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News and Analysis2022-12-09T11:49:00-05:00

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RESPONSE TO INACCURATE REPORTING ABOUT BAIL LAWS IN DENIRO BURGLARY CASE

RESPONSE TO INACCURATE REPORTING ABOUT BAIL LAWS IN DENIRO BURGLARY CASE   NEW YORK, NY – News outlets’ frenzied rush to blame bail reform for the release of a woman accused of multiple residential burglaries, including the residence of actor Robert DeNiro, are basing their story on inaccurate reporting. [...]

NDS Seeks Staff Members for New Public Defender Office in Hays County

SAN MARCOS, TX (December 7, 2022) -- Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS), which has signed a contract with Hays County to open a public defender office, is currently recruiting staff members, including a Senior Trial Attorney, Staff Attorneys, Investigators, a Social Worker, Client Advocate, and Office Assistant. NDS Hays County will [...]

Neighborhood Defender Service is Appointed as Hays County Public Defender Office

  Neighborhood Defender Service is Appointed as Hays County’s Public Defender Office      SAN MARCOS, TX (November 22, 2022) -- Today the Hays County Commissioners Court voted to approve a five-year contract with Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) to provide legal services as the County’s Public Defender Office.   “We [...]

Joint Defender Statement in Response to Mayoral Summit on Criminal Justice

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society, and the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, organizations who participated in this weekend’s Mayoral Summit on Criminal Justice, released the following statement: “We thank the Mayor for bringing together leaders in criminal justice from across New York City [...]

Neighborhood Defender Service statement on the death of Albert Woodfox

(October 8, 2022) The Board of Directors and staff of Neighborhood Defender Service celebrate the life and legacy of our dear friend Albert Woodfox, an activist, author, and a wrongfully convicted survivor who spent 43 years in solitary confinement – thought to be the longest in U.S. history -- at [...]

NDS’ Zainab Akbar Testifies On the Family Regulation System Before NYS Assembly

Zainab Akbar, Managing Attorney of NDS Harlem's Family Defense Practice, testified before the New York State Assembly on the need to defund the Family Policing System and invest in community-led programs that truly help the most vulnerable families. Read her testimony below *** Thank you for centering impacted people [...]

More than 70 Incarcerated Women and Transgender New Yorkers at Rikers Island Release Petition Protesting Transfers to Upstate Prisons

Contact: Redmond Haskins, The Legal Aid Society (rhaskins@legal-aid.org) Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (SMccann@ndsny.org) Sarah Duggan, Brooklyn Defender Services (SDuggan@bds.org) Emily Whitfield, The Bronx Defenders (Ewhitfield@bronxdefenders.org) Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services (LToddmedina@nycds.org) Hettie Powell, Queens Defenders (hpowell@queensdefenders.org) (NEW YORK, NY) – More than 70 incarcerated [...]

NYC Defenders’ Statement on Yet Another Death in DOC Custody

September 20, 2021 Contact: Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (SMccann@ndsny.org) Sarah Duggan, Brooklyn Defender Services (SDuggan@bds.org) Emily Whitfield, The Bronx Defenders (Ewhitfield@bronxdefenders.org ) ***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** (NEW YORK, NY) – Department of Correction issued a press release late last night announcing yet another death in its custody. [...]

Amid Jail Crisis, City and State Elected Officials to Visit Rikers Island, Demand Immediate Decarceration

***MEDIA ADVISORY***  Contact:  Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service, smccann@ndsny.org Redmond Haskins, The Legal Aid Society, RHaskins@legal-aid.org  Emily Whitfield, The Bronx Defenders, ewhitfield@bronxdefenders.org Dan Ball, Brooklyn Defender Services, dball@bds.org Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services (LToddmedina@nycds.org) FOLLOWING A SPATE OF DEATHS CAUSED BY UNSAFE AND ILLEGAL CONDITIONS, OFFICIALS TO [...]

NYC Defenders Demand Courthouse Safety as the Delta Variant of COVID-19 Surges in New York City

August 16, 2021  Contact: Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (SMccann@ndsny.org) Press Office, The Legal Aid Society (press@legal-aid.org) Sarah Duggan, Brooklyn Defender Services (SDuggan@bds.org) Emily Whitfield, The Bronx Defenders (Ewhitfield@bronxdefenders.org) Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services (LToddmedina@nycds.org)  (NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender [...]

NYC Defenders’ Statement on Death of Brandon Rodriguez in DOC Custody

August 13, 2021 Contact: Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (SMccann@ndsny.org) Sarah Duggan, Brooklyn Defender Services (SDuggan@bds.org) Emily Whitfield, The Bronx Defenders (Ewhitfield@bronxdefenders.org ) Press Office, The Legal Aid Society (press@legal-aid.org) Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services (LToddmedina@nycds.org) (NEW YORK, NY) – Gothamist reports that [...]

NDS’ Ariana Brill on the Devastating Impact of Covid on Incarcerated Students

The pandemic has had devastating effects on students incarcerated on Rikers Island. NDS  Education Attorney Ariana Brill testified before New York City Council about what our clients are experiencing and offers recommendations to the city about how to fulfill its obligation to provide education to these students.  *** Access [...]

NY Supreme Court Rules Incarcerated People Must be Offered COVID Vaccine Immediately

Judge sides with public defenders and advocates in suit, says state’s exclusion of incarcerated people from vaccine eligibility is unconstitutional March 29, 2021 CONTACT Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (smccann@ndsny.org) Arianna Fishman, New York Civil Liberties Union (afishman@nyclu.org) Redmond Haskins, The Legal Aid Society (rhaskins@legal-aid.org) Ryan Karerat, [...]

Public Defenders, Advocates Sue New York, Claim Vaccine Denial Violates Constitutional Rights of Incarcerated People

February 4, 2021 CONTACT Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (smccann@ndsny.org) Arianna Fishman, New York Civil Liberties Union (afishman@nyclu.org) Redmond Haskins, The Legal Aid Society (rhaskins@legal-aid.org) Ryan Karerat, The Bronx Defenders (rkarerat@bronxdefenders.org) Daniel Ball, Brooklyn Defender Services (Dball@bds.org)  (NEW YORK, NY) – Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, The [...]

NDS Harlem Calls on New York to Vaccinate Incarcerated People Now

As the pandemic’s latest wave rages, with New York City’s COVID positivity rate now at more than 9 percent, the state has two solutions before it, which must be pursued in tandem: vaccinate every incarcerated person and reduce the jail and prison population. The consequences of inaction would be catastrophic.

In 2020, NDS Showed the Power of Public Defense

Neighborhood Defender Service’s clients are vulnerable in the best of times; facing a crisis, they need us more than ever. And we need you to make our indispensable work possible. Please lend your support on December 1, a global day of giving, by supporting the NDS #GivingTuesday campaign. All [...]

NDS 30th Anniversary Gala Honoring Cardi B Postponed Until November 2021

Dear Supporters, Due to the ongoing threat of Covid-19, the Neighborhood Defender Service 30th Anniversary Gala originally scheduled for November 19, 2020 has been postponed until November 17, 2021. The Gala celebrates the work we have accomplished over the past 30 years, with the people who have helped us [...]

Community Statement on the Killing of Hakim Littleton

Community Demands Independent Investigation into Police Killing of Hakim Littleton, End to Excessive Force (DETROIT, MI) – ACLU of Michigan, Black Legacy Coalition, Detroit and Michigan Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Detroit Council of Elders, Detroit Justice Center, East Michigan Environmental Action Coalition, Hush House Black Community Museum, [...]

NDS Featured in Detroit Free Press

NDS was featured in Detroit Free Press in an article by Angie Jackson covering NDS Detroit's new Community Intake Practice, which launched Juneteenth 2020.  "I think it’s so important that we try to do everything we can as public defenders to try to fight against the racial disparities that [...]

As Contact Tracing is Rolled Out Across NY, Advocates Raise the Alarm About the Weaponization of Intimate Health Information By Police and ICE

Contact: Katie Schaffer, Center for Community Alternatives, kschaffer@communityalternatives.org Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service, smccann@ndsny.org At Press Conference, Civil Rights Groups, Health Advocates and Public Defenders Urge Passage of Bill Protecting Confidentiality of Contact Tracing Data NEW YORK—Today, local and national civil rights groups, public health officials and [...]

America on Fire

Dear Partners and Supporters, The murder of George Floyd was unconscionable. So were the murders of Breonna Taylor, of Tony McDade, of Ahmaud Arbery, of Trayvon Martin, of Sandra Bland, of Philando Castile, of Kalief Browder, of Eric Garner and of Malice Green. So were the murders of thousands [...]

Joint NYC Defender Statement On Efforts to Circumvent Law and Detain Protestors

Daniel Ball, Brooklyn Defender Services, dball@bds.org Ryan Karerat, The Bronx Defenders, RKarerat@bronxdefenders.org Redmond Haskins, The Legal Aid Society, RHaskins@legal-aid.org Sam McCann, The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, SMccann@ndsny.org Hettie Powell, Queens Defenders, hpowell@queensdefenders.org Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services, LToddmedina@nycds.org (NEW YORK, NY) – Brooklyn Defender [...]

Joint Wayne County Defense Community Standing with Protectors of Black Lives

Sam McCann, Neighborhood Defender Service, (703) 867-1972, (SMccann@ndsny.org) Lillian Diallo, Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar Association,  (313) 719-8899 Casey Rocheteau, Detroit Justice Center, (313) 499-0826, (crocheteau@detroitjustice.org) Desiree M. Ferguson, National Conference of Black Lawyers, (313) 319-8259, (dferguson@detroitjustice.org) Cait De Mott Grady, National Lawyers Guild Michigan,  (607) 216-2043 (caitdg@gmail.com)  [...]

Joint NYC Defender Statement On NYPD Brutality

Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, Queens Defenders, and New York County Defender Services issued the following statement on New York City Police Department (NYPD) brutality

Victories in the Fight for Justice During COVID-19

All of our communities face this same elevated threat, and NDS has fought for justice in every forum. Our family defense practice has left no stone unturned in its efforts to reunite families during this already stressful time, when they need each other more than ever. Our immigration defense team has sought to stand in the way of a deportation machine that seeks to churn on amid a pandemic. And our civil team has fought to keep our clients and their families safely housed. 

Support Heroic Work on #GivingTuesdayNow: A Letter from the Executive Director

On Tuesday, May 5, Neighborhood Defender Service is participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. Our clients are vulnerable in the best of times; facing a crisis, they need us more than ever. And we need you. Give to NDS today and make our indispensable work possible. 

NDS’ Chantá Parker Talks the Power of Public Defense with American Black Journal

This week, NDS Detroit Managing Director Chantá Parker spoke with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson about the arrival of world-class public defense in Wayne County. Henderson hosts American Black Journal, which airs on Detroit’s PBS affiliate. He sat down with Parker and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans to discuss [...]

Albert Woodfox, Nicole Austin-Hillery Call for Robust Public Defense and Movement- Building at Conversations with NDS 2019

On Monday, November 18th, Neighborhood Defender Service welcomed the leading minds in the criminal legal community for its annual benefit, Conversations with NDS. This years event, titled Mobilizing Against Mass Incarceration, brought together Albert Woodfox, a member of the Angola Three who spent 43 years in solitary confinement, and [...]

“Morality and Legality Do Not Meet at the Courthouse:” Albert Woodfox on Building a Movement Against Mass Incarceration

By Sam McCann For decades, Albert Woodfox has fought relentlessly against solitary confinement, but that work has taken a different shape since February 2016. That’s when Woodfox was released from prison after spending more than 43 years in isolation for 23 hours a day, mostly in Louisiana’s notorious Angola [...]

Through Groundbreaking Class Action, Hundreds of New Yorkers Have Old Marijuana Convictions Sealed

A Manhattan Supreme Court justice has ordered the sealing of marijuana possession convictions for more than 300 people. Her order was the result of a successful class action petition brought jointly by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Legal Action Center, Community Service Society, The Legal Aid Society, New York County Defender Services, Neighborhood Defender Service and pro bono counsel Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. The case asked the court to seal these criminal records under New York Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59.  

Just Three Percent of Cases Go to Trial. A New Paper Unpacks How That Hurts Poor People of Color

By Rick Jones and Cornelius Cornelssen Click to read full article. Despite what courtroom dramas on television and celebrity travails might lead you to believe, the number of individuals who actually exercise their right to take a criminal charge to trial is disturbingly small.  Studies show that a mere three [...]

NDS Opposes Mayor de Blasio’s Plan to Expand ICE Cooperation, Urges Reversal

NEW YORK – Neighborhood Defender Service (NDS) stands in opposition to Mayor de Blasio’s plan to expand New York City’s cooperation with Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE). The plan, announced last week, would increase the number of immigrants that the city turns over to ICE, and further undermine the [...]

NY Daily News: NY Courts refuse to fast-track cashless bail and other criminal justice reforms

NDS appeared in the New York Daily News alongside other defender organizations calling for immediate implementation of the criminal legal reforms included in the 2020 New York State Budget ALBANY — The wheels of justice turn slowly. At least that’s what court officials are telling advocates calling on prosecutors [...]

NDS Welcomes Progress on Criminal Legal Reform, But True Justice Demands More

By Rick Jones, Executive Director, Neighborhood Defender Service New York’s new state budget promises to bring a suite of long-overdue changes to our criminal legal system. The agreement announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday substantially reforms our bail system and takes steps to protect our clients’ constitutional right [...]

The Power of Public Defense

Originally published in the July 2018 Issue of The Champion By Rick Jones Earlier this year, news of New York’s falling crime rate gained national attention. Gone are the days of the late 1980s and early 1990s with their spiking murder rates and a war on drugs raging. By [...]

Collateral Damage: America’s Failure to Forgive or Forget in the War on Crime – NACDL Report

NDS Executive Director Rick Jones co-chaired the NACDL Task Force on the Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction, which recently released the report: Collateral Damage: America’s Failure to Forgive or Forget in the War on Crime – A Roadmap to Restore Rights and Status After Arrest and Conviction.  Excerpt [...]

Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System – NACDL Report

Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System is a critically important and inclusive examination of the profound racial and ethnic disparities in America’s criminal justice system, and concrete ways to overcome them. This conference report prepared by Consultant Tanya [...]

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