Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense

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…

Newsday: NYC may set up taxpayer-paid bail fund for low-level offenses

City Council leaders want to create a $1.4 million, first-of-its-kind city-financed bail fund to spare indigent defendants charged with low-level crimes from unfair and costly stretches of confinement at Rikers Island before their day in court. But criminal justice experts are divided on how effective a reform that would be, while one of the city’s…

Bronx Defenders advocates present at NASW Addictions Institute conference

Yesterday, June 3, 2015, four Bronx Defenders advocates presented at the National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter (NASW-NYC) 47th Annual Addictions Institute conference, “Marijuana and Emerging Drugs: Evolving Perceptions in Addictions.” Bronx Defenders Parent Advocate Dinah Ortiz and Social Worker Sarah Cremer presented on the presumptions and prejudice surrounding drug use by pregnant…

The Bronx Defenders wraps up its 2015 Defenders’ Academy Spring Training Program!

The Bronx Defenders wrapped up another session of our nationally renowned Defenders’ Academy Spring Training yesterday. Over six days, 74 participants from over a dozen different organizations – ranging from public defender offices to private firms to the U.S. military – came together at The Bronx Defenders Justice Campus to partake in an intensive trial skills program…

Justine Olderman testifies before City Council on the stigma of mental illness

Managing Director of the Criminal Defense Practice Justine Olderman presented oral testimony before the New York City Council Committee on Courts and Legal Services earlier this month, on May 12. While commending the efforts that the Mayor and City Council have made thus far to address the over-incarceration of the mentally ill, Justine’s testimony called attention…

The Bronx Defenders welcomes its 2015 summer interns!

We are very excited to welcome our 2015 summer interns! The Bronx Defenders internship program gives students the opportunity to experience and learn client-centered, holistic advocacy through hands-on work with our interdisciplinary advocates. This summer BxD is hosting a total of 70 interns, including 48 law school students from 20 different schools who will undergo comprehensive,…

The Bronx Freedom Fund receives NCJA Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award!

The Bronx Freedom Fund has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 National Criminal Justice Association Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the Northeast Region. Each year, NCJA honors five outstanding criminal justice programs at the National Forum on Criminal Justice. Award winners are selected by a panel of criminal justice experts to recognize innovative…

City Limits: State Senator: Citywide Bail Fund Would Help, Not Hinder, Courts

A recent Daily News editorial titled “City Council: Do not pass go on bad-idea bail fund” erroneously asserted that the city-wide bail fund being considered by the City Council was unnecessary, a waste of taxpayer dollars, and would undermine the authority of judges. With all due respect to The Daily News, I could not disagree…

Al Jazeera America: New York City police rethink ‘Broken Windows’ strategy

“The type of offenses that I see everyday in the courthouse in the South Bronx are not the type of offenses that are being policed in rich, affluent, white neighborhoods.” – Justine Olderman Bronx Defenders Managing Director of the Criminal Defense Practice Justine Olderman appeared on Al Jazeera America last night to discuss the negative…

Chenye Castroni presented testimony before City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services

Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense Social Worker Cheyne Castroni presented testimony before the New York City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services earlier this week in support of Intro Number 770, which would require that the Department of Correction (DOC) establish a crisis intervention program. Cheyne shared his experiences employing his crisis intervention training…

Emily Galvin to present at Bennington College’s Incarceration in America conference

Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense Attorney Emily Galvin will be presenting at Bennington College’s second conference in its Incarceration in America series: Effecting Change, on May 15–16, 2015. The conference is part of Bennington’s growing Incarceration in America initiative, which includes curriculum, visiting speakers, theatrical events, think tanks, and retreats to develop public policy and political action in…

Pro Bono props from The Bronx Defenders!

The Bronx Defenders works with a number of pro bono law firms on a range of matters, from isolated client case issues to ongoing projects. This support plays a crucial role in advancing our mission to combat the systemic challenges driving indigent people into the justice system, and to redefine public defense. To highlight just…

Lindsay Ferguson and Jenny Semmel to join panel discussion at John Jay College

Bronx Defenders Social Worker Lindsay Ferguson and Criminal Defense Attorney Jenny Semmel will join a panel discussion at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, entitled “Mass Incarceration and Its Mental Health Implications,” on Thursday, March 19, 2015. The panel will be chaired by Professor George Adreopoulous, Director of the Center for International Human Rights. Jenny and…

Kate Rubin and Scott Levy testified before City Council on community policing

Bronx Defenders Managing Director of the Civil Action Practice Kate Rubin, together with Fundamental Fairness Project Director Scott Levy, submitted written comments on behalf of The Bronx Defenders to New York City Council’s Committee on Public Safety on March 3, 2015, discussing key issues to consider in community policing. The testimony describes two critical lenses through which…

Emma Ketteringham to join panel at Cardozo “Policing, Conflict, and Change” conference

Bronx Defenders Managing Director of the Family Defense Practice Emma Ketteringham will be presenting on a panel at Cardozo School of Law’s “Policing, Conflict, and Change” Conference next Thursday, March 12, 2015. The conference will be an all-day event with four panel discussions surrounding the state of policing today, the development of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,…