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Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders In the News

Law360: Immigration Courts’ Video Evolution Stirs Due Process Fears

“While recent statistics might seem to suggest that VTC has helped tackle the backlog of immigration cases, there are other factors that have likely contributed to the jump in completed cases, according to Sarah Deri Oshiro, managing director of the immigration practice at the Bronx Defenders, which was a plaintiff in the lawsuit over the…

New York Magazine: There Wil Be No Turning Back on Facial Recognition – It’s not perfect yet, but it’s already changing the world

“If Larry Griffin II’s story typifies a best-case use of facial recognition for law enforcement, Kaitlin Jackson, a public defense attorney with the Bronx Defenders, tells me one that exposes its drawbacks. Jackson represented a man who’d been arrested for the theft of socks from a T.J. Maxx store in February 2018, supposedly after brandishing a…

The Indypendent: Four New Jails For $10 Billion: Now is the Time For NYC to Invest in Communities Not Cages

“Some former members of the Close Rikers movement such as the Bronx Defenders and VOCAL-NY pulled out because they felt that the plan lacked any real investment in new community-based services such as affordable housing and community-based mental health programs. They also objected to spending money on building institutions that they view as fundamentally harmful.”…

City & State: The 2019 Nonprofit Power 100

“Justine Olderman has worked her way up at The Bronx Defenders since joining as a staff attorney in 2000. She served as managing attorney of the criminal defense practice – where she oversaw an expansion that more than doubled the practice’s caseload – before becoming the public defender nonprofit’s first managing director. Now as executive…

The Riverdale Press: Want to legalize marijuana? It must be fair

“Those neighborhoods have been targeted and have suffered in the war on marijuana,” said Eli Northrup, a policy counsel for Bronx Defenders, a non-profit that provides criminal defense from its base in Melrose. “If and when marijuana becomes legal, we need to repair those communities.” “Even small marijuana convictions can prevent people from getting public…

New York Daily News: Advocates call on Cuomo to keep an eye on prosecutors out to undermine criminal justice reforms

“Alice Fontier, head of criminal defense practice for The Bronx Defenders, said there is concern that law enforcement is seeking to perpetuate high incarceration rates of minorities and maintain the status quo, adding that the tactics being taught to prosecutors are “against the spirit of the law.” “All of these sort of fear-mongering tactics and…

Human Rights Watch: 128 Rights Groups Urge New York Legislature to Implement Pretrial Reforms

“Despite the fact that a majority of New Yorkers and State elected officials support the new pretrial laws, prosecutors continue to engage in a coordinated strategy to subvert the pretrial reforms before they have even gone into effect by spreading fear and misinformation. The new bail, discovery and speedy trial laws were carefully and deliberately crafted over the course…

Amsterdam News: Report: Solitary confinement increased in New York

“The Bronx Defenders want the Board of Corrections to stop waiting to initiate the rule-making process so New Yorkers can weigh in because it’s a crisis. “Hundreds of people are held in solitary confinement in our city’s jails every year,” read the Bronx Defenders’ statement. “The torturous conditions devastate the people we serve and the…

News12: New law to eliminate cash bail, release prisoners

“A new state law goes into effect in January that will eliminate cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. New York City has identified nearly 900 people who are currently behind bars awaiting trial that can apply to have their bail lifted and be freed.” Watch the full video here

New York Daily News: Three strikes but still not out: Inside the Bronx ‘Opioid Court’ where addicts get extra swings at recovery

“Avery McNeil, the alternatives to incarceration specialist at the Bronx Defenders, a nonprofit legal organization, praised OAR for setting up a pathway that allows people to get addiction treatment without first copping to a crime that could stay on their permanent record regardless of their recovery. “That’s really important for our clients who are facing employment,…

Law360: Closing Rikers May Pave New Path For Mentally Ill Inmates

“New York City’s move to close the notorious prison Rikers Island could be an important step in making sure people suffering from mental illnesses, who make up half of America’s incarcerated population of 2.3 million, aren’t lost in the criminal justice system, according to speakers at an event on the problems of mass incarceration… Roberts…

Filter Magazine: What Harm Reductionists Think About Sesame Street’s Addiction Representation

“Dinah Ortiz, a parent advocate supervisor at The Bronx Defenders and a Filter contributor, is concerned that Sesame Street’s focus on the disease model of addiction, and not drug use more generally—which ranges from from abstinence to chaotic and out of control—could add fuel to the fire of child-parent separations that target parents of color. “Sesame Street…

NY1: Advocates Rally to Repeal 50A Law

The Police Commissioner supports making such records public as long as disciplinary hearings are completed and wrongdoing is confirmed. “But we also know that the police officers who have a history of compliant continue to police these communities. They continue to patrol these streets. But, the public has been deprived from getting any information about…

Inside Higher Ed: Documentary to Showcase Education in Prison

Burns moderated a conversation following the preview among Congressman Bobby L. Rush; Novick; Max Kenner, executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative; DeAnna Hoskins, president of advocacy group JustLeadershipUSA; and Wesley Caines, an alum of the initiative and chief of staff at the Bronx Defenders. The conversation ranged from how the film was made, to…

Into the Gloss: The Bronx Defenders

“Beauty allows us to shape our individual stories and find ways to connect to others all at once. With The Top Shelf we discover personal narratives through beauty routines. In The Beauty Politic, Into The Gloss explores how beauty connects communities, and how it informs a sense of self for the people within them. Beauty can be used…

The Chief Leader: New Issues in Shift Of 17-Year-Old Inmates

“Under Raise the Age, older adolescents in New York City have better access to age-appropriate services and programs designed to promote rehabilitation, positive behavior change and successful re-entry into the community all while preserving the safety and security of youth and staff and protecting public safety,” he said. But some advocates worried that the influx…

Gay City News: Corrections Unveils Task Force on Trans Inmates

“Other members are joining the task force armed with legal experience representing trans clients in city jails. Deborah Lolai, a criminal defense attorney and LGBTQ crime specialist with the Bronx Defenders, a public defender nonprofit, will use her role on the task force to advocate for the rights of incarcerated trans folks to be housed…

NBC: Could New Bail Reform Law Possibly Endanger Witnesses?

“Advocated for the new bail reform law say it is going to make it fairer for defendants not yet convicted by letting them out on bail and informing them of the evidence and witnesses against them. But district attorneys and police say the new law could put victims and witnesses at risk. The I-Team’s Jonathan…

The Appeal Podcast: The War On Drugs Continues In Family Court

“As cannabis use is legalized in more and more jurisdictions across the country, child welfare systems aren’t always keeping pace. Allegations of drug use are still raised in family court, particularly against parents of color, and those who admit using cannabis are often subject to heightened surveillance. We are joined today by Miriam Mack and…

The City: Big Influx of 17-Year-Olds Poses Next ‘Raise The Age’ Test

“Now courts are bracing for a large number of teens, as even more 17-year-olds than 16-year-olds funnel into State Supreme Courts’ new Youth Part for initial hearings on felony charges as well as Family Court, beginning Oct. 1. “My fear is that once they double the number of people… we are going to see even longer arrest-to-arraignment…