We defend the Bronx.

Criminal Defense Practice

At The Bronx Defenders, our belief is that contact with the criminal justice system is a matter of circumstance, not character. Criminal defense attorneys at The Bronx Defenders work side-by-side with the other advocates on their holistic teams to identify the causes of our clients’ criminal justice involvement and to protect them from the enmeshed penalties associated with their cases. We spend time getting to know our clients and gaining a deeper understanding of their lives and needs. Armed with that understanding, we pursue justice for our clients by thoroughly investigating their cases, raising novel legal arguments, and using creative tools of persuasion to succeed at trial.

Because each client is unique, we advocate for individualized and comprehensive alternatives to incarceration rather than relying on a “one size fits all” solution to complex problems. Moreover, our support and advocacy is not confined to the courtroom and does not begin or end with the criminal case. Providing seamless services that address all of the clients’ needs, not just their legal ones is at the core of holistic defense and redefines what it means to be a public defender.

Through zealous, innovative, and compassionate advocacy, our clients get the representation they need and the justice they deserve.

Achievements & Initiatives

  • Over the last two decades, we have grown from a practice representing 12,500 people facing criminal charges per year to representing nearly 30,000 people per year.
  • We spearheaded a city-wide Bail Reform Initiative to challenge the way judges set bail and successfully argued in the Court of Appeals that cash-only bail violates the law.
  • We created an in-house Forensic Practice Group to effectively litigate cases involving DNA, eyewitness identification, ballistics, and digital evidence.
  • We started Adolescent Defense, Mental Health, Sex-Trafficking, and Veterans Projects to address the unique needs of our young clients, those with behavior health needs, victims of sex trafficking, and those who have served in the military.
  • We initiated a Probation Project to help clients avoid re-incarceration by following up with them at regular intervals, providing them with support and services during their sentences, and defending them at probation violation hearings.
  • We created an Arraignment Checklist to ensure that all of our clients’ immediate legal and non-legal needs are being identified and addressed.
  • We challenged unconstitutional stop and frisk practices, unlawful trespass arrests, and exaggerated marijuana charges through data collection, community organizing, and litigation.