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The Bronx Defenders In the News

New York Law Journal: Class Action Seeks to Halt NYPD’s ‘Clean Halls’ Program

A number of New York City residents have filed a federal class action lawsuit challenging “Operation Clean Halls,” a program permitting the police, with the consent of landlords, to patrol thousands of private apartment buildings and stop people accused of trespassing and other illegal activity. “NYPD officers routinely detain residents of Clean Halls buildings and…

The Guardian: New York police officers defy order to cut marijuana arrests

Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders. Nearly half of New Yorkers picked up for small amounts of marijuana possession in recent months were not displaying the drug before they were stopped, the study…

The Village Voice: NYPD Clean Halls Program Faces Legal Challenge

Later this morning, civil liberties advocates will announce a new challenge to the controversial NYPD program of patrolling the hallways of thousands of privately-owned buildings. Private owners enroll in the program, known as Operation Clean Halls, which has swelled in Manhattan alone to at least 3,895 buildings. The program envisioned as a way for police…

NY1: Lawsuit Claims NYPD “Clean Halls” Program Violates Civil Rights

Civil rights advocacy groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the New York City Police Department over a controversial program that allows officers to patrol private apartment buildings. The suit, submitted by the New York Civil Liberties Union, Latino Justice Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, as well as lawyers with the Bronx Defenders, allege…

WNYC: NYPD Conducts Suspicionless Stops in Private Buildings: Suit

A federal class action was filed against New York City and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Wednesday for what plaintiffs allege are suspicionless stops within private residential buildings. Under the NYPD’s enforcement of a program known as Operation Clean Halls, a landlord enters into an agreement with the NYPD, which grants officers permission to patrol…

Reuters: U.S. judge limits stop and frisk searches in New York’s Bronx

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the New York Police Department to immediately stop conducting trespass stops outside certain residential buildings in the borough of the Bronx without “reasonable suspicion” that an individual is engaged in criminal activity. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin issued her ruling in the narrowest of three main lawsuits challenging New…

Amsterdam News: Hands Off: Black community responds to U.S. District Court ruling of NYPD’s “Clean Halls” as unconstitutional

Could this be the first step to eliminating “stop and frisk?” On Tuesday morning, a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge ruled that the New York Police Department’s “Clean Halls Program” violated the constitutional rights of New York City residents. According to Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, for years the NYPD…

AlterNet: Hypocritical NYPD Continues Racist Pot Arrest Crusade

Despite a well-publicized police order instructing officers not to use bogus pretexts to justify marijuana arrests, New York City remains the pot-bust capital of the United States. Preliminary figures released in late November indicated a slight decline in arrests for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in the two months since Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told police…

New York Times: Letter in response to “The Jury’s Duty When the Law Is Unfair”

To the Editor: What is hidden behind the heated philosophical debate that jury nullification generates are the real people and communities affected by prosecutorial and police policies. Paul Butler properly notes the disgraceful number of marijuana possession prosecutions in New York City. But what we need to be equally aware of is that drug prosecutions…

WNYC: Alleged Illegal Searches By NYPD Rarely Challenged in Marijuana Cases

[This is the second part of a two-part series. Read the first part here.] Illegal searches are more common than people realize, but few end up getting challenged in court, law enforcement officials and defense attorneys say. Checks and balances within the criminal justice system are intended to ferret out improper arrests, but many defendants and…

WNYC: Alleged Illegal Searches by NYPD May Be Increasing Marijuana Arrests

Police arrest 140 people every day in New York City for possessing small amounts of marijuana. It’s now by far the most common misdemeanor charge in the city, and thousands of these arrests take place when police stop-and-frisk young men in the poorest neighborhoods. While police say these stop-and-frisks are a way to find guns,…

New York Times: Looking at the Whole Defendant

Even before she graduated from Stanford Law School in 2010, Michelle Parris knew she wanted to help people with psychiatric disabilities and take a holistic approach to defense law. She designed a project with that in mind and received a two-year Equal Justice Works fellowship and an assignment at the Bronx Defenders. Still in the…

The Crime Report: Can the ‘Holistic Approach’ Solve The Crisis in Public Defense?

The Bronx Defenders’ method of Holistic Defense is explained in the article “Can the ‘Holistic Approach’ Solve The Crisis in Public Defense?” on thecrimereport.org. Can the ‘Holistic Approach’ Solve The Crisis in Public Defense?  “Making changes in a resource-strained small county [Washoe County, Nevada] of 400,000 people seemed , however, all but impossible—until Bosler heard…

Journeys towards Justice: Let’s make this a movement: Holistic Advocacy”

The Center for Holistic Defense, a project of The Bronx Defenders, is mentioned in the blog “Justice for all”. In the post “Let’s make this a movement: Holistic Advocacy”, blog writer Akhila Kolisetty draws from The Bronx Defenders’  new model of public defense—Holistic Defense. The blog describes the “importance and necessity of holistic advocacy, and…

Crain’s New York Business – Report: City pays big price for minor crimes

New York City could save tens of millions of dollars a year if it did not incarcerate thousands of defendants charged with minor crimes — like hopping a turnstile, smoking marijuana in public or trespassing — before their trials, according to a new report by advocacy group Human Rights Watch. In 2008 alone, the city…

WNYC: Report Finds Bail Set Too High for Minor Offenses

A new report finds that while each year tens of thousands of people arrested for minor offenses are released pending a trial or some other outcome, a substantial number that can’t afford bail and end up in Rikers Island for things like shoplifting, smoking marijuana or getting in fights. The report by Human Rights Watch…