Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Policy & Community

New York Times: The Real Problem With Police Video

A Chicago police officer shot and killed a teenager named Laquan McDonald in October of last year, but most of us learned about Mr. McDonald only last week, after a judge ordered the release of police video footage of his death. That is also when prosecutors finally brought first-degree murder charges against the officer. Clearly,…

Bronx Times: Annual block party held by Bronx Defenders

The Bronx Defenders held their 2015 Community Block Party on Wednesday, July 8 at the organization’s headquarters of 360 E. 161st Street. The block party included a barbecue, performances from local musicians, face painting, basketball tournaments, balloon animals, pony rides, carnival games, and other activities. By Steven Goodstein To see photos click here.

Thank you to everyone who helped make BxD’s Community Block Party a hit!

Last week, The Bronx Defenders hosted its annual Community Block Party, where clients, community members, friends and family came together and enjoyed games, free food, free health and legal information, and music and entertainment. Despite the threat of rain, we hosted nearly 1,000 people over the course of the day, and dished up meals for…

The Problem with NYC’s Bail Reform

Our Executive Director, Robin Steinberg, published the following piece in The Marshall Project about the city’s proposal to reform the bail system: “Yesterday, the city unveiled a plan to largely eliminate cash bail for New Yorkers charged with low-level or nonviolent crimes. This long overdue step has the potential to reshape pretrial detention in New York City…

HuffPost Live: NYC To End Cash Bail For Low-Level Offenders

“The law is not the problem. The fact that judges routinely disregard the law and the options provided for under the law is the issue.” — Robyn Mar, Director of Early Advocacy New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to end bail for low-level offenders, allowing them to await trial under home supervision. We…

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…

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…

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 Defenders hosted its Third Annual Youth Justice Summit!

This week, The Bronx Defenders hosted its Third Annual Youth Justice Summit. Over two days at The Bronx Defenders Justice Campus, we brought together 104 youth from three schools and one youth program: Truman High School, Bronx School of Law, Government, and Justice, Bronx Lighthouse Academy, and the BronxConnect Program. The Bronx Defenders was joined by three of…

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…