Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense

Board Member Abbe Smith’s new book “How Can You Represent Those People?”

How Can You Represent Those People? is the first-ever collection of essays offering a response to the “Cocktail Party Question” asked of every criminal lawyer: how do you represent the accused? The contributors are a diverse group of prominent lawyers and rising stars, each offering a different—and often very personal— perspective on “the Question.” Many…

Justine Olderman responds to NY Post article on Bronx bail data

In an August 9, 2013 New York Post article headlined “Easiest Walk for Bx ‘High Risk’ Defendants,” the Mayor’s office takes a position that is in contravention of state law, ignores the facts about rates of return, and turns a blind eye to the growing movement for bail reform. After analyzing data showing that judges…

Karen Smolar taught at the July session of the NDCC’s Trial Practice Institute

Karen Smolar, Trial Chief of The Bronx Defenders, taught as a faculty member at the National Criminal Defense College, Trial Practice Institute, in the July 2013 session. This session, which took place in Macon, Georgia, was limited to just 96 participants. Topics covered in the institute included client interviews, jury selection, direct and cross examination,…

Board Member Abbe Smith On What Motivates Public Defenders

Abbe Smith, a member of our Board of Directors, the director of the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic at Georgetown University and co-editor of the forthcoming “How Can You Represent Those People?” recently published an opinion piece for The Washington Post. Click here for Abbe’s thoughts on what motives public defenders to represent “those…

The Champion: Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Our Executive Director Robin Steinberg wrote an article on racial disparities in the criminal justice system that was featured in The Champion. The article draws from discussions at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ conference report, Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. An excerpt…

The Bronx Defenders Denounced Proposed Bail Bill in New York State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 11, 2013 Contact: Justine Olderman, The Bronx Defenders, (917) 836-4366 The Bronx Defenders Denounced Proposed Bail Bill in New York State The Bronx Defenders called for the New York Legislature to abandon Proposed Bill S. 4483 (Nozzolio) / A. 6799 (Lentol), which does not contain constitutional safeguards or provide adequate guidance in setting…

The New Yorker: Annals of Law: Rights and Wrongs

A Judge Takes on Stop & Frisk.  Article by Jeffrey Toobin. Excerpt: “…Bradley took the ticket to the offices of the Bronx Defenders, who have pioneered what they call “holistic defense,” a method based on recognizing that, for criminal defendants like Bradley, deportation, eviction, or the loss of parental rights may be more ruinous than conviction…

The Take Away: Searching for Justice in the South Bronx

As the executive director of the Bronx Defenders, a public defense and legal services organization, Robin Steinberg has spent her career demanding justice for the residents of the poorest Congressional district in the nation. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark Supreme Court case that requires states to provide attorneys…

New York Times: In Misdemeanor Cases, Long Waits for Elusive Trials

Francisco Zapata keeps a copy of the Constitution on his cellphone. So when the police stopped, frisked and charged him with misdemeanor marijuana possession, he wanted what that cellphone document promised. “I was under the assumption,” he said, “that if I kept going back to court, eventually I would get my day in court.” But…

Criminal Justice Matters on CUNY TV: Equal Justice for All? Life After Gideon

The right to a lawyer, regardless of whether you can afford it, has been a cornerstone of American justice for 50 years, ever since a landmark US Supreme Court ruling in 1963. But thousands of Americans–and New Yorkers—still can’t exercise that right. New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman discusses what our courts and politicians…

HuffPost Live: Alejandro Fernandez talks Stop-And-Frisk

Gbenga Akinnagbe from ‘The Wire’ joins HuffPost Live to talk about his recent court victory, challenging stop & frisk policies and intolerance for free speech. Hosted by: Alicia Menendez Guests: Gbenga Akinnagbe @GbengaAkinnagbe (New York, NY) Actor Matt Sledge @MGSledge (New York , NY) HuffPost National Reporter Alejandro Fernandez @BronxDefenders (New York, NY) Staff Attorney…

New York Times: In South Bronx, Legal Aid and Shoulders to Lean On

A sprawling, sunny room beckons invitingly with black couches and bright accent pillows for relaxing, bookshelves with novels to borrow for an hour or a week, a pair of children’s tables, outlets for recharging cellphones and free coffee. This is the newest hub for justice in the South Bronx: a public defenders’ office that looks…

Reuters: Bronx man cannot be retried after mistrial

A Bronx man cannot be retried for selling drugs after his first case ended in a mistrial because the judge failed to consider less severe alternatives, a state appeals court ruled Thursday. The Appellate Division, First Department, found that double jeopardy precluded a second prosecution against Jamal Morris, who sought a writ prohibiting the Bronx…

A Plaintiff Reflects on Judge Scheindlin’s Clean Halls decision

On Tuesday, January 8th, Judge Shira Scheindlin in the Southern District Court of New York granted a preliminary injunction against the NYPD in our federal class action lawsuit, Ligon v. City of New York. The injunction has since been temporarily stayed pending appeal, but it was nevertheless a huge victory for our litigation team, clients,…

Kumar Rao in Huffington Post’s The Blog: “The War on Drugs: A Shake-down, Not a Fair Shake for the Middle Class”

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election and the fervor around “fiscal cliff” negotiations, issues related to middle class empowerment and fairness are rightfully at the center of our national policy agenda. Decisions related to tax burden allocations and spending priorities are being made that have the potential to affect the middle class for a…

The Village Voice: Bail is Busted: How Jail Really Works

Lauren DiGioia’s face was stony and impassive beneath bright blue hair as she was brought into a courtroom in handcuffs on March 18. At 2:30 the previous afternoon, DiGioia, 27, had become the first person arrested by the New York City Police Department during Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary at Zuccotti Park. DiGioia was taken…

The Guardian: New York police officers defy order to cut marijuana arrests

Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders. Nearly half of New Yorkers picked up for small amounts of marijuana possession in recent months were not displaying the drug before they were stopped, the study…