Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders In the News

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…

Epoch Times: Brooklyn Charity Fund Seeks to Help People Too Poor to Afford Bail

NEW YORK—Public defender Josh Saunders has seen over and over again how his clients go to jail and suffer major life-altering consequences, when just $500 for bail would have prevented it. Because they could not afford to post bail, clients who hold jobs as fast-food workers, security guards, and home health aides have gotten fired…

Columbia Daily Spectator: Treatment over punishment

When I describe the need for treatment instead of punishment for the mentally ill and substance dependent, I split into two Loxleys. One inhabits the real world and lists reasons why he belongs in treatment facilities as opposed to correctional ones; another is trapped in a time-warp, re-experiencing the days and weeks he went missing,…

Law 360: 2nd Circ. Denies Union Intervention In Stop-And-Frisk Suits

Law360, New York (November 03, 2014, 2:56 PM ET) — The Second Circuit on Friday affirmed a district court decision denying a bid by New York City police unions to intervene in two class actions challenging the city’s stop-and-frisk policy, saying the motions were untimely and that the unions’ interests were too remote to warrant…

Thurston Talk: Thurston County Wins Grant from Center for Holistic Defense

The county’s Director of the Office of Assigned Counsel and a handful of staff members traveled to New York City last week thanks to a technical assistance grant from the Center for Holistic Defense. Thurston County’s Office of Assigned Counsel is one of only four teams in the nation to win a 2014-2015 technical assistance…

The Epoch Times: Help, Not Incarceration

NEW YORK—Anthony Cruz is a different man now that he has been locked up several times. Before serving his 10-year sentence in New York state prisons for manslaughter in the first degree he was diagnosed with adjustment disorder and depression, among other mental health conditions. Cruz spent a total of three years in solitary confinement,…

Le Nouvel Observateur: Dans L’enfer de Rikers Island

“Several were younger than me, I can’t imagine myself in their places. These youths are completely dehumanized, they are called ‘bing monsters.’ It’s terrible to see that it is considered normal to brutalize youths this young.” – Skylar Albertson, Assistant to the Director, The Bronx Defenders “We have paid bail for 140 people, who were…

Vice: How can we stop cops from beating and killing?

The multitude of black men killed by police led Maryam Monalisa Gharavi to call these last months “the Summer of Death” in her New Inquiry essay “The Killing Class.” In New York, police strangled grandfather Eric Garner. In Ohio, police gunned down John Crawford III in a Walmart while he was checking out an air…

NY City Lens: South Bronx Defender

The Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense Attorney Porsha Shaf’on Venable was featured in a piece by NY City Lens, a news website produced by students at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, talking about her passion for being a public defender and serving the Bronx community: Public defender Shaf’on Venable wants to make a difference in her…

The New Yorker: Getting Teen-agers out of Solitary at Rikers

In this week’s New Yorker, I wrote about a sixteen-year-old boy from the Bronx named Kalief Browder, who was accused of robbery and confined on Rikers Island. He stayed there for three years, waiting for a trial that never happened. For the majority of that time, he was in solitary confinement, locked in a cell…

Los Angeles Times: Op-Ed: Cruel and usual punishment in jails and prisons

The 8th Amendment bans cruel and unusual punishment. Yet it happens every day in prisons across the country. Putting aside capital punishment, which I would argue is cruel and unusual on its face, Americans are ignoring a host of horrific conditions that inmates are subjected to. This is not only morally and constitutionally dangerous; it…