Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Holistic Defense

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…

NAPD: An Interview with Justine Olderman

The Bronx Defenders recently joined the National Association for Public Defense. Our Executive Director, Justine Olderman, speaks with the NAPD on The Bronx Defenders’ holistic defense model, passionate staff, and working closely with the Bronx community. “One of the pillars of our model of holistic defense is ‘a deep connection to and understanding of the…

R.C. v. The City of New York

On April 24, 2018, The Bronx Defenders filed a class action against the City of New York and the NYPD for illegally using and sharing information from sealed arrest records in defiance of long-standing privacy laws that protect privacy and the presumption of innocence. The NYPD’s practice violates the rights of thousands of people, and…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

WNYC: Stop and Seize: When the NYPD Takes Your Cash

Last February, Harold Stanley was on his block one evening, in the Morrissania section of the Bronx. He decided to drive to McDonalds, and when he came back, sat in his parked car to eat. “Next thing I know somebody’s tapping on my window, telling me get out the car,” he said. “And I said…

NY Daily News: When cops just take your cash and car

An arcane 134-year-old process few New Yorkers have even heard of means the NYPD can take the possessions — cars, cash, computers — of anyone who gets stopped, even if it’s for jaywalking and even if that person never gets convicted or even charged. And because those so-called civil forfeiture proceedings are civil, New Yorkers…

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…

Where Criminal Defense Meets Civil Action: an Interview with Runa Rajagopal

This is the third in a series of interviews with attorneys who are pursuing social change through their work. This conversation is between Social Change editor Meghna Philip and Runa Rajagopal, a Team Leader and Supervising Attorney with the Bronx Defenders’ Civil Action Practice. Meghna Philip: You are the Supervising Attorney of the Civil Action…

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…

BxD Attorneys and Social Workers present at the 4th National Parent Attorney Conference

On July 22-23, 2015, The Bronx Defenders’ Attorneys and Social Workers presented on three panels at the 4th National Parent Attorney Conference: Achieving Justice Against the Odds in Washington, DC. Bronx Defenders presenting at the conference include Managing Director of the Family Defense Practice Emma Ketteringham, Family Defense Attorney Jessica Horan-Block, Family Defense Social Worker Caitlin Becker, and Family…

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…

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…