Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Our Projects

WNYC: NYPD Conducts Suspicionless Stops in Private Buildings: Suit

A federal class action was filed against New York City and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Wednesday for what plaintiffs allege are suspicionless stops within private residential buildings. Under the NYPD’s enforcement of a program known as Operation Clean Halls, a landlord enters into an agreement with the NYPD, which grants officers permission to patrol…

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…

Reuters: U.S. judge limits stop and frisk searches in New York’s Bronx

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the New York Police Department to immediately stop conducting trespass stops outside certain residential buildings in the borough of the Bronx without “reasonable suspicion” that an individual is engaged in criminal activity. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin issued her ruling in the narrowest of three main lawsuits challenging New…

Amsterdam News: Hands Off: Black community responds to U.S. District Court ruling of NYPD’s “Clean Halls” as unconstitutional

Could this be the first step to eliminating “stop and frisk?” On Tuesday morning, a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge ruled that the New York Police Department’s “Clean Halls Program” violated the constitutional rights of New York City residents. According to Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, for years the NYPD…

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…

The Center for Holistic Defense Announces Technical Assistance Winners

Bronx, New York—May 16, 2011—The Center for Holistic Defense (“The Center”), a project of The Bronx Defenders, in collaboration with The Center for Court Innovation, is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of The Holistic Defense for Public Defender Offices Technical Assistance Project. 2011 Participants of The Holistic Defense Technical Assistance Project Harris County Courts—Texas…

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,…

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…

The new Center for Holistic Defense

The Bronx Defenders is thrilled to announce our newest innovative venture—the creation and implementation of The Center for Holistic Defense. With funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and in collaboration with The Center for Court Innovation and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the Center will help fill a…

New York Times: Stranger Posts Bail for Chambers’s Friend

When Robert E. Chambers Jr. was arrested on Oct. 22 on charges of selling cocaine out of an Upper East Side apartment, many people saw it as the denouement of a morality tale, the final fall of “the preppy killer” who pleaded guilty to strangling Jennifer Levin during rough sex in Central Park two decades…