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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…

Karen Smolar taught at the July session of the NDCC’s Trial Practice Institute

Karen Smolar, Trial Chief of The Bronx Defenders, taught as a faculty member at the National Criminal Defense College, Trial Practice Institute, in the July 2013 session. This session, which took place in Macon, Georgia, was limited to just 96 participants. Topics covered in the institute included client interviews, jury selection, direct and cross examination,…

MUNCHED, A Disturbingly Hilarious Play – June 27th, 2013

The Bronx Defenders invites you to a very special community event in celebration of National Reunification Month, honoring families who have been involved in the child welfare system. There will be a stage! A piano! And Patricia R. Floyd from Law & Order. We encourage you to attend and bring friends, family and colleagues. We…

Annual Celebration of Families – June 21, 2013

Annual Celebration of Families is an event to celebrate families who have recently reunified or are about to be reunified. Families enjoy a meal together, play games, celebrate their successes, and go home with a framed family portrait. What we thought would be a little party turned out to be an incredibly powerful moment for…

City & State NY – Groups Target Koo and Rivera On Community Safety Act

In advance of an expected City Council vote on the proposed Community Safety Act next week, constituents and community groups will be holding actions in the districts of Council Members Peter Koo and Joel Rivera, calling on them to support the bills to ban racial profiling and establish an Inspector General for the New York…

Announcing the new Bronx Defenders website

The Bronx Defenders is pleased to announce the launch of our new website! We hope you can take the time to explore our site and support the work that we do for and alongside our clients, their families and their communities. Key highlights from this new site include: How We Work – an interactive visual…

Alex Sierck spoke on a webinar panel “Defender Initiatives in Indian Country”

On June 11, 2013, Alex Sierck, Project Director of the Center for Holistic Defense, spoke on a webinar panel entitled “Defender Initiatives in Indian Country.”  The panel discussed how recent legislation has affected tribal courts and the tribal defender community and examined how two tribal defender initiatives are enhancing the provision of justice and improving…

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…

Gotham Schools: Community members carve out a role in school guards’ training

When Lynn Sanchez, a Bronx parent activist, challenged police and education officials to address persistent school climate problems during a public forum on school safety last year, she did not think they would say yes. And yet just months later, Sanchez was sitting with safety agents during one of their training sessions — which, for…

The Take Away: Searching for Justice in the South Bronx

As the executive director of the Bronx Defenders, a public defense and legal services organization, Robin Steinberg has spent her career demanding justice for the residents of the poorest Congressional district in the nation. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark Supreme Court case that requires states to provide attorneys…

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…

South Bronx Residents, Elected Officials Demand End to Stop-and-Frisk Abuses and Discriminatory Policing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 18, 2013 Contact: Joanna Bernstein, The Bronx Defenders, 215-603-3113 or joannab@bronxdefenders.org South Bronx Residents, Elected Officials Demand End to Stop-and-Frisk Abuses and Discriminatory Policing Senator Gustavo Rivera, City Council members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Annabel Palma, and hundreds of community members call for reforms Bronx, NY – At a Bronx town hall…

South Bronx Podcast Series: Hospitalized After a Stop-and-Frisk

David Berrios becomes an activist after a violent encounter with the police lands him in the hospital. Join David at our Bronx Town Hall on April 18th to change the NYPD: on.fb.me/YfcGnO Produced by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein Music: Clips from Tutto Finito Jazz “Sol Nocturno 1”