistic defense significantly reduces incarceration rates, sentence length, and pre-trial detention, saving taxpayer dollars, without harming public safety. In total, the study estimates that The Bronx Defenders has saved its clients 1.1 million…

City and State: Out on parole, and turning out to vote

“I believe voting is a right. I recognize that there’s a perpetual punishment system that exists. And for me, voting is fundamental to attacking that and addressing that and dismantling that.” Our Wesley Caines, Re-Entry and Community Outreach Coordinator, on voting while out on parole. Read more here 

City Limits: Low Pay for Public Defenders and Prosecutors Seen as Threat to Justice

“Pay disparity in public defense disproportionately affects aspiring defenders from the communities that we serve…As we are all aware, low-income Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people are overwhelmingly overrepresented in the court systems as defendants, and incredibly underrepresented as defenders. ” Our Shannon Cumberbatch, Director of Hiring and Diversity, testified before the New York City Council on…

NPR: County Officials Shutting ICE Out Of Local Jails

“Families and lawyers and their community are here. And the separation from those resources is critical to enabling detainees to actually win their cases and remain permanently in the United States or obtain release on bond,” says Ryan Brewer, our Supervising Attorney for Immigration. Read the entire transcript here  

The Appeal: Facing Lawsuit, NYPD Changes How Officers Use Sealed Arrest Data

  Our lawsuit against the NYPD states that the department is routinely accessing the sealed records of thousands of people and targeting people of color with low-level charges. Under New York’s sealing statutes, arrest records on file with the NYPD that do not result in criminal convictions must be sealed and not disclosed to anyone….

Gothamist: NY Officials Are On A Marijuana Legalization Listening Tour

This Monday, the first of five public forums was held to inform new legislation being drafted by Governor Cuomo’s marijuana legalization work group. The goal is to introduce a bill for state lawmakers to consider in the upcoming legislative session. Our Criminal Defense Practice Attorney Eli Northrup attended that forum. “Law enforcement needs to be prevented from using…

NY Daily News: Legal group pushes back against NYPD’s claim it can use info from sealed cases in other investigations

The Bronx Defenders strongly oppose the NYPD’s claim that they have the right to use information from sealed cases to conduct investigations. Keeping files on individuals with sealed cases has serious ramifications for millions. Our deputy director of impact litigation, Jenn Rolnick Borchetta, says “Half of all NYPD arrests do not result in criminal convictions, yet…