The Bronx Defenders Oppose ABA Resolution 114

The Bronx Defenders is a public defender nonprofit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the legal system. Every year, we defend thousands of New Yorkers who come into contact with the criminal legal system, and we are committed to ending mass incarceration crisis in our communities and beyond. 

BxD strongly opposes the American Bar Association’s Resolution 114, which would redefine consent in a criminal sexual assault allegation. The resolution would force people accused of these offenses to negate a claim of lack of consent, unconstitutionally shifting the burden of proof on to them. However well-intentioned this resolution is, it would be a damaging blow for all who are committed to a fair and just legal system. It erodes the due process rights and presumption of innocence that every person who comes into contact with the criminal legal system is entitled to, and dramatically increases the likelihood of wrongful convictions while making it harder to overturn those convictions as well. As an organization committed to ending the mass incarceration crisis in this country, we’re deeply concerned that this resolution would only make the problem worse, particularly for black and brown individuals who are so often targeted by the criminal legal system. The ABA must resist the urge to try and solve social problems by pursuing carceral solutions. 

The Bronx Defenders joins the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in opposing Resolution 114.