Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Civil Forfeiture

City Council To Force NYPD To Account For The Millions They Seize From Innocent NYers

“There has never been any vehicle for public accountability—the police department has vigorously resisted it. Finally, there will be some measure of accountability.”—Craig Levine, the policy director at The Bronx Defenders. Levine speaks with the Gothamist about the importance of the recent bill passed by the City Council that will require the NYPD to annually…

Judge Raps NYPD for ‘Gotcha’ Tactics in Civil Seizures

“Displeased by the New York City Police Department’s ‘troublesome’ litigation tactics, a state judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit seeking information on what happens to millions of ‘unclaimed’ dollars seized in civil forfeitures.” Courthouse News Service on the latest development in our lawsuit challenging lack of transparency in NYPD property seizures. Read the article here….

NYPD needs to come clean on seized property data

“Whether through litigation or legislation, New Yorkers must have access to full information regarding these practices. It’s time for the NYPD to open its books.” Adam Shoop, attorney in the Civil Action Practice at The Bronx Defenders, writes for amNew York on the need for transparency regarding NYPD property seizure practices. Read his op-ed here. For more…

Police Can Use a Legal Grey Area to Rob Anyone of Their Belongings

“When officers categorize wallets or cellphones as evidence, getting them back can be nearly impossible—even if the owner isn’t charged with a crime…” Great piece in The Atlantic on the NYPD’s use of civil forfeiture and The Bronx Defenders’ legal challenges to this and other property seizure practices by police. Read the article here. To…

When the NYPD Keeps Your Property: Frequently Asked Questions About Civil Forfeiture

The NYPD regularly seizes cash, cellphones, cars, and other property during arrests. Property that is not contraband should be returned to its rightful owner when the case is dismissed or terminated unless the district attorney’s office can establish that the valuables are still needed as evidence for an appeal or another proceeding. In practice, something…

NYPD isn’t releasing info on civil forfeiture, which could bring them ‘tens of millions’ of dollars, suit says

“The NYPD is illegally refusing to disclose information on civil forfeiture, according to a lawsuit to be filed Thursday. The Bronx Defenders plan to file a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit that says the NYPD won’t provide requested information on policies and procedures involving cash and property seized during arrests — which could total “tens of…

Bronx Defenders Lawsuit Challenges Lack of Transparency in NYPD Property Seizures

Contact: media@bronxdefenders.org August 4, 2016, New York – Today, The Bronx Defenders filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York against the New York Police Department, arguing the department has violated New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) by refusing to provide relevant information pertaining to its policies and procedures…

The Bronx Defenders v. NYPD

  Filed on August 4, 2016, this New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) suit asks the Supreme Court of the State of New York to order the NYPD to comply with its legal obligation to disclose information pertaining to its policies and procedures regarding, and accounting for, millions of dollars in cash and…

Bronx DA Agrees to Property Seizure Reforms in Response to Bronx Defenders Lawsuit

Contact: media@bronxdefenders.org July 26, 2016, New York – The City of New York and The Bronx Defenders have requested a six-month stay of the federal class action lawsuit Encarnacion v. City of New York after the Bronx District Attorney’s Office agreed to implement a series of reforms to ensure the NYPD promptly releases personal property…

Encarnacion v. City of New York

Filed on January 8, 2016, this federal class action challenges the NYPD Property Clerk’s policy and practice of retaining personal property seized in connection with an arrest long after the criminal case is over. When someone is arrested, the NYPD routinely seizes the personal property that they are carrying, such as cell phones and cash….

Lawsuit Challenges NYPD’s Policy of Unlawfully Keeping People’s Cash and Property

Contact: media@bronxdefenders.org The Bronx Defenders Seeks Class Cert. in Property Retrieval Suit June 3rd, 2016, New York – The Bronx Defenders filed an amended complaint today in Encarnacion v. City of New York, and will ask a federal judge to grant class certification in their lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s unconstitutional practice of retaining people’s property…

WNYC: Stop and Seize: When the NYPD Takes Your Cash

Last February, Harold Stanley was on his block one evening, in the Morrissania section of the Bronx. He decided to drive to McDonalds, and when he came back, sat in his parked car to eat. “Next thing I know somebody’s tapping on my window, telling me get out the car,” he said. “And I said…

NY Daily News: When cops just take your cash and car

An arcane 134-year-old process few New Yorkers have even heard of means the NYPD can take the possessions — cars, cash, computers — of anyone who gets stopped, even if it’s for jaywalking and even if that person never gets convicted or even charged. And because those so-called civil forfeiture proceedings are civil, New Yorkers…

Runa Rajagopal to present at ABA National Summit on Collateral Consequences

Bronx Defenders Civil Action Supervising Attorney and Team Leader Runa Rajagopal will be leading a panel on Friday, February 27th at the First National Summit on Collateral Consequences in Washington, DC, presented by the ABA Criminal Justice Section in collaboration with the National Institute of Justice. Runa’s panel, entitled “Real Life Collateral Consequence: Stories from the Field,” will…

The Bronx Defenders is Issuing a Call for Proposals for Civil Forfeiture Video Project

Request for Proposals Civil Forfeiture Video Project Submission Date: July 2, 2014 Organization Overview The Bronx Defenders is a community-based, multi-service legal organization dedicated to addressing the underlying problems of poverty in the Bronx by providing innovative, holistic, and client-centered criminal defense, family defense, civil legal services, and social services to indigent Bronx residents. Our…