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Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Holistic Defense

The Crime Report: How Do Prosecutors (and the Rest of Us) Get Sentencing So Wrong?

“And all of these players are buffeted simultaneously by external environmental factors: caseloads rise, budgets fall, treatment programs close, spasmodic media pressure ratchets up, options narrow. Sentences may be driven by prosecutors, but they are also influenced by defenders. For example, a recent study makes clear that the Bronx Defenders’ self-consciously “holistic” approach managed to significantly bend…

New York Women’s Foundation: The Justice Fund Grantee Partners

“As public defenders representing more than 20,000 people a year in the criminal legal system, we understand the importance of closing Rikers,” said Justine Olderman, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders. “But closing Rikers will not, by itself, result in a fairer pre-trial system. With support from the New York Women’s Foundation, we are harnessing…

Santa Barbara Independent: Defending Santa Barbara’s Most Vulnerable

“Holistic Defense is making a tangible difference in the lives of clients and changing the way they perceive the criminal justice system. These were some of the goals in mind when FSA and OPD applied for a funding grant in 2017 to launch the pilot program. The program is one of only a handful in…

Medium: What We Mean When We Say #AbolishBigData2019

“In whatever form it might take, we orient our future work toward the commitment that data must be used to measure systems, not people.” Rebecca Widom, our Chief Data Scientist, presented at the University of California Irvine’s two-day workshop “Datafication and Community Activism: Redrawing the Boundaries of Research” on how the important work of data…

Investigative Post: A changing tide on license suspensions

The Bronx Defenders is part of a coalition with the Fines and Fees Justice Center and National Center for Law and Economic Justice to advocate for the end of suspensions over unpaid traffic fines. Traffic enforcement is disproportionately concentrated in low-income black and Latino neighborhoods, where residents often have difficulty paying tickets. New York is one of at least…

Bronx Justice News: District Attorney Darcel Clark On Criminal Justice Reform Legislation: “The Question Is Not If But How We Implement”

“DA Clark has rightly acknowledged the inevitability of discovery, bail, and speedy trial reform in New York. But acknowledgement of inevitability is not enough. The time for delay and foot-dragging is over,” The Bronx Defenders said in a statement. “Bronx-residents–particularly those from communities of color–have waited long enough for a criminal legal system that respects…

Criminal (In)Justice: #98 Holistic Criminal Defense

James Anderson, a senior behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation, and one of the authors of “The Effects of Holistic Defense on Criminal Justice Outcomes,” which The Bronx Defenders is featured in, talks about a better method of providing criminal defense services through holistic defense. Hear the full podcast here

New York Law Journal: New Yorkers Should Push for Police Accountability

“There’s another way that New Yorkers can push for police accountability–and it involves their elected district attorneys. This form of accountability comes from ‘suppression’ hearings.” Oded Oren, our criminal defense attorney, wrote an op-ed on how New Yorkers can push for police accountability through holding elected district attorneys responsible for their inactions. Suppression hearings held…

Harvard Law Review: The Effects of Holistic Defense on Criminal Justice Outcomes

This Article offers the first large-scale, rigorous evaluation of the impact of holistic defense on criminal justice outcomes. In the Bronx, New York City, a holistic defense provider (The Bronx Defenders) and a traditional defender (the Legal Aid Society) operate side-by-side within the same court system, with case assignment determined quasi-randomly based on court shift…

Giants: A Bronx Tale: Giants tackle criminal justice reform

The New York Giants visited The Bronx Defenders’ office to discuss everything from mass incarceration to what sports’ role is in working toward justice. “We are well aware that there is a strong history of social activism in sports, but I will say as public defenders, this is the first time that we have seen…

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Public Defenders Are Part of the Solution

“While indigent defense is chronically underfunded, hard-working public defenders stand shoulder to shoulder with their clients every day in the fight for justice. Rather than see defender as contributing to a system of racism and oppression, we should look to defenders as a critical part of the new future Mr. Mill calls on us to…

The Appeal: Facing Lawsuit, NYPD Changes How Officers Use Sealed Arrest Data

  Our lawsuit against the NYPD states that the department is routinely accessing the sealed records of thousands of people and targeting people of color with low-level charges. Under New York’s sealing statutes, arrest records on file with the NYPD that do not result in criminal convictions must be sealed and not disclosed to anyone….

NY Daily News: Legal group pushes back against NYPD’s claim it can use info from sealed cases in other investigations

The Bronx Defenders strongly oppose the NYPD’s claim that they have the right to use information from sealed cases to conduct investigations. Keeping files on individuals with sealed cases has serious ramifications for millions. Our deputy director of impact litigation, Jenn Rolnick Borchetta, says “Half of all NYPD arrests do not result in criminal convictions, yet…

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

  If you think you might be a member of the class, click here 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…

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…

Wall Street Journal: NYPD Required To Return Seized Items Faster

Niji Jain, our Impact Litigation Attorney, on The Bronx Defenders’ settlement of a federal lawsuit claiming the NYPD unconstitutionally keeps money and other property long after a case is resolved. The lawsuit was initially filed to challenge the NYPD’s unconstitutional retention of property after a case is closed. The terms of this settlement, however, extend…

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…