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The Bronx Defenders In the News

Independent Record: Flathead Reservation program helps former inmates reintegrate

A new program on the Flathead Reservation is helping people who are released from tribal jail or the state prison adjust to life after incarceration. There are many “collateral consequences” people deal with upon their release — inability to find a place to live, struggling to get a job and issues getting drivers licenses reinstated,…

The New Yorker: Sonia from the Bronx

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, says that she prefers to be called Sonia from the Bronx. Chances are nobody who meets her ever dreams of calling her anything so informal. When she came back to her native borough last week for an Evening of Conversation at the Bronx Defenders, a nonprofit…

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor Speaks at The Bronx Defenders

On Monday, January 25th, The Bronx Defenders hosted U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor for an evening of conversation at its justice campus in the South Bronx. Local community members, staff members and supporters of The Bronx Defenders were present. The conversation between Robin Steinberg, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders, and Justice Sotomayor…

Gotham Gazette: ‘Dangerousness’ Aspect of Cuomo’s Bail Plan Troubles Reformers

In his recently-released policy agenda for 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a plan to reform the state’s bail system. While it has not been fully fleshed out yet, Cuomo’s proposal dictates that judges would use a scientific assessment tool to determine an individual’s “risk to public safety” while setting bail, a proposal similar to one…

WNYC: Who Should Have Control of Police Footage?

In the recent police shooting death of teenager in Chicago, a court ordered the public release of the dashboard camera video. But why are police in control of this type of footage? Sarah Lustbader, staff attorney at the Bronx Defenders, a public defender office, discusses the circumstances surrounding a court order for the release of…

New York Times: The Real Problem With Police Video

A Chicago police officer shot and killed a teenager named Laquan McDonald in October of last year, but most of us learned about Mr. McDonald only last week, after a judge ordered the release of police video footage of his death. That is also when prosecutors finally brought first-degree murder charges against the officer. Clearly,…

WNYC: Stop and Seize: When the NYPD Takes Your Cash

Last February, Harold Stanley was on his block one evening, in the Morrissania section of the Bronx. He decided to drive to McDonalds, and when he came back, sat in his parked car to eat. “Next thing I know somebody’s tapping on my window, telling me get out the car,” he said. “And I said…

NY Daily News: When cops just take your cash and car

An arcane 134-year-old process few New Yorkers have even heard of means the NYPD can take the possessions — cars, cash, computers — of anyone who gets stopped, even if it’s for jaywalking and even if that person never gets convicted or even charged. And because those so-called civil forfeiture proceedings are civil, New Yorkers…

NY1: Weighing Bronx DA Candidate’s Role in Controversial Rikers Case

Thursday night, NY1 reported that Darcel Clark, the leading candidate for Bronx District Attorney, played a previously undisclosed role in the case of Kalief Browder, the young man who committed suicide earlier this year after he was held at Rikers Island for three years without trial. However, as NY1’s Bobby Cuza reported, just how much…

The Atlantic: How Treatment Courts Can Reduce Crime

Court-mandated substance-abuse treatment programs can keep people out of prison and save tax-payer dollars, so why aren’t they being utilized? When I first met my client, he was sitting on the other side of a metal grate (The client’s name has been withheld because of attorney-client confidentiality). We were in the cells behind the arraignment…

Gothamist: How Will De Blasio’s Bail Reform Actually Work?

After news of Kalief Browder’s suicide, many advocates called on Mayor de Blasio to fix New York’s draconian and unfair bail system. On July 8th, Mayor de Blasio responded by announcing a new bail reform for New York City’s court systems. People charged with certain misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies would have the option of supervised…

New York Times: The Bail Trap

Every year, thousands of innocent people are sent to jail only because they can’t afford to post bail, putting them at risk of losing their jobs, custody of their children — even their lives. Two years later, that may be changing. This summer, the New York City Council took a tentative step toward reform by…

Huffington Post: How The Obama Administration Is Helping Big Bank Felons

So much for that tough talk about holding Wall Street accountable for its crimes. With the blessing of the White House and the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is attempting to sneak through a major policy change that would enable big banks convicted of felonies to continue lending through a federal…

The Jewish Voice: City Council Holds Hearing to Examine the NY Bail System

The Courts & Legal Services Committee and the Fire & Criminal Justice Services Committee recently held a joint hearing, ‘Examining the New York Bail System and the Need for Reform.’ The hearing, chaired by Council Member Rory Lancman and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, looked at how to reform our dysfunctional bail system. “Our bail system…

Bronx Times: Annual block party held by Bronx Defenders

The Bronx Defenders held their 2015 Community Block Party on Wednesday, July 8 at the organization’s headquarters of 360 E. 161st Street. The block party included a barbecue, performances from local musicians, face painting, basketball tournaments, balloon animals, pony rides, carnival games, and other activities. By Steven Goodstein To see photos click here.

City Limits: Skeptical of Bail System—and of Plans to Reform It

In a move heralded as a reform to the city’s criminal justice system, Mayor de Blasio recently unveiled a $17.8 million plan to replace bail with “supervised release” for some defendants accused of misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies. Once the program rolls out next year, officials anticipate that judges will be able to order community supervision…

The Indian Panorama: City Council Holds Bail Hearing

NEW YORK CITY (TIP): The Courts & Legal Services Committee and the Fire & Criminal Justice Services Committee recently held a joint hearing, ‘Examining the New York Bail System and the Need for Reform.’ The hearing, chaired by Council Member Lancman and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, looked at how to reform our dysfunctional bail system….

The Problem with NYC’s Bail Reform

Our Executive Director, Robin Steinberg, published the following piece in The Marshall Project about the city’s proposal to reform the bail system: “Yesterday, the city unveiled a plan to largely eliminate cash bail for New Yorkers charged with low-level or nonviolent crimes. This long overdue step has the potential to reshape pretrial detention in New York City…