WNYC: New York’s Highest Court Rules Immigrants Deserve Jury Trials, Even for Misdemeanors

The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that immigrants are entitled to a jury trial, even when they’re accused of misdemeanors that carry sentences of six months or less. This is a groundbreaking decision that will provide people a meaningful day in court to fight charges that could lead to deportation.

“Jury trials are fairer,” said Ilona Coleman, legal director of BxD’s criminal defense practice. “In context of a misdemeanor case, you’re looking at six members of the community that are deciding your fate as opposed to one judge who may not have similar life experiences that you have.”

As noted by a colleague, this is a victory that acknowledges that the systems that oppress our communities do not stand alone as pillars. instead, they interact with each other to bring trauma to people far worse than the sum of each system’s parts. We are proud of all who came together to deliver this profound change.

Read more and hear our Sarah Deri Oshiro in the audio here