Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders In the News

The Appeal: New York Just Changed the Way it Prosecutes Kids, But Some Got Left Behind

“If the District Attorney’s office believes every gun possession case is ‘extraordinary,’ they misunderstand the nature of Raise the Age. A blanket position that every firearm possession amounts to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ would be an attempt to get around the intent of Raise the Age and to continue using the adult criminal justice system against children.”…

The Chronicle of Social Change: New York City Council Confronts Child Welfare Agency Over Emergency Parent-Child Separations

Between Oct 2016-May 2018, ACS reported a 30% increase in “emergency removals,” removing a child before the case has appeared before a judge. Our Managing Director of the Family Defense Practice Emma Ketteringham testified before the New York City Council on the impact of this alarming trend. “Parent advocates like Coles and Emma Ketteringham of the legal…

WNYC: Lawsuit: Immigration Detainees Wait Average 80 Days for Court Date

“Due process requires that the government give you a hearing within a few days of seizing your car,” says Niji Jain, Impact Litigation attorney at The Bronx Defenders. “And if that’s what’s required for when your car is seized, then due process certainly requires at least the same promptness when a person is themselves locked…

Documented NY: Immigrants Held in Detention for Months Without a Hearing: Lawsuit

Immigrants who are detained by ICE in New York are forced to languish behind bars for weeks and months, waiting for their first appearance before a judge. The Bronx Defenders, Cardozo School of Law, and New York Civil Liberties Union – NYCLU have filed a lawsuit against ICE and the Department of Justice challenging these egregious delays in…

RAND Study on Holistic Defense in the News

A new study released today by RAND and the University of Pennsylvania Law School finds that The Bronx Defenders’ unique model of holistic defense significantly reduces incarceration rates, sentence length, and pre-trial detention, saving taxpayer dollars, without harming public safety. In total, the study estimates that The Bronx Defenders has saved its clients 1.1 million…

City and State: Out on parole, and turning out to vote

“I believe voting is a right. I recognize that there’s a perpetual punishment system that exists. And for me, voting is fundamental to attacking that and addressing that and dismantling that.” Our Wesley Caines, Re-Entry and Community Outreach Coordinator, on voting while out on parole. Read more here 

City Limits: Low Pay for Public Defenders and Prosecutors Seen as Threat to Justice

“Pay disparity in public defense disproportionately affects aspiring defenders from the communities that we serve…As we are all aware, low-income Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people are overwhelmingly overrepresented in the court systems as defendants, and incredibly underrepresented as defenders. ” Our Shannon Cumberbatch, Director of Hiring and Diversity, testified before the New York City Council on…

NPR: County Officials Shutting ICE Out Of Local Jails

“Families and lawyers and their community are here. And the separation from those resources is critical to enabling detainees to actually win their cases and remain permanently in the United States or obtain release on bond,” says Ryan Brewer, our Supervising Attorney for Immigration. Read the entire transcript here  

Rise Magazine: Uplifting Every Voice

“When you are powerless in a system that is tearing your family apart, you hold on to any little ray of hope. My hope and strength came from my boys and the deep and instinctual knowledge that I, as their mother, could not and would not allow strangers to obliterate the years of nurture and…

Medium: When Protection Hurts

“I frequently recall one child who was asked to draw himself as a superhero. I asked him what his power would be. ‘When I grow up, my superpower is going to be to keep families together,’ he said. ‘So no kid has to go through what I am going through right now.’” As an attorney…

The Appeal: Facing Lawsuit, NYPD Changes How Officers Use Sealed Arrest Data

  Our lawsuit against the NYPD states that the department is routinely accessing the sealed records of thousands of people and targeting people of color with low-level charges. Under New York’s sealing statutes, arrest records on file with the NYPD that do not result in criminal convictions must be sealed and not disclosed to anyone….

Gothamist: NY Officials Are On A Marijuana Legalization Listening Tour

This Monday, the first of five public forums was held to inform new legislation being drafted by Governor Cuomo’s marijuana legalization work group. The goal is to introduce a bill for state lawmakers to consider in the upcoming legislative session. Our Criminal Defense Practice Attorney Eli Northrup attended that forum. “Law enforcement needs to be prevented from using…

NY Daily News: Legal group pushes back against NYPD’s claim it can use info from sealed cases in other investigations

The Bronx Defenders strongly oppose the NYPD’s claim that they have the right to use information from sealed cases to conduct investigations. Keeping files on individuals with sealed cases has serious ramifications for millions. Our deputy director of impact litigation, Jenn Rolnick Borchetta, says “Half of all NYPD arrests do not result in criminal convictions, yet…

The Marshall Project: City of Fear

For many asylum seekers in New York, Trump’s immigration policies take away their futures in the US and force them back into dangerous situations. In this collaboration between New York Magazine and The Marshall Project, undocumented immigrants share their experiences with both tragedy and resilience under this administration. Attorneys from The Bronx Defenders helped contribute…

WBAI: Child Welfare System and Family Separations in the Bronx

In 2017, the Bronx had more than 30% of all child removals in NYC and double the amount of emergency removals — which refers to removing children without court order, the most extreme choice a child protective agency can make — than the next highest borough. “We represent parents who are being charged with being…

Politico: Judge orders NYPD to enact pilot program on low-level stops

Judge orders NYPD to enact pilot program on low-level stops By Brendan Cheney A federal judge overseeing stop-and-frisk-related cases has ordered the New York Police Department to conduct a pilot program to record lower-level encounters that don’t rise to a full police stop. The plaintiffs in the case, community advocates, and a facilitator appointed by…

The New School Center for NYC Affairs: Child Welfare Surge Continues

“[Emergency removals] are the most traumatic for children,” says Emma Ketteringham, Managing Director of our Family Defense Practice. “They’re often done in the middle of the night, without preparation. You find out five minutes before that your child is going to be removed.” Administration for Children’s Services data shows a sharp increase in what are…

NY Daily News: NYPD told to better document more street encounters — the latest chapter from stop and frisk trial that criticized treatment of minorities

A court had ordered NYPD to begin documenting low-level investigative police-citizen encounters as part of a pilot program. We cannot ensure stop and frisk ends without turning a spotlight on NYPD activity that has long been in the darkness. “Very often, officers are responding to instances where things are not so clear,” said Jenn Rolnick…

DocumentedNY: For One Man, Immigration Detention Nearly Meant Death

When Miguel Almonte was finally released from ICE detention and had emergency surgery to remove his gallstones, his doctor told him he was lucky to be alive. “If I would have stayed a little longer there, I don’t know what would have happened.” Miguel Almonte technically never lost his green card, was on disability, and…