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The Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense

New York Law Journal: City Broadens Its Evaluation of Indigent Criminal Defense

New York City officials are testing a number of methods to assess the quality of indigent criminal defense, which, they say, is part of a broader attempt to make for a fairer criminal justice system. Though the city now tracks conviction rates, incarceration rates, case duration, charge reduction and disposition at arraignments, officials in Mayor…

The Indypendent: The Poor Man’s Lawyer: Inequality in the Courtroom

As the judge read out the sentence, Jose Santiago and the public defense attorney he’d just met that day listened in an almost empty courtroom. It was 2009, and Santiago spent the next year and a half in prison. Santiago was arrested one month after his 16th birthday for running past a pedestrian and snatching…

The Marshall Project: ‘The Garb of Innocence’

When jury selection began this week in the trial of James Holmes — the man accused of killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater — he looked different than he had in prior court hearings. He traded his jail garb for khakis and a sport coat. Instead of wearing shackles and chains, he was…

Mark Loudon-Brown to lead webinar on DNA expert cross examination

Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense Attorney and Forensic Practice Supervisor Mark Loudon-Brown will be leading a National Association for Public Defense (NAPD) webinar on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm EST. The webinar, entitled “Cross Examining the DNA Analyst: Themes, Chapters, and Examples” will build on the elements of DNA evidence that were discussed in the previous webinar led…

BronxNet: Today’s Verdict

“We know that young white men, for example, smoke marijuana at rates at least on par or at higher rates than young black or Latino men, and yet 87% of the people arrested for marijuana possession in New York City are black and Latino, and in the Bronx that number is 95%.” The Bronx Defenders’…

WBAI’s On the Count: Immigration and Detention Post-Obama Executive Order

The Bronx Defenders Immigration Attorney Conor Gleason joined Abraham Paolos of Families for Freedom to discuss the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) and the impact on families of deportations post-Executive Action Orders on WBAI’s “On the Count” with guest host Khalil Cumberbatch last Saturday, January 10, 2015. Listen to the segment here:

HuffPost Live: Report Highlights Marijuana Enforcement’s Costs

Bronx Defenders Fundamental Fairness Project Director Scott Levy appeared on HuffPost Live, hosted by Josh Zepps, earlier today together with Alberto Willmore, a New York teacher who lost his position after a marijuana arrest, to discuss the costs of marijuana arrests in New York City and The Bronx Defenders’ new report “The Hidden Tax: Economic Costs…

The Bronx Defenders releases its report “The Hidden Tax: Economic Costs of Marijuana Enforcement in the Bronx and New York City”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 17, 2014 Contact: Scott Levy, The Bronx Defenders, 718-838-7833, ScottL@bronxdefenders.org The Hidden Tax: Economic Costs of Marijuana Enforcement in the Bronx and New York City New York – The Bronx Defenders released The Hidden Tax: Economic Costs of Marijuana Enforcement in New York, a report by The Bronx Defenders Fundamental Fairness…

New York Law Journal: Panel Addresses Problems With Overwhelmed Summons Courts

In response to the New York City Police Department’s change in approach to low-level marijuana possession offenses, defense attorneys who have worked in the Summons Courts warned that the system is already strained enough. During a New York City Council hearing on Monday, attorneys in several legal service organizations discussed multiple flaws in the summons…

The Bronx Freedom Fund releases its first Annual Report

The Bronx Freedom Fund released its first annual report this week, showing the Fund’s impact since opening in October 2013. As the first licensed charitable bail organization in New York State, the Bronx Freedom Fund helps eligible clients of The Bronx Defenders post bail in misdemeanor cases where they and their families are unable to afford…

The Bronx Defenders wins its first ever civil jury trial

This October, The Bronx Defenders won its first ever civil jury trial. Our Civil Action Practice Attorneys Karen Maxim and Graham Dumas litigated the case of their client, Ms. Lopez (not her real name), who faced eviction when the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) brought a housing case against her and accused her of using…

NPR: Should A Criminal Record Come With Collateral Consequences?

Maurice Alexander was 61 when he was convicted on a misdemeanor charge. He only served ten days in jail, but six years later it would cost him a chance at affordable housing and leave him homeless for nearly seven months. Federal, state, and local laws impose a convoluted network of barriers on anyone with a…

Skylar Albertson spoke before NYC Board of Correction on solitary confinement concerns

On November 18th, Skylar Albertson spoke at a NYC Board of Correction (BOC) meeting concerning the use of solitary confinement and the Department of Correction’s (DOC) proposal to create Enhanced Supervision Housing (ESH) units at Rikers Island. The BOC, an independent oversight agency responsible for setting guidelines for the DOC, has been engaged in a…

Robin Steinberg and Scott Levy are panelists at Cardozo Law Review Symposium

Bronx Defenders Executive Director Robin Steinberg and Fundamental Fairness Project Director Scott Levy are both panelists at Cardozo Law School’s symposium “The Underbelly of the Beast: Misdemeanor Practice in the Era of Broken Windows and Saturation Policing,” taking place December 3rd and 4th, 2014. The symposium is presented by Cardozo Law Review and by Cardozo’s Criminal Defense Clinic…

Molly Kovel testified in front of New York City Council on Fair Chance Act

Yesterday The Bronx Defenders’ Legal Director of the Civil Action Practice, Molly Kovel, presented written and oral testimony before the New York City Council Committee on Civil Rights regarding The Bronx Defenders’ enthusiastic support for the proposed Fair Chance Act, which would protect the thousands of people with criminal records in New York City against some of the…

The Bronx Defenders Responds to Mayor de Blasio’s Initiative to Address Mental Health Crisis in NYC’s Criminal Justice System

The Bronx Defenders commends Mayor de Blasio for taking a major step toward addressing one of New York City’s most troubling criminal justice issues: the criminalization of individuals with mental health issues and substance use disorders. In announcing a $130 million initiative to divert these New Yorkers away from incarceration and into treatment, the City…

The Bronx Defenders’ Statement on Ferguson

The Bronx Defenders today reiterates its support for the families and communities of Mike Brown, Akai Gurley, Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, and the countless number of young men of color who have been victims of police brutality. The announcement last night of a No True Bill against Officer Darren Wilson exposed long-standing feelings of injustice…

New York Post: Mayor pushes mail-in policy for marijuana fines

Mayor de Blasio wants to include ethnic and ­racial data on the NYPD’s new marijuana summonses — and allow people to pay fines by mail. The convenience would be similar to a system already in place for drivers who can get rid of parking tickets with a check and a stamp. “That’s a choice that…

The Bronx Defenders’ Statement in Response to President Obama’s announcement on Executive Immigration Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jennifer Friedman, The Bronx Defenders, 718-508-3408 or JenniferF@bronxdefenders.org Last night, families around the Bronx held their breath as the President announced sweeping changes that will expand work authorization and protect millions of immigrants from deportation. At The Bronx Defenders—and for the families we represent—the announcement was met with a mix of…

Brooklyn Independent Media: Pot Arrest Policy

“The much larger issue is racial disparity in arrests: Citywide 86% of the people being arrested [for marijuana possession] are black and latino.” – Scott Levy, The Bronx Defenders   The Bronx Defenders Fundamental Fairness Project Director Scott Levy, together with Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance and Shapriece Townsend of Vocal NY discuss…