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The Bronx Defenders In the News

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…

New York Law Journal: Panel Addresses Problems With Overwhelmed Summons Courts

In response to the New York City Police Department’s change in approach to low-level marijuana possession offenses, defense attorneys who have worked in the Summons Courts warned that the system is already strained enough. During a New York City Council hearing on Monday, attorneys in several legal service organizations discussed multiple flaws in the summons…

NPR: Should A Criminal Record Come With Collateral Consequences?

Maurice Alexander was 61 when he was convicted on a misdemeanor charge. He only served ten days in jail, but six years later it would cost him a chance at affordable housing and leave him homeless for nearly seven months. Federal, state, and local laws impose a convoluted network of barriers on anyone with a…

New York Post: Mayor pushes mail-in policy for marijuana fines

Mayor de Blasio wants to include ethnic and ­racial data on the NYPD’s new marijuana summonses — and allow people to pay fines by mail. The convenience would be similar to a system already in place for drivers who can get rid of parking tickets with a check and a stamp. “That’s a choice that…

Brooklyn Independent Media: Pot Arrest Policy

“The much larger issue is racial disparity in arrests: Citywide 86% of the people being arrested [for marijuana possession] are black and latino.” – Scott Levy, The Bronx Defenders   The Bronx Defenders Fundamental Fairness Project Director Scott Levy, together with Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance and Shapriece Townsend of Vocal NY discuss…

The Bronx Defenders’ Scott Levy on Hot 97’s Street Soldiers with Lisa Evers Discussing the NYPD’s New Marijuana Policy

Scott Levy, Project Director of The Fundamental Fairness Project at The Bronx Defenders, took part in a dynamic conversation surrounding the NYPD’s new marijuana policy on “Hot 97 Street Soldiers with Lisa Evers.” The radio program brought together drug policy experts, legal experts, law enforcement officials, and individuals with previous criminal justice involvement to discuss and debate…

NY1 Noticias: La Policía de Bill de Blasio y las minorías de Nueva York

La posesión de pequeñas cantidades de marihuana ya no desembocará en arresto, sino en multa o citación judicial. El concejal de Brooklyn y Queens Antonio Reynoso, Priscilla González, de Comunidades Unidas por una Reforma Policial y Walter Rodríguez, de Bronx Defenders, analizan las políticas policiales del alcalde Bill de Blasio y las relaciones entre la…

NBC 4 New York: I-Team Exclusive: Cops in Ticket Fixing Scandal Still on the Beat

In an I-Team exclusive report on NBC 4 New York investigating NYPD officers involved in a ticket-fixing scandal where they were caught asking for illegal favors, Bronx Defenders Managing Director of the Criminal Defense Practice Justine Olderman and Criminal Defense Attorney Phil Hamilton talk about the unfair lack of transparency when police officers conduct is…

Truthout: Film the Police!

In August people filled the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, following black teenager Michael Brown’s death by police shooting in the city. Hundreds of protestors in New York and across the country gathered to show solidarity with protesters in St. Louis and to demand justice for Brown. There is no footage of Brown’s murder, and many…