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Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders In the News

City & State: Bronx Power 50

“Justine Olderman was named executive director of Bronx Defenders in 2018, but she has been with the organization since its earliest days. As managing director of the organization’s criminal defense practice, she more than doubled the size of the department and its caseload. As executive director, Olderman sounded the alarm about COVID-19 on Rikers Island…

Commercial Observer: Can NYC Reopen Its Housing Courts Safely?

“The legal services groups, which include the Legal Aid Society, the Bronx Defenders and the Brooklyn Defender Services, argued in a statement that the state Office of Court Administration’s plan to reopen the courts “forces our clients to choose between their health and safety and their freedom, and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act in…

NBC News: Video of police abuses and the NYPD trampling the Constitution reveal inefficacy of ‘reform’

“Amid a summer of protest sparked by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, much has been said about the importance of “reforming” police departments. But what if those departments cannot be reformed? This week, a video went viral showing the arrest of a young trans woman during a protest. The 18-year-old woman was tackled in broad daylight…

The Appeal: Virtual Hearings Have Created A ‘Caste System’ In America’s Courts

“Particularly problematic is the fact that many courts have closed to all but those hearings determined to be emergencies. The deferment of so many legal proceedings raises its own set of dilemmas, particularly for people who are incarcerated while awaiting a trial. Child welfare cases have proved especially fraught for some parents. Many jurisdictions are…

ABC News: Detained immigrants demand release from New Jersey jail due to heat wave

“Attorneys for immigrants detained at the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack are demanding they be released amid the heat wave and reports of broken air conditioning at the Hackensack facility, and Eyewitness News took an exclusive tour of the jail to check on conditions. The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, and the Bronx Defenders…

Document Journal: A new law seeks to expose the NYPD’s secret surveillance technology

“As surveillance technology evolves, New Yorkers will have to balance surveillance power with personal freedoms. In addition to license plate readers, x-ray vans, and stingrays, the NYPD now has a unit dedicated to operating face recognition systems—but it isn’t just being used in the fight against terrorism. “There’s been an explosion in face recognition in the…

Patch: Reports Of AC Failure At Bergen County Jail As Heat Wave Hits NJ

“The Bergen County Sheriff’s Department reports that temperatures inside the Bergen County jail are currently between 70 and 73 degrees. A group of immigration attorneys say that’s a lie. As temperatures touch the mid-90s, the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project and their legal providers continue to call for the release of their clients held…

Lexology: Public Defenders Sue to Stop In-Court Appearances During COVID

“It is no secret that the COVID crisis poses a risk to criminal defendants, particularly those who are incarcerated or come from at-risk groups.  It is also no secret that the New York’s Office of Court Administration (the “OCA”) has been pushing hard to “return to normalcy,” in part to make sure that cases of…

Law360: Federal Judge Axes Suit Over NY Courts Reopening Plan

“The Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, Legal Aid Society, New York County Defender Services, Neighborhood Service of Harlem and Queens Defenders had argued the courts’ decision was “rushed” and has led to “chaotic” implementation of policies that violate federal civil rights protections including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. While Judge Carter denied…

The Grio: Despite a shield law, NYPD can access millions of sealed arrest records

“NYPD’s “Crime Data Warehouse contained 6,908,699 sealed arrest reports containing the arrest information of 3,576,113 unique individuals, as of November 20, 2019,” the filing states. Jenn Rolnick Borchetta, an attorney from Bronx Defenders, is defending the plaintiffs in the case. Borchetta said the alleged activity was “horrifying,” and that the NYPD was failing to follow…

The Appeal: New York City Public Defenders Oppose Resuming In-Person Court Appearances

“Resuming in-person court appearances won’t accomplish much, New York City public defenders argue. Critical deadlines for criminal cases remain suspended. And while the logistics around virtual court at times can be frustrating, the resumption of non-essential, in-person appearances at this stage does little more than endanger communities, said Ann Mathews, managing director of the criminal…

Broadway World: The Play Company Presents Mini-Commissions by Katie Brook & Trish Harnetiaux, William Burke and More

“PlayCo is also collaborating with community partner Bronx Defenders and the team behind Sarah Einspanier‘s Lunch Bunch (a play inspired by the Bronx Defenders’ own lunch bunches) to create a podcast. Lunch Bunch was initially scheduled to be performed in March & April, in a production presented with Clubbed Thumb and directed by Tara Ahmadinejad, but has been postponed….

Urban CNY: Assemblymember Hunter’s bill to end driver’s license suspensions due to traffic debt passes Assembly

“We applaud Assembly Member Hunter for her leadership and the Assembly for passing the Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act and taking a major step forward to end the cruel and counterproductive criminalization of poverty,” said Ranit Patel, Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Venture Justice Fund at The Bronx Defenders. “Suspending driver’s licenses due…

Law360: NY Courts Urge Federal Judge To Stay Out Of Reopening Plan

“The Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, Legal Aid Society, New York County Defender Services, Neighborhood Service of Harlem, and Queens Defenders say the state courts’ decision was “rushed” and has led to “chaotic” implementation of policies that violate federal civil rights protections including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. While Judge Carter denied…

The Crime Report: U.S. Legal System Accused of Abetting Racism

“Fixing the flaws in the U.S. legal system “will take a lot more than prosecutors,” Wesley Caines, chief of staff at The Bronx Defenders, told a webinar convened to discuss innovative prosecutorial responses to violence Thursday. “Maybe it’s time for a constitutional convention,” he said.” Read the full article here