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The Bronx Defenders In the News

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…

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…