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The Bronx Defenders In the News

News 12 Bronx: The Bronx Defenders opens a new location in Melrose

THE BRONX – A non-profit organization in The Bronx that has been helping the community for 15 years opened a new location today. The Bronx Defenders helps more than 30,000 residents with legal cases and social work per year. In order to keep up with their clientele, the organization opened the new space on the…

New York Law Journal: ‘Justice Campus’ Opens in the Bronx

The Bronx Defenders yesterday opened its new ‘Justice Campus’ at 360 E. 161st St., with Executive Director Robin Steinberg and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. cutting the ribbon. The new offices, which were made from the renovation of two empty storefronts near the Hall of Justice, will allow the Bronx Defenders to better serve its…

Reuters: Bronx man cannot be retried after mistrial

A Bronx man cannot be retried for selling drugs after his first case ended in a mistrial because the judge failed to consider less severe alternatives, a state appeals court ruled Thursday. The Appellate Division, First Department, found that double jeopardy precluded a second prosecution against Jamal Morris, who sought a writ prohibiting the Bronx…

DNAinfo: 10 Judges Will Head to Bronx to Target Criminal Case Backlog

BRONX SUPREME COURT — Ten judges from outside the city will be temporarily assigned to The Bronx as part of an unprecedented plan to shrink an “intolerable” backlog of felony cases, the state’s top judge said Tuesday. The move came as the borough’s top criminal judge, Efrain Alvarado, will be replaced by Justice Douglas McKeon,…

News 12 Bronx: Argument against stop-and-frisk picking up steam

Watch Bronx Defenders Staff Attorney Molly Kovel discuss the recent court ruling. MELROSE – The attorneys who sponsored a lawsuit against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy are supporting their claims today after a federal judge ruled the program must come to an end in certain buildings. The attorneys are representing 13 Bronx residents involved in the…

The Guardian: Federal judge orders NYPD to stop using stop-and-frisk tactic in the Bronx

A federal judge has dealt a significant blow to the New York police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, declaring that officers had “systematically” engaged in unconstitutional activity by searching residents outside thousands of private apartments in the city. Manhattan federal court judge Shira Scheindlin said the NYPD must immediately halt the practice of conducting trespass stops…

The Village Voice: Making Bail Better

When Judge Ralph Fabrizio saw William Miranda, free of handcuffs and dressed in street clothes, sitting in his Bronx courtroom, he was surprised. Three days earlier, on February 24, 2009, Miranda had been up before Fabrizio for arraignment on two misdemeanor assault charges. Fabrizio had set a substantial bail, $1,500 for each charge, certainly more…

The Bronx Ink – Bronx District Attorney Curbs Stop-and-Frisk Abuses

The Bronx District Attorney’s office became the first in the city to openly question the validity of some stop-and-frisk arrests, by requiring police officers to verify each one in person before charges are rendered. In the past, arresting police officers had to fill out a sworn statement and routine paperwork. Now, officers will now also…

New York Times: Video of Police Encounter May Play Lead Role in Lawsuit

The man, Luis Solivan, 19, was later charged with assaulting an officer, but his case was dismissed after a grand jury watched the video, which an acquaintance shot through an apartment window in the Bronx, his lawyers say. Now, that same footage may emerge as crucial evidence in a civil rights lawsuit that Mr. Solivan’s…

City Limits: Bail Fund Aims to Free Poor Defendants

The Bronx Defenders, through its affiliate the Bronx Freedom Fund, bailed hundreds of people between 2007 and 2009. According to Robin Steinberg, executive director of The Bronx Defenders, “During the 18 months that the Bronx Freedom Fund operated, 150 clients were bailed out and the return rate of our clients was an impressive 95 percent….

News 12 Bronx: Criminal justice groups hold first BX town hall

THE BRONX – Several criminal justice groups came together Monday night for their first Bronx town hall meeting at Hostos Community College. Organizers, including the Bronx Defenders and the Justice Committee, claim that police have taken advantage of many people during practices such as stop-and-frisk. They say the meeting aimed to teach local residents about…

Reuters Legal: ABA urges criminal defense lawyers to embrace holistic approach

ALBANY, N.Y., Aug 7 (Reuters) – The American Bar Association is calling on criminal defense attorneys to take a holistic approach to representing clients in order to reduce recidivism. The group’s House of Delegates on Monday approved a resolution that “urges” defense lawyers and defender groups to address clients’ “inter-related” criminal, civil and non-legal problems….

WNYC News: Charities to Play Bail Bondsman Role

Charities will soon be allowed to post bail for the poor and indigent. A new law recently signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo allows charities to be authorized and regulated by the Department of Financial Services, the same state agency that oversees bail bondsman. Only those charged with non-violent misdemeanors with bails set at $2,000 or…

New York Law Journal: Guardian Ordered to Assist Tenant in Termination Hearing

The decision annuls a New York City Housing Authority hearing officer’s refusal to set aside a determination terminating the tenancy of a woman with mental problems, and remands the case for a new hearing. – The tenant was represented by Anna Arkin-Gallagher of the Bronx Defenders. “We are happy the court agreed that NYCHA has…

New York Daily News: New version of charitable bond bill headed to Cuomo’s desk could free thousands of poor Bronx defendants

Legislation passed by state lawmakers last week with approval from Gov. Cuomo could free thousands of jailed Bronxites. Sponsored by state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), the new law will allow charitable organizations statewide to post bail – up to $2,000 – for poor defendants held on misdemeanor charges. The Cuomo-vetted bill is an amended version…

The Guardian: New York mayor and NYPD back marijuana decriminalisation proposal

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly have backed legislation proposed by governor Andrew Cuomo that would reduce the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana in public view from a crime to a misdemeanor. Cuomo’s proposal is an attempt to reduce the number of people exposed to a criminal charge…

The Atlantic: In New York, a 20-Year-Old Policy Suddenly Prompts a Lawsuit

In late March, three civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit against the New York City police department, alleging that a little-known crime-fighting program violated the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers. The program, called Operation Clean Halls, permits police to conduct vertical patrols inside and around private residences, seeking out…

The Village Voice: Bail is Busted: How Jail Really Works

Lauren DiGioia’s face was stony and impassive beneath bright blue hair as she was brought into a courtroom in handcuffs on March 18. At 2:30 the previous afternoon, DiGioia, 27, had become the first person arrested by the New York City Police Department during Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary at Zuccotti Park. DiGioia was taken…

The New York Times: Stop and Frisk, Continued

On our ‘Clean Halls’ class action lawsuit with co-counsel NYCLU and LatinoJustice PRLDEF – The Bloomberg administration and its police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, have been disturbingly dismissive of complaints about the city’s program of stops, frisks and arrests that is ensnaring hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year. Civil rights lawsuits may now force…

The New York Times: Examining Marijuana Arrests

The New York State Legislature showed good sense when it exempted people convicted of low-level marijuana possession from having to submit DNA to the state database, unless they have been convicted of a previous crime. Still, the state must do more to curb the arrests of tens of thousands of people each year in New…