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The Bronx Defenders Our Projects - Marijuana Arrest Project

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 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…

The Bronx Defenders Announces the Release of “A Marijuana Arrest” on BuzzFeed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 9, 2013 Contact: Molly Kovel, The Bronx Defenders, (718) 508-3421 The Bronx Defenders Announces the Release of “A Marijuana Arrest” on BuzzFeed “A Marijuana Arrest” is a short film collaboration between filmmakers Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks and advocates from The Bronx Defenders. Bronx, NY – The Bronx Defenders announces BuzzFeed’s…

New York Times: A Marijuana Stash That Carried Little Risk

LAST year, the Bronx Defenders, which represents poor people in criminal court, tried to have suppression hearings in 54 cases involving marijuana possession. In such hearings, the police officer would have been required to testify about the circumstances under which the marijuana was found. If it was the result of an illegal search, the judge…

MSNBC: Rethinking the ‘war on drugs’

Monday saw two major legal developments in the so-called “war on drugs.” First, a judge in New York City ruled that the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy violated the Constitution in targeting a disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics. Then, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the end of mandatory federal prison sentences for low-level, non-violent drug…

Federal Suit Claims Police Manufacture Misdemeanors

Today, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, LLC and The Bronx Defenders filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court on behalf of five Bronx residents, charging the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) with targeting Black and Latino communities for marijuana arrests and “manufacturing” misdemeanor crimes against residents in order to meet departmental quotas. All…

No Day in Court – a New Report by The Bronx Defenders

The report, No Day in Court, finds that manufactured marijuana arrests, prosecutorial delay, and an overwhelmed court system all conspire against justice in the Bronx. New York – Today, The Bronx Defenders released a report that shows that people who are unconstitutionally arrested for marijuana possession every year are consistently denied meaningful access to justice in…

New York Times: Waiting and Waiting…for Justice

LATE in the summer of 2011, police officers in New York City arrested a full-time college student named Luis in the lobby of his apartment building in the Bronx and charged him with two misdemeanor offenses, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. Luis, though, wasn’t guilty of either — a fact supported by a video…

New York Times: In Misdemeanor Cases, Long Waits for Elusive Trials

Francisco Zapata keeps a copy of the Constitution on his cellphone. So when the police stopped, frisked and charged him with misdemeanor marijuana possession, he wanted what that cellphone document promised. “I was under the assumption,” he said, “that if I kept going back to court, eventually I would get my day in court.” But…

The Guardian: New York mayor and NYPD back marijuana decriminalisation proposal

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly have backed legislation proposed by governor Andrew Cuomo that would reduce the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana in public view from a crime to a misdemeanor. Cuomo’s proposal is an attempt to reduce the number of people exposed to a criminal charge…

The New York Times: Examining Marijuana Arrests

The New York State Legislature showed good sense when it exempted people convicted of low-level marijuana possession from having to submit DNA to the state database, unless they have been convicted of a previous crime. Still, the state must do more to curb the arrests of tens of thousands of people each year in New…

The Guardian: New York police officers defy order to cut marijuana arrests

Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders. Nearly half of New Yorkers picked up for small amounts of marijuana possession in recent months were not displaying the drug before they were stopped, the study…

AlterNet: Hypocritical NYPD Continues Racist Pot Arrest Crusade

Despite a well-publicized police order instructing officers not to use bogus pretexts to justify marijuana arrests, New York City remains the pot-bust capital of the United States. Preliminary figures released in late November indicated a slight decline in arrests for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in the two months since Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told police…

WNYC: Alleged Illegal Searches By NYPD Rarely Challenged in Marijuana Cases

[This is the second part of a two-part series. Read the first part here.] Illegal searches are more common than people realize, but few end up getting challenged in court, law enforcement officials and defense attorneys say. Checks and balances within the criminal justice system are intended to ferret out improper arrests, but many defendants and…

WNYC: Alleged Illegal Searches by NYPD May Be Increasing Marijuana Arrests

Police arrest 140 people every day in New York City for possessing small amounts of marijuana. It’s now by far the most common misdemeanor charge in the city, and thousands of these arrests take place when police stop-and-frisk young men in the poorest neighborhoods. While police say these stop-and-frisks are a way to find guns,…