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Council Presses de Blasio Administration to Reduce Delays in Criminal Court

When Chidinma Ume, an assistant counsel in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, visited Queens recently, district attorney staff showed her around the courthouse, taking care to point out unused areas. “We gave her a tour of the courthouse, and how many locked doors that we have in courtrooms because we have…

New York Law Journal: We Need Speedy Trial Reform in City’s Criminal Courts

Too often in New York City, the maxim “justice delayed is justice denied” is no mere abstraction, but a reality that wears down defendants, dispirits victims and cheats taxpayers. This is particularly true in the city’s criminal court, where lower-level cases—misdemeanors and petty offenses—are adjudicated and where the gaze of policymakers and the press rarely…

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…

Kate Rubin and Scott Levy testified before City Council on community policing

Bronx Defenders Managing Director of the Civil Action Practice Kate Rubin, together with Fundamental Fairness Project Director Scott Levy, submitted written comments on behalf of The Bronx Defenders to New York City Council’s Committee on Public Safety on March 3, 2015, discussing key issues to consider in community policing. The testimony describes two critical lenses through which…

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…

The Bronx Defenders releases its report “The Hidden Tax: Economic Costs of Marijuana Enforcement in the Bronx and New York City”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 17, 2014 Contact: Scott Levy, The Bronx Defenders, 718-838-7833, ScottL@bronxdefenders.org The Hidden Tax: Economic Costs of Marijuana Enforcement in the Bronx and New York City New York – The Bronx Defenders released The Hidden Tax: Economic Costs of Marijuana Enforcement in New York, a report by The Bronx Defenders Fundamental Fairness…

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…

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…

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…

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…

HuffPost Live: Christian Lassiter talking about the shooting of Kimani Gray

This morning, our very own Christian Lassiter appeared live on HuffPost Live to talk about the Kimani Gray killing by the NYPD in Brooklyn last weekend.  As you can see, Christian did a fabulous job in this very important and critical conversation about the NYPD’s campaign to target young Black and Latino men in low…

DNAinfo: 10 Judges Will Head to Bronx to Target Criminal Case Backlog

BRONX SUPREME COURT — Ten judges from outside the city will be temporarily assigned to The Bronx as part of an unprecedented plan to shrink an “intolerable” backlog of felony cases, the state’s top judge said Tuesday. The move came as the borough’s top criminal judge, Efrain Alvarado, will be replaced by Justice Douglas McKeon,…