Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders In the News

New York Times: Final Push to Legalize Pot Fails in New York

“Activists opposed passage of the alternative marijuana bills on Wednesday, calling them half-measures that would not address years of harm to communities of color. A coalition of public defenders including The Legal Aid Society and the Bronx Defenders said in a statement that the decriminalization plan fell “disastrously short.” Read the full article here

Bronx 12 News: Bronx Defenders lauded for sticking up for LGBTQ rights

“The Bronx Defenders’ LGBTQ Defense Project is a team of advocates who provide specialized representation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the community in legal matters. A man, who identified himself as John, says the project saved his life. He says he escaped from Nigeria and came to the U.S. because he faced…

City Limits: “And Justice For All” Means Barring ICE from NYS Courthouses

“The “Protect Our Courts Act,” sponsored by Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages and Senator Brad Hoylman, is one way New York state can counterbalance these devastating consequences, and we have one day left in NY’s legislative session to help protect our non-citizen community members. Thomas R. Decker, field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) New…

The New York Times: Repeal the New York Loitering Law

“As lawyers at the Bronx Defenders, we see how the loitering law acts as an invitation to the police to abuse and target our clients for simply “walking while female” in certain neighborhoods. We have represented women who were arrested while walking to meet friends at a bar, waiting outside a store or walking home with diapers…

New York Law Journal: NY Policymakers Don’t Hold the NYPD Accountable

“New York policymakers have failed to hold the NYPD accountable for its numerous transgressions, despite the many horrific instances of police misconduct that have made local and national headlines for years. Even in cases where officers have repeatedly engaged in misconduct, and even while district attorneys keep lists of “bad cops” whose credibility is questionable,…

Filter Magazine: NYC Defenders: District Attorneys Breaking Their Promises to End Marijuana Prosecutions

“On June 11, New York City public defenders released data demonstrating that district attorneys are continuing to prosecute “low-level” marijuana offense cases⁠—even though they have publicly declared that they will discontinue doing so. Nearly 1,200 cases were brought in the first five months of 2019, according to their analysis. A group of collaborating organizations⁠—the Legal…

Crain’s New York Business: Spotlight on the Bronx

“We don’t just address the case, we look at the client and address all the drivers of their involvement with the legal system and the devastating consequences of that involvement,” says Justine Olderman, our Executive Director. “No matter the entry point we will be there at every point. These systems are super-intertwined.” See BxD featured here

Gothamist: How A Sealed Arrest Can Get You Arrested In New York

“’There are a lot of cases where people were arrested or faced prosecution, and they were innocent,’ said Jenn Rolnick Borchetta, from the Bronx Defenders. “We need to protect them, and we need to protect our values that people should be presumed innocent, and they shouldn’t face the consequences [of an allegation], unless it’s been…

Filter Magazine: Denial of Methadone Devastates Incarcerated People: What Hope?

“Rosie Russo, MSW, a social worker with the criminal defense practice of the Bronx Defenders, advocates for clients to receive methadone through the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, which provides healthcare at Rikers. But that doesn’t work for some clients, who get transported upstate where there is no treatment. ‘If we have a client who is…

Manhattan Neighborhood Network: Raising The Bar: Justice Reform Part 2

The Bronx Defenders often see our low-income clients forced to plead guilty when they cannot afford to pay cash bail. Karume James, our Criminal Defense attorney, shares the difficult decisions they need to make when our criminal legal system cares more about profits than lives. Watch the full video here

Urban Matters: When Child Welfare Intrusion Makes Reproductive Freedom and Illusion

Our Fallon Speaker, Family Defense attorney, and Erin Cloud co-wrote an op-ed advocating for rethinking prevention and childcare advocacy. “Change must happen now. We can start by rejecting the notion that maternal “risk” can be predicted by poverty or Child Protective Services data. In both the child protective and criminal legal systems, there is a…

Medium: What We Mean When We Say #AbolishBigData2019

“In whatever form it might take, we orient our future work toward the commitment that data must be used to measure systems, not people.” Rebecca Widom, our Chief Data Scientist, presented at the University of California Irvine’s two-day workshop “Datafication and Community Activism: Redrawing the Boundaries of Research” on how the important work of data…

New York Daily News: Public defenders call on city to invest more money in legal representation for immigrants facing deportation

The Bronx Defenders, Legal Aid Society, and Brooklyn Defender Services asked City Council for an increased budget in order to represent immigrants facing deportation at Varick Street. “The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services and Bronx Defenders will ask during a budget hearing for $16.6 million for the next fiscal year–an increase of $6.6 million.”…

The Appeal: What Happens Before Police Press “Record”?

“Even if the police are giving Miranda warnings right after they hit play, it doesn’t mean they haven’t already talked to our clients about the content of the interrogation before that. And that obviously raises questions about whether pre-interrogation conversations with the police undermine the force of the Miranda rights in the first place.” Emily…

New York Daily News: Everyone in immigration detention needs a lawyer: The nation should follow New York’s lead

“NYIFUP demonstrated the importance of publicly-funded deportation defense, raising the level of practice in the court and strengthening both fairness and efficiency. The Vera Institute of Justice evaluated NYIFUP, finding that 48% of immigrants succeeded in their cases, while unrepresented immigrants in the same court were successful only 4% of the time. NYIFUP also produced other benefits…

Investigative Post: A changing tide on license suspensions

The Bronx Defenders is part of a coalition with the Fines and Fees Justice Center and National Center for Law and Economic Justice to advocate for the end of suspensions over unpaid traffic fines. Traffic enforcement is disproportionately concentrated in low-income black and Latino neighborhoods, where residents often have difficulty paying tickets. New York is one of at least…