Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Publications

Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Robin Steinberg, Executive Director, and Marika Meis, Legal Director, attended a conference and contributed to a sweeping report coordinated by the Brennan Center and NACDL regarding racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system. According to NACDL, the report summarizes the “candid, sometimes painful panel discussions, and identifies a panoply of remedies that may advance…

The Champion: Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Our Executive Director Robin Steinberg wrote an article on racial disparities in the criminal justice system that was featured in The Champion. The article draws from discussions at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ conference report, Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. An excerpt…

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…

Kate Rubin in Huffington Post’s The Blog on “Bloomberg’s Rockefeller Legacy’

February 21, 2013 Mayor Bloomberg came out swinging at his final State of the City address last Thursday, recapping his achievements and defending his policy decisions. About the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program he said, “We have a responsibility to conduct them, and as long as I am mayor, we will not shirk from that responsibility.”…

Kumar Rao in Huffington Post’s The Blog: “The War on Drugs: A Shake-down, Not a Fair Shake for the Middle Class”

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election and the fervor around “fiscal cliff” negotiations, issues related to middle class empowerment and fairness are rightfully at the center of our national policy agenda. Decisions related to tax burden allocations and spending priorities are being made that have the potential to affect the middle class for a…

Mary Anne Mendenhall and Emma S. Ketteringham in Huffington Post’s The Blog “Some Pro-Pot Parents Blog, Others Lose Their Children”

Recently, The New York Times published an op-ed by an art dealer and father from San Francisco, titled “Pot for Parents.” It was just the latest of a growing number of pieces published recently espousing the benefits of marijuana use for parents. These pro-pot missives share a carefree and cavalier tone, portraying marijuana use as…

Holly Beck co-authors article in the New York Law Journal

Chris Gottlieb, co-director of the NYU School of Law Family Defense Clinic, and Holly Beck, staff attorney with The Bronx Defenders, write that when a court conducts a hearing in the absence of a defending party, an attorney who appears for that party may face a dilemma: whether to participate in the hearing, and thereby…

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…

The Four Pillars of Holistic Defense

While recognizing that Holistic Defense is practiced along a spectrum, the following core principles, or pillars, underlie and form the foundation of any successful Holistic Defense practice: 1. Seamless access to services that meet clients’ legal and social support needs; 2. Dynamic, interdisciplinary communication; 3. Advocates with an interdisciplinary skill set; 4. A robust understanding…

Know Your Rights: Police Encounters & Misconduct

Police Encounters & Misconduct 1. When can police stop me on the street? In theory, the police cannot stop you on the street without reason. A New York State Court of Appeals case (People v. DeBour 40 N.Y. 2d 210) established four levels of street encounters between police and people, and allows a different “Permissible…

Know Your Rights: Voting Rights and Civic Participation

Voting Rights and Civic Participation Civic participation includes all the ways citizens participate in the democratic process. It includes the right to vote, serve on a jury, and run for elected office. Voting Rights In New York State, as long as you are a U.S. citizen 18 or older, you can vote unless you are currently in…

Know Your Rights: Parental Rights

Parental Rights 1. Can I lose my parental rights if I am convicted of a crime? Only very serious criminal convictions against a child – like murder and manslaughter – require the state to sue to terminate your parental rights. 2. Can I lose my parental rights if I am sentenced to prison or a residential treatment…

Know Your Rights: Records of Arrest and Prosecution

Records of Arrest and Prosecution If you have been convicted, or even arrested, for a crime, there is a record of it, often in many places at once. The court where you were sentenced maintains records of your criminal case, and those are public information available to credit reporting agencies. A record of your arrests…

Know Your Rights: Government Benefits and Education Loans

Government Benefits and Education Loans If you are a New York State resident you can apply for and receive government benefits like Food Stamps, Medicaid, TANF and cash assistance, no matter how many convictions you may have on your rap sheet. However, arrest and incarceration can temporarily affect your government benefits and your eligibility for…

Know Your Rights: Housing and Arrests or Criminal Convictions

Housing and Reentry A criminal history can affect your eligibility for both public housing and, if a landlord conducts a background check, private housing. An arrest – even before anyone is found guilty – can often trigger eviction of you or your entire household from public or private housing. Federally Subsidized Housing (NYCHA & Section…

Know Your Rights: Employment & Criminal Convictions

Employment & Reentry 1. An employer said it wouldn’t hire me because it doesn’t hire anyone with a criminal record. Is that legal? No. Employers must consider each person as an individual. Refusing to hire all people with criminal records violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, the New York State Corrections…

Know Your Rights: Special Information for Non-Citizens

Non-citizens involved in the criminal justice system confront additional and severe civil consequences. Even if you have lived in the United States for a long time or if you have ties to the U.S. and family here, guilty pleas and convictions can lead to an immediate detention and the initiation of deportation (also called “removal”)…

Know Your Rights: What is Reentry & What are Collateral Consequences?

The term “reentry” is used by many advocates, service providers, policy-makers, and formerly incarcerated people to define what happens to people coming home from prison. More broadly, it describes a process of reintegration, rehabilitation, and restoration of rights that should begin when an individual is arrested. “Collateral consequences,” is a popular label for the legal,…