Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense

Joint Statement: Civil Rights Attorneys Push Back on NYPD Objections to Stop-and-Frisk Reforms

JOINT STATEMENT FROM NAACP, LAS AND NYCLU ON NYPD’S OBJECTIONS TO STOP-AND-FRISK REFORMS The NYPD opposed many community-based recommendations for stop-and-frisk reform, arguing that they should not be ordered to implement any of them. This reform–the Joint Remedial Process–collected input from thousands of people from communities impacted by the NYPD’s practices, involving 64 focus groups…

Spotlight on BxD’s work with veterans and service members

Every day, The Bronx Defenders represents people who are veterans, active service members, or interested in future military service. The Bronx is home to approximately 40,000 veterans, who often face unique challenges in all aspects of the justice system, whether in Criminal Court, Family Court, Housing Court, or in administrative proceedings. Many our clients come…

Gothamist: NYPD Will Stop Arresting SOME People For Smoking Pot

“It’s not really clear what they’re trying to accomplish with this policy—either marijuana should be something that brings people through the criminal process, or it shouldn’t be.” Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new marijuana arrest policy will issue a criminal court summonses—$100 for a first offense—to those caught smoking marijuana, rather than making a misdemeanor arrest….

BxD’s Justine Olderman Interview with BronxNet TV’s “Today’s Verdict”

“What we’re trying to do is redefine public defense and in doing so, transform the way that people are treated in our justice system…we go wherever the client goes and we defend that client by whatever means necessary.” Justine Olderman, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders sits down with BronxNet Community Television’s “Today’s Verdict” with…

USA Today: When cops lie under oath, prosecutors must take some blame

“As a public defender, I have seen innocent people’s lives devastated by charges resulting from lies by police…But police do not go straight from the street to the witness stand.” In this USA Today op-ed, Supervising Criminal Defense attorney Michael Bloch calls for prosecutors, the gatekeepers who usher police through the criminal justice system, to…

WNYC: Racial Disparities Persist in Who’s Arrested for Pot Possession

“We know that these [marijuana] arrests are really harmful and destructive to our clients, their families and their communities,” said Scott Levy, Special Counsel to BxD’s Criminal Defense Practice, noting that most of his clients are black and Latino males. “A single arrest for this can disrupt a job, a living situation, child care arrangements….

BxD Testifies Before City Council at Hearing on Progress in Closing Rikers Island

On December 4, 2017, Alice Fontier, Managing Director of The Bronx Defenders’ Criminal Defense Practice presented written and oral testimony before the New York City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services at the Hearing on Progress in Closing Rikers Island. In her testimony, Alice highlighted the Administration’s misguided focus on technocratic fixes to…

The Intercept: Terrorist Watchlist Errors Spread to Criminal Rap Sheets

Last February, attorney Anisha Gupta represented a Latino man charged with two misdemeanors: trespassing and resisting arrest. At her client’s arraignment, the first appearance before a judge where a bail determination is made, Gupta thought her client would be quickly let out on his own recognizance — meaning a release without posting bail; the prosecution…

VICE: There’s a New Way for People Arrested in NYC to Avoid Jail

A 22-year-old black man stands with his hands clasped behind his back as the prosecution reads charges to the judge. Low-level assault, a class D felony. Recommended bail? $75,000. It’s 6:45 PM on a Saturday evening at Brooklyn Criminal Court, and the audience is comprised mostly of family members—some of whom will wait until one…

Council Presses de Blasio Administration to Reduce Delays in Criminal Court

When Chidinma Ume, an assistant counsel in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, visited Queens recently, district attorney staff showed her around the courthouse, taking care to point out unused areas. “We gave her a tour of the courthouse, and how many locked doors that we have in courtrooms because we have…

New York Law Journal: We Need Speedy Trial Reform in City’s Criminal Courts

Too often in New York City, the maxim “justice delayed is justice denied” is no mere abstraction, but a reality that wears down defendants, dispirits victims and cheats taxpayers. This is particularly true in the city’s criminal court, where lower-level cases—misdemeanors and petty offenses—are adjudicated and where the gaze of policymakers and the press rarely…

Vice: We Know Terrifyingly Little About How Cops in New York Track Cell Phones

For the past several years, police departments across America have been using a nifty new piece of technology to trace the location of suspects. IMSI-catchers—commonly known as “StingRays” after the most popular brand name—are small boxes that gather all cell signals in a given area by mimicking a cell phone tower. And they’ve grown increasingly…

Yes Magazine: When You Can’t Afford the Cost of Clearing Your Record

Adrienne broke the law: Caught speeding on her way home from work in Memphis, Tennessee, she pled guilty to charges of reckless driving and reckless endangerment. Two years later, Adrienne had completed probation and paid her court fees. But the charges still appeared on background checks, so she could find only temporary work. The barrier…

Independent Record: Flathead Reservation program helps former inmates reintegrate

A new program on the Flathead Reservation is helping people who are released from tribal jail or the state prison adjust to life after incarceration. There are many “collateral consequences” people deal with upon their release — inability to find a place to live, struggling to get a job and issues getting drivers licenses reinstated,…

The New Yorker: Sonia from the Bronx

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, says that she prefers to be called Sonia from the Bronx. Chances are nobody who meets her ever dreams of calling her anything so informal. When she came back to her native borough last week for an Evening of Conversation at the Bronx Defenders, a nonprofit…

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor Speaks at The Bronx Defenders

On Monday, January 25th, The Bronx Defenders hosted U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor for an evening of conversation at its justice campus in the South Bronx. Local community members, staff members and supporters of The Bronx Defenders were present. The conversation between Robin Steinberg, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders, and Justice Sotomayor…

WNYC: Who Should Have Control of Police Footage?

In the recent police shooting death of teenager in Chicago, a court ordered the public release of the dashboard camera video. But why are police in control of this type of footage? Sarah Lustbader, staff attorney at the Bronx Defenders, a public defender office, discusses the circumstances surrounding a court order for the release of…

New York Times: The Real Problem With Police Video

A Chicago police officer shot and killed a teenager named Laquan McDonald in October of last year, but most of us learned about Mr. McDonald only last week, after a judge ordered the release of police video footage of his death. That is also when prosecutors finally brought first-degree murder charges against the officer. Clearly,…

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…