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The Bronx Defenders In the News

ABC News: NYC Council Members: Suicide Points to Need for Bail Reform

The death of a 22-year-old man who hanged himself after spending three years as a teen jailed without trial should spur New Yorkers to push for bail reform, City Council members said at a hearing Wednesday. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Kalief Browder’s death “has been a wake-up call for many in our city…

Slate: The Problem with Bail

Former Bronx Defenders Trial Chief David Feige writes in Slate about the problem with the bail system and one simple way to fix it: On Sunday, John Oliver devoted the majority of his HBO show to America’s broken bail system. “Bail” is the cash or property equivalent demanded of arrestees as surety—an assurance that they…

New York Magazine: How All New Yorkers Killed Kalief Browder

In his short eulogy of Kalief Browder, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote that the teenager’s death — he hanged himself with an air-conditioner cord in his home in the Bronx, after three years of torment by the legal system — “must necessarily be laid at the feet of the citizens of New York, because it…

City Limits: Correction Dept. Slows Bid to Restrict Rikers Visits

A move to restrict visiting rights on Rikers Island—billed by the Department of Correction as a necessary step to control violence—that faced opposition from legal rights groups went nowhere Tuesday at a meeting of jail regulators. The Board of Correction decided to hold off on the proposal pending further study. The Board is considering whether…

Newsday: NYC may set up taxpayer-paid bail fund for low-level offenses

City Council leaders want to create a $1.4 million, first-of-its-kind city-financed bail fund to spare indigent defendants charged with low-level crimes from unfair and costly stretches of confinement at Rikers Island before their day in court. But criminal justice experts are divided on how effective a reform that would be, while one of the city’s…

City Limits: State Senator: Citywide Bail Fund Would Help, Not Hinder, Courts

A recent Daily News editorial titled “City Council: Do not pass go on bad-idea bail fund” erroneously asserted that the city-wide bail fund being considered by the City Council was unnecessary, a waste of taxpayer dollars, and would undermine the authority of judges. With all due respect to The Daily News, I could not disagree…

Al Jazeera America: New York City police rethink ‘Broken Windows’ strategy

“The type of offenses that I see everyday in the courthouse in the South Bronx are not the type of offenses that are being policed in rich, affluent, white neighborhoods.” – Justine Olderman Bronx Defenders Managing Director of the Criminal Defense Practice Justine Olderman appeared on Al Jazeera America last night to discuss the negative…

City Limits: Four Nonprofits to Receive Residual Class-Action Settlement Funds

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, and The Bronx Defenders, all leading civil rights advocacy groups and law firms, announced that the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has approved their request to equally distribute nearly $165,000 in remaining class-action settlement funds…

City Limits: The Rap-Sheet Trap: Mistaken Arrest Records Haunt Millions

Melissa wasn’t aiming terribly high: She wanted to be a substitute teacher in New York City’s school system, a job that would combine her passion for education with a decent paycheck. Yet her modest goal had to go on hold thanks to the inability of an upstate court to verify that her almost 20-year-old shoplifting…

Capital New York: Officials: Expand legal program for immigrants

Members of the state Assembly and advocates want to expand a public defender program for immigrant New Yorkers who are facing deportation. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) aims to decrease the rate of deportations of New Yorkers who, for the most part, have been living lawful, productive lives despite their unresolved legal…

New York Law Journal: City Broadens Its Evaluation of Indigent Criminal Defense

New York City officials are testing a number of methods to assess the quality of indigent criminal defense, which, they say, is part of a broader attempt to make for a fairer criminal justice system. Though the city now tracks conviction rates, incarceration rates, case duration, charge reduction and disposition at arraignments, officials in Mayor…

The Indypendent: The Poor Man’s Lawyer: Inequality in the Courtroom

As the judge read out the sentence, Jose Santiago and the public defense attorney he’d just met that day listened in an almost empty courtroom. It was 2009, and Santiago spent the next year and a half in prison. Santiago was arrested one month after his 16th birthday for running past a pedestrian and snatching…

The Marshall Project: ‘The Garb of Innocence’

When jury selection began this week in the trial of James Holmes — the man accused of killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater — he looked different than he had in prior court hearings. He traded his jail garb for khakis and a sport coat. Instead of wearing shackles and chains, he was…

BronxNet: Today’s Verdict

“We know that young white men, for example, smoke marijuana at rates at least on par or at higher rates than young black or Latino men, and yet 87% of the people arrested for marijuana possession in New York City are black and Latino, and in the Bronx that number is 95%.” The Bronx Defenders’…

WBAI’s On the Count: Immigration and Detention Post-Obama Executive Order

The Bronx Defenders Immigration Attorney Conor Gleason joined Abraham Paolos of Families for Freedom to discuss the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) and the impact on families of deportations post-Executive Action Orders on WBAI’s “On the Count” with guest host Khalil Cumberbatch last Saturday, January 10, 2015. Listen to the segment here:

HuffPost Live: Report Highlights Marijuana Enforcement’s Costs

Bronx Defenders Fundamental Fairness Project Director Scott Levy appeared on HuffPost Live, hosted by Josh Zepps, earlier today together with Alberto Willmore, a New York teacher who lost his position after a marijuana arrest, to discuss the costs of marijuana arrests in New York City and The Bronx Defenders’ new report “The Hidden Tax: Economic Costs…