Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders In the News

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…

The Marshall Project: City of Fear

For many asylum seekers in New York, Trump’s immigration policies take away their futures in the US and force them back into dangerous situations. In this collaboration between New York Magazine and The Marshall Project, undocumented immigrants share their experiences with both tragedy and resilience under this administration. Attorneys from The Bronx Defenders helped contribute…

WBAI: Child Welfare System and Family Separations in the Bronx

In 2017, the Bronx had more than 30% of all child removals in NYC and double the amount of emergency removals — which refers to removing children without court order, the most extreme choice a child protective agency can make — than the next highest borough. “We represent parents who are being charged with being…

Politico: Judge orders NYPD to enact pilot program on low-level stops

Judge orders NYPD to enact pilot program on low-level stops By Brendan Cheney A federal judge overseeing stop-and-frisk-related cases has ordered the New York Police Department to conduct a pilot program to record lower-level encounters that don’t rise to a full police stop. The plaintiffs in the case, community advocates, and a facilitator appointed by…

The New School Center for NYC Affairs: Child Welfare Surge Continues

“[Emergency removals] are the most traumatic for children,” says Emma Ketteringham, Managing Director of our Family Defense Practice. “They’re often done in the middle of the night, without preparation. You find out five minutes before that your child is going to be removed.” Administration for Children’s Services data shows a sharp increase in what are…

NY Daily News: NYPD told to better document more street encounters — the latest chapter from stop and frisk trial that criticized treatment of minorities

A court had ordered NYPD to begin documenting low-level investigative police-citizen encounters as part of a pilot program. We cannot ensure stop and frisk ends without turning a spotlight on NYPD activity that has long been in the darkness. “Very often, officers are responding to instances where things are not so clear,” said Jenn Rolnick…

DocumentedNY: For One Man, Immigration Detention Nearly Meant Death

When Miguel Almonte was finally released from ICE detention and had emergency surgery to remove his gallstones, his doctor told him he was lucky to be alive. “If I would have stayed a little longer there, I don’t know what would have happened.” Miguel Almonte technically never lost his green card, was on disability, and…

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Presentation: Beyond Incarceration: The Policing of Black Women and Children Through the Child Welfare System?

Erin Cloud, the supervising attorney for our Family Defense Practice, shares her talk from the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit about how the womb to fostercare pipeline separates babies from their mothers. The womb to fostercare pipeline makes it more likely for low-income, women of color to lose their children at childbirth due to prior involvement…

NAPD: An Interview with Justine Olderman

The Bronx Defenders recently joined the National Association for Public Defense. Our Executive Director, Justine Olderman, speaks with the NAPD on The Bronx Defenders’ holistic defense model, passionate staff, and working closely with the Bronx community. “One of the pillars of our model of holistic defense is ‘a deep connection to and understanding of the…

Socialist Worker: Families Separated Away from the Border

Dinah Ortiz-Adames is the Senior Parent Advocate at The Bronx Defenders, an activist and advocate, and a mother who has been through the separation from her children due to child welfare authorities. In an interview with Socialist Worker, she emphasizes how her past is now passion for her clients who are going through the same…

BxD’s Luis Mancheno speaks with CBS News

“Immigration detention, or caging parents and families is not the solution. The question for Americans is, is it fair to make people fleeing terrible violence choose between death and jail?” Our immigration attorney Luis Mancheno sits down with CBS News to speak about the crisis at the border and why family detention and family separation…

The New York Times: New Yorkers Facing Deportation Lose Their (Physical) Day in Court

“The fact that someone is not physically in the courtroom really hinders a lot of the less tangible aspects of our successful representation. A judge is less able to assess a person’s credibility if they are not sitting in the room.” Sarah Deri Oshiro, Managing Director of our Immigration Practice illustrates the harmful repercussions of ICE’s refusal…

HuffPost: Addiction Should Not Be Punishable By Deportation

“Samuel is the father of four US-born children whose favorite place for family outings was Applebee’s. He was also a green card-holder who was facing deportation. He had come to the United States in his teens fleeing from gang violence and a life marked by severe neglect, parental abandonment, and chronic community violence. After a…

The Appeal: Locked Up for Three Decades Without a Trial

Jenny Semmel, Supervising Mental Health Attorney in our Criminal Defense Practice speaks with The Appeal about how people with mental illness can spend years trapped in the justice system because they have been found “unfit for trial” and must undergo a competency evaluation to be deemed “competent” for trial. New York’s Article 730 directly links the amount…

Gothamist: NYPD Will Stop Arresting SOME People For Smoking Pot

“It’s not really clear what they’re trying to accomplish with this policy—either marijuana should be something that brings people through the criminal process, or it shouldn’t be.” Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new marijuana arrest policy will issue a criminal court summonses—$100 for a first offense—to those caught smoking marijuana, rather than making a misdemeanor arrest….