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Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Bail

Queens Gazette: Bail Reform In New York, Part II

“Bronx Defenders Chief of Staff Caines said he was working on decarceration for some time before bail reform. He said the early releases, in November and December, were frequent, favoring those who he said shouldn’t have been incarcerated anyway. In January, releases from Rikers made some fear an impending crime wave, but it didn’t happen,…

Gothamist: What The New Rollbacks To Bail Reform Mean In New York

“Someone who commits a felony while on probation or parole can no longer be released automatically. The same goes for someone with at least two prior felony convictions who is arrested for a new felony. Scott Levy, chief policy counsel for Bronx Defenders, said that’s overly punitive. “What this really does is penalize and punish…

WNYC: What the New Rollbacks to Bail Reform Mean in New York

“Just six months ago, New York state eliminated cash bail for almost all offenses except violent felonies. But there was an immediate backlash after the NYPD claimed the crime rate was going up. There were also constant media reports about cases in which people were re-arrested after being released without bail, notably one involving a woman who punched Orthodox Jewish…

The New Yorker: Where Bail Funds Go From Here

“The contemporary bail-fund movement is largely a product of the last decade, and got its start in New York City. In 2007, Robin Steinberg and David Feige, of the Bronx Defenders, a groundbreaking public-defenders’ office, launched the Bronx Freedom Fund, to pay low-level bails for Bronx residents. Two years later, a judge ruled that the fund was…

Patch: Manhattan DA Wants NYC Looting Suspects Held Without Bail: Report

“Public defense organizations such as the Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services and the Bronx Defenders called Vance’s request “outrageous” in a joint statement released Thursday. “Vance’s proposal would increase incarceration at a time when prisons and jails account for eight of the 10 largest COVID-19 outbreaks in the country and when the City’s own correctional…

Trouw: Geen borgsom in New York: vrij spel voor criminelen?

“Maar de New Yorkse media missen een nog veel sensationeler verhaal, zegt advocaat Eli ­Northrup, die regelmatig verdachten bijstaat bij hun eerste voorgeleiding na arrestatie. “Dat is het verhaal van iemand die geen borgtocht krijgt opgelegd die hij niet kan betalen, terug mag gaan naar zijn gezin, zijn baan niet verliest. In plaats van pas…

Law360: New York’s About-Face On Bail Reform Wins Few Fans

“The deal that passed the Senate on Thursday night and the Assembly on Friday morning makes crimes like second-degree burglary, promoting child pornography, vehicular manslaughter and several others bail-eligible once again. In a statement Friday, a coalition of New York City public defender groups that includes the Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn…

NYC Defenders Statement On Legislative Rollback Of Bail And Discovery Reforms

April 3, 2020 Contact: Jared Chausow, Brooklyn Defender Services (JChausow@bds.org) Ryan Karerat, The Bronx Defenders (RKarerat@bronxdefenders.org ) Redmond Haskins, The Legal Aid Society (RHaskins@legal-aid.org) Sam McCann, The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (SMccann@ndsny.org) Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services (LToddmedina@nycds.org)   ***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** NYC DEFENDERS STATEMENT ON LEGISLATIVE ROLLBACK OF BAIL AND DISCOVERY…

Slate: Cuomo’s Bail Reform Reversal Risks Explosive Coronavirus Spread in Jails

“The governor’s proposal also permits pretrial detention for a much wider range of offenses and allows judges to make guesses about the future “dangerousness” of a defendant (the likelihood that they will commit a new violent crime) based on the “weight of the evidence,” which flouts the presumption of innocence before a case goes to…

The Intercept: The Backlash

Justine Olderman, of the Bronx Defenders, agreed. “One of the strongest lessons we’ve learned so far is just the fact of the backlash,” she said. “The drive to detain is so powerful, the drive to detain and punish mostly black and brown people from low-income communities is so strict, that it doesn’t matter how careful…

The Post-Journal: Bail Reform Debate Deepens Among State Democrats

A group of New York criminal defense organizations, including The Bronx Defenders, criticized the proposal and said it assumes that judges and prosecutors can predict a person’s behavior. “This will result in injustice for everyone in New York and will certainly end up exacerbating racially disparate outcomes,” they said in a statement. State Assembly Speaker Carl…

Politico: Bail reformers face public relations hurdle

“We know that people who have open cases are always hesitant to share stories with the press for fear that notoriety or attention to their case will somehow prejudice them in their case,” said Scott Levy, chief policy counsel at the Bronx Defenders. “And now those fears are heightened because we see that people who…

Politico: Year begins with crime spike in NYC amid statewide bail debate

Eli Northrup of the Bronx Defenders, one of a small group of advocates who held signs supporting bail reform outside the mayor’s press conference, called it “kind of ridiculous” to argue “that a month of cherry-picked [stats] justifies a rollback of this needed reform.” “The mayor for some reason and the police commissioner seem hell-bent…

NYU News: Arguments Against New York’s Cash Bail Reforms Are Dated

“But bail has little effect on the likelihood of defendants returning to court. After the Bronx Defenders bailed out 150 people, 95% of their clients attended every court appearance, and almost 50% of the cases were dismissed entirely. The high return rate fundamentally undermines the supposed purpose of bail — incentivizing defendants to show up to their…

New York Times: Jail or Bail? There’s a New Option

In New York City, supervised release is an alternative to jail and bail. “It reinforces this notion that people charged with violent offenses are somehow less deserving of the presumption of innocence than others.” Scott Levy, our special counsel, on how excluding certain statutes in supervised release hinder reform. Read more here.

Joint Statement Against Mayor de Blasio’s Comments on Bail and Parole

  ***Joint Statement*** New York, NY – Today, a broad cross-section of criminal justice advocates and legal service providers issued the following joint statement condemning comments made by Mayor de Blasio on bail and parole reform during a media availability with the NYPD on Thursday, January 3rd. The letter states:  We are appalled by New…

Open Letter to Governor Cuomo: Principles for Bail Overhaul in 2019

In any given day, 16,000 New Yorkers are held in on bail because they cannot afford the price of their freedom. We are proud to stand with a coalition of 136 advocate groups calling for meaningful, comprehensive, and true bail reform. We must no longer accept a bail system that creates and reinforces wealth- and…

Scott Levy Presented Testimony at City Council Oversight Hearing

Scott Levy, Special counsel of the Criminal Defense Practice, presented testimony at City Council Oversight Hearing: Why Does the City Make It So Hard to Post Bail? Written Comments of The Bronx Defenders  New York City Council Committee on Criminal Justice & Committee on Justice System Oversight Hearing: Why Does the City Make It So Hard to…