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The Bronx Defenders Our Projects - Bail Reform Initiative

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…

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…

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….

HuffPost Live: NYC To End Cash Bail For Low-Level Offenders

“The law is not the problem. The fact that judges routinely disregard the law and the options provided for under the law is the issue.” — Robyn Mar, Director of Early Advocacy New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to end bail for low-level offenders, allowing them to await trial under home supervision. We…

WNYC: New Bail Alternative Means Freedom for Thousands

Thousands of people accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies will stay out of Rikers Island under a $17.8 million pretrial supervision program, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. The program comes as local officials try to reduce violence at the Rikers Island jails and while they grapple with concerns the criminal justice system discriminates against…

Vice News: NYC to Eliminate Bail for Many Non-Violent Offenders

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce an overhaul of the city’s bail system on Wednesday that is designed to keep low-level offenders out of Rikers Island. The plan, which offers 3,000 offenders supervised release in lieu of bail, will help “reduce both the financial and human costs of needless incarceration,”…

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 Times: Helping Poor Defendants Post Bail in Backlogged Bronx

In October, James Broadus II, then 31, was arrested in Co-op City, the Bronx, and charged with petty larceny and assault. He was accused of taking a book bag from one man and choking another. A judge set bail at $1,000. But Mr. Broadus, who had been working odd jobs, had no savings. His closest…

Bail or Jail: Watch Justine Olderman discuss the need for bail reform

Richard French speaks with the Chief Judge of New York State, Jonathan Lippman and with Justine Olderman of The Bronx Defenders about the current state of the jail and bail system in New York State. Justine Olderman: “We can say, ideally, it is about the presumption of innocence; it’s about the right to trial; it’s…

Justine Olderman responds to NY Post article on Bronx bail data

In an August 9, 2013 New York Post article headlined “Easiest Walk for Bx ‘High Risk’ Defendants,” the Mayor’s office takes a position that is in contravention of state law, ignores the facts about rates of return, and turns a blind eye to the growing movement for bail reform. After analyzing data showing that judges…

The Bronx Defenders Denounced Proposed Bail Bill in New York State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 11, 2013 Contact: Justine Olderman, The Bronx Defenders, (917) 836-4366 The Bronx Defenders Denounced Proposed Bail Bill in New York State The Bronx Defenders called for the New York Legislature to abandon Proposed Bill S. 4483 (Nozzolio) / A. 6799 (Lentol), which does not contain constitutional safeguards or provide adequate guidance in setting…

The Village Voice: Making Bail Better

When Judge Ralph Fabrizio saw William Miranda, free of handcuffs and dressed in street clothes, sitting in his Bronx courtroom, he was surprised. Three days earlier, on February 24, 2009, Miranda had been up before Fabrizio for arraignment on two misdemeanor assault charges. Fabrizio had set a substantial bail, $1,500 for each charge, certainly more…

City Limits: Bail Fund Aims to Free Poor Defendants

The Bronx Defenders, through its affiliate the Bronx Freedom Fund, bailed hundreds of people between 2007 and 2009. According to Robin Steinberg, executive director of The Bronx Defenders, “During the 18 months that the Bronx Freedom Fund operated, 150 clients were bailed out and the return rate of our clients was an impressive 95 percent….

WNYC News: Charities to Play Bail Bondsman Role

Charities will soon be allowed to post bail for the poor and indigent. A new law recently signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo allows charities to be authorized and regulated by the Department of Financial Services, the same state agency that oversees bail bondsman. Only those charged with non-violent misdemeanors with bails set at $2,000 or…

New York Daily News: New version of charitable bond bill headed to Cuomo’s desk could free thousands of poor Bronx defendants

Legislation passed by state lawmakers last week with approval from Gov. Cuomo could free thousands of jailed Bronxites. Sponsored by state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), the new law will allow charitable organizations statewide to post bail – up to $2,000 – for poor defendants held on misdemeanor charges. The Cuomo-vetted bill is an amended version…

The Village Voice: Bail is Busted: How Jail Really Works

Lauren DiGioia’s face was stony and impassive beneath bright blue hair as she was brought into a courtroom in handcuffs on March 18. At 2:30 the previous afternoon, DiGioia, 27, had become the first person arrested by the New York City Police Department during Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary at Zuccotti Park. DiGioia was taken…

The Bronx Defenders Legal Director Marika Meis successfully argues in New York Court of Appeals that courts must set alternatives to cash bail

The New York Court of Appeals today ruled in favor of Bronx Defenders client, Sean McManus, in a decision that will have widespread impact on the state criminal court system, particularly for the indigent. The decision recognizes that the statutory bail scheme in New York was created to provide flexible bail alternatives for those accused of crimes…

Fixing New York’s Broken Bail System

By Justine Olderman, 16 CUNY L. Rev. 9, CUNY Law Review (Winter 2012) New York City jails are currently filled with people who are serving time but haven’t been convicted of anything at all. They are there for one reason. They cannot afford the price of their bail. Bail is the single most important decision made in a…

Crain’s New York Business – Report: City pays big price for minor crimes

New York City could save tens of millions of dollars a year if it did not incarcerate thousands of defendants charged with minor crimes — like hopping a turnstile, smoking marijuana in public or trespassing — before their trials, according to a new report by advocacy group Human Rights Watch. In 2008 alone, the city…

WNYC: Report Finds Bail Set Too High for Minor Offenses

A new report finds that while each year tens of thousands of people arrested for minor offenses are released pending a trial or some other outcome, a substantial number that can’t afford bail and end up in Rikers Island for things like shoplifting, smoking marijuana or getting in fights. The report by Human Rights Watch…

New York Times: N.Y.C. Misdemeanor Defendants Lack Bail Money

Thousands of people arrested on low-level crimes in New York City spend days languishing in jail, not because they have been found guilty but because they are too poor to post bail, according to a report to be released on Friday. The report, which examines the bail conditions for people charged with nonfelonies like smoking…