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The Bronx Defenders In the News

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…

New York Times: N.Y.C. Misdemeanor Defendants Lack Bail Money

Thousands of people arrested on low-level crimes in New York City spend days languishing in jail, not because they have been found guilty but because they are too poor to post bail, according to a report to be released on Friday. The report, which examines the bail conditions for people charged with nonfelonies like smoking…

NYU Law School Magazine: Another Bronx Tale

Robin Steinberg passionately believes that effective legal defense for the poor includes a good dose of social work. Never say something is impossible to achieve around Robin Steinberg ’82; it will only motivate her to prove you wrong. The 51-yearold founder of the Bronx Defenders, a unique non-profit public defense group in the Bronx, always…

New York Times: Stranger Posts Bail for Chambers’s Friend

When Robert E. Chambers Jr. was arrested on Oct. 22 on charges of selling cocaine out of an Upper East Side apartment, many people saw it as the denouement of a morality tale, the final fall of “the preppy killer” who pleaded guilty to strangling Jennifer Levin during rough sex in Central Park two decades…