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Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders In the News

Law360: New York’s About-Face On Bail Reform Wins Few Fans

“The deal that passed the Senate on Thursday night and the Assembly on Friday morning makes crimes like second-degree burglary, promoting child pornography, vehicular manslaughter and several others bail-eligible once again. In a statement Friday, a coalition of New York City public defender groups that includes the Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn…

Slate: Cuomo’s Bail Reform Reversal Risks Explosive Coronavirus Spread in Jails

“The governor’s proposal also permits pretrial detention for a much wider range of offenses and allows judges to make guesses about the future “dangerousness” of a defendant (the likelihood that they will commit a new violent crime) based on the “weight of the evidence,” which flouts the presumption of innocence before a case goes to…

Law360: ICE Blocked From Enforcing NY Detention Policy

“Law360, New York (March 30, 2020, 9:52 PM EDT) — A New York federal judge on Monday blocked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in New York from carrying out what immigrant advocates claim is a blanket no-release policy for certain detainees accused of civil immigration offenses. During an afternoon teleconference, U.S. District Judge Alvin…

Buzzfeed: An ICE Detainee Who Was Released After Getting The Coronavirus Fears What’s Next: “This Has Hit My Whole Body”

“For weeks, immigrant advocates have pushed ICE to release certain immigrants with underlying medical issues from the facilities and to scale back arrests, saying detention facilities were ripe for mass infections and casualties. There are currently more than 38,000 immigrants in ICE custody within private and local jails. So far, the agency has not changed…

Quartz: Why ICE’s coronavirus response is so dangerous

“These recent events make me think of people like Ousman Darboe, a longtime Bronx, New York resident, husband, and father, currently jailed at Bergen County Jail, whom ICE has kept locked up in civil immigration confinement since 2017. ICE claims he’s a public safety risk, even after governor Andrew Cuomo granted a pardon of his sole criminal conviction,…

LexBlog: NYC Public Defenders Issue Statement Condemning ICE Inaction on Coronavirus Threat at Detention Centers

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, and The Bronx Defenders – New York City’s defender organizations providing free legal in representation to detained immigrants through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) – today released the following statement in response to news of the first ICE detainee testing positive for…

The Appeal: ‘Is My Life Not As Valuable As Yours?’ Immigration Judges Want All Courts Shut Down As Coronavirus Cases Soar

“The Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies are intersecting with a highly contagious disease at a time when New York State leads the nation with at least 20,875 confirmed coronavirus cases. In New York on Friday, Attorney General Letitia James joined Bitta Mostofi, New York City’s commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, in calling for a shutdown of…

Gay City News: Advocates Demand Help for Vulnerable Prisoners, Homeless Folks

“There is also attention on the plight of individuals in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which was already tied to poor living conditions before the coronavirus outbreak. The Bronx Defenders and the Legal Aid Society on March 23 filed for a temporary restraining order intended to bring about the release of ICE clients who…

Patch: Stuck In Jail During A Pandemic: Coronavirus Hits NJ Prisons

“According to the groups – The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services and The Bronx Defenders – the inmates are rallying against “egregious conditions” and inaction by ICE to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Among reports of egregious conditions, we have heard that ICE is not responding to medical sick calls and that there are…

Vice: 2 Coronavirus Cases Confirmed in New Jersey Prison with ICE Detainees

“The news comes amid reports of a growing number of COVID-19 cases inside correctional facilities in the New York City area. At least 38 people on Rikers Island — both inmates and employees — have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. ICE detainees at the Hudson County jail and two other…

The New York Times: ‘A Storm Is Coming’: Fears of an Inmate Epidemic as the Virus Spreads in the Jails

“Public defenders and advocates for inmates have called for sending home all inmates with pre-existing medical conditions, those over 50 and anyone jailed for a parole violation. “It is a ticking time bomb,” said Justine Olderman, executive director of the Bronx Defenders. “We’re looking for bold action and leadership.” On Saturday, the Board of Correction,…

Vice: Immigrants Are Now on Hunger Strike in 3 ICE Detention Centers Over Coronavirus Fears

“Attorneys who represent detainees at the Hudson and Essex County facilities say inmates are reporting threats and intimidation by guards when they’re heard discussing conditions on the phone. Because detention centers across the country have already canceled in-person visits from family and attorneys as a precautionary measure, this means detainees are increasingly isolated and in…

Business Insider: A Rikers Island inmate contracted coronavirus. Experts say jails are at high risk for an outbreak.

Inmates there and around New York City have lodged complaints that the jails lack “basic sanitation measures,” according to the Legal Aid Society. “There are broken sinks, there’s no hand sanitizer, people don’t have access to soap,” Justine Olderman, executive director of Bronx Defenders, told The Intercept. “And at a time we’re all being asked to…

The Appeal: ICE Detainees Launch Hunger Strike Over Coronavirus Fears

The organizers are attempting to spread the strike through the whole facility, including to workers at the jail. “We are asking our fellow brothers in ICE [custody] to join us. We are also asking the kitchen workers that work in the main kitchen downstairs to not go to work,” the strikers said. “There is power…