Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense

Delegation of criminal defense attorneys from Japan visit BxD

On Monday and Tuesday, October 26 and 27, we were visited by a delegation of criminal defense attorneys from Japan. The Japanese criminal justice system will soon be instituting a system of plea bargaining for the first time, and the delegation came to learn from The Bronx Defenders – among others – about how our system works. They…

NY1: Weighing Bronx DA Candidate’s Role in Controversial Rikers Case

Thursday night, NY1 reported that Darcel Clark, the leading candidate for Bronx District Attorney, played a previously undisclosed role in the case of Kalief Browder, the young man who committed suicide earlier this year after he was held at Rikers Island for three years without trial. However, as NY1’s Bobby Cuza reported, just how much…

Jodi Morales and Sarah Deri Oshiro Presented Testimony at City Council Oversight Hearing

Criminal Defense Attorney Jodi Morales and Immigration Supervising Attorney Sarah Deri Oshiro presented testimony at City Council Oversight Hearing: Evaluating Attorney Compliance with Padilla V. Kentucky and Court Obstacles for Immigrants in Criminal and Summons Court. Written Comments of The Bronx Defenders New York City Council Committee on Immigration Jointly with the Committee on Courts…

The Atlantic: How Treatment Courts Can Reduce Crime

Court-mandated substance-abuse treatment programs can keep people out of prison and save tax-payer dollars, so why aren’t they being utilized? When I first met my client, he was sitting on the other side of a metal grate (The client’s name has been withheld because of attorney-client confidentiality). We were in the cells behind the arraignment…

Avery McNeil Presented Testimony Before the New York City Council

Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense Attorney and Coordinator for the Human Traffic Intervention Court Avery McNeil presented testimony before the New York City Council Joint Hearing of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services and the Committee on Women’s Issues on September 18th, 2015 to discuss the effectiveness of the intervention court in the Bronx and make recommendations for…

Gothamist: How Will De Blasio’s Bail Reform Actually Work?

After news of Kalief Browder’s suicide, many advocates called on Mayor de Blasio to fix New York’s draconian and unfair bail system. On July 8th, Mayor de Blasio responded by announcing a new bail reform for New York City’s court systems. People charged with certain misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies would have the option of supervised…

The Jewish Voice: City Council Holds Hearing to Examine the NY Bail System

The Courts & Legal Services Committee and the Fire & Criminal Justice Services Committee recently held a joint hearing, ‘Examining the New York Bail System and the Need for Reform.’ The hearing, chaired by Council Member Rory Lancman and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, looked at how to reform our dysfunctional bail system. “Our bail system…

The Indian Panorama: City Council Holds Bail Hearing

NEW YORK CITY (TIP): The Courts & Legal Services Committee and the Fire & Criminal Justice Services Committee recently held a joint hearing, ‘Examining the New York Bail System and the Need for Reform.’ The hearing, chaired by Council Member Lancman and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, looked at how to reform our dysfunctional bail system….

BxD’s Elizabeth Keeney presented at NLADA’s Community Oriented Defender Network Annual Conference

BxD’s Managing Director of Social Worker, Elizabeth Keeney, presented at the NLADA’s Community Oriented Defender Network Annual Conference on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015. She participated on the panel “Mandatory Reporting for Social Workers in Defender Offices.” A description of the panel: All 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some permutation of mandatory…

BxD Social Workers and Advocates to present at the 2015 NOFSW Conference

On August 21-23, 2015, four of The Bronx Defenders’ Social Workers and Civil Legal Advocates will be presenting on two panels at the 2015 National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW) Conference in Arlington, VA. The 32nd Annual NOFSW Conference, entitled “Forensic Practice: Promoting Social Justice for All Through Policy and Practice Reform,” is committed to advancing a new…

The Problem with NYC’s Bail Reform

Our Executive Director, Robin Steinberg, published the following piece in The Marshall Project about the city’s proposal to reform the bail system: “Yesterday, the city unveiled a plan to largely eliminate cash bail for New Yorkers charged with low-level or nonviolent crimes. This long overdue step has the potential to reshape pretrial detention in New York City…

HuffPost Live: NYC To End Cash Bail For Low-Level Offenders

“The law is not the problem. The fact that judges routinely disregard the law and the options provided for under the law is the issue.” — Robyn Mar, Director of Early Advocacy New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to end bail for low-level offenders, allowing them to await trial under home supervision. We…

WNYC: New Bail Alternative Means Freedom for Thousands

Thousands of people accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies will stay out of Rikers Island under a $17.8 million pretrial supervision program, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. The program comes as local officials try to reduce violence at the Rikers Island jails and while they grapple with concerns the criminal justice system discriminates against…

MSNBC: A victory in bail reform for criminal justice advocates

A nationwide movement for bail reform scored a significant victory on Wednesday, as America’s largest city announced a new initiative to reduce the number of people it forces to await trial behind bars. Starting next year, New York City will spend $17.8 million to supervise an estimated 3,000 low-risk defendants, instead of requiring them to…

Vice News: NYC to Eliminate Bail for Many Non-Violent Offenders

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce an overhaul of the city’s bail system on Wednesday that is designed to keep low-level offenders out of Rikers Island. The plan, which offers 3,000 offenders supervised release in lieu of bail, will help “reduce both the financial and human costs of needless incarceration,”…

The Bronx Defenders testifies before NYC Council on the need for bail reform

Earlier this week, Justine Olderman, Managing Director of the Criminal Defense Practice, Robyn Mar, Director of Early Advocacy, and Noelle Turtur, Project Associate, submitted testimony on behalf of The Bronx Defenders before the New York City Council Committees on Courts and Legal Services and Fire and Criminal Justice on the dire need for reform of the New York…

ABC News: NYC Council Members: Suicide Points to Need for Bail Reform

The death of a 22-year-old man who hanged himself after spending three years as a teen jailed without trial should spur New Yorkers to push for bail reform, City Council members said at a hearing Wednesday. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Kalief Browder’s death “has been a wake-up call for many in our city…

Slate: The Problem with Bail

Former Bronx Defenders Trial Chief David Feige writes in Slate about the problem with the bail system and one simple way to fix it: On Sunday, John Oliver devoted the majority of his HBO show to America’s broken bail system. “Bail” is the cash or property equivalent demanded of arrestees as surety—an assurance that they…

New York Magazine: How All New Yorkers Killed Kalief Browder

In his short eulogy of Kalief Browder, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote that the teenager’s death — he hanged himself with an air-conditioner cord in his home in the Bronx, after three years of torment by the legal system — “must necessarily be laid at the feet of the citizens of New York, because it…

Bronx Defenders statement on NYC Council passing of the Fair Chance Act

The Bronx Defenders applauds the New York City Council for passing the Fair Chance Act, a bill that will give New Yorkers with criminal records a fair chance to compete for jobs. The Fair Chance Act will prohibit all public and private employers in New York City from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until…

City Limits: Correction Dept. Slows Bid to Restrict Rikers Visits

A move to restrict visiting rights on Rikers Island—billed by the Department of Correction as a necessary step to control violence—that faced opposition from legal rights groups went nowhere Tuesday at a meeting of jail regulators. The Board of Correction decided to hold off on the proposal pending further study. The Board is considering whether…