177 Livingston Street 7th Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 254-0700 info@bds.org

News

VIRTUAL WORKSHOP: PARENTS’ RIGHTS WHEN ACS KNOCKS ON YOUR DOOR

Join Brooklyn Defender Services’ Family Defense Practice for a live virtual workshop on Parents’ Rights When Dealing with ACS.

June 30th at 3:00 PM on Zoom and Brooklyn Defender Services’ Facebook Live.

Topics will include:
What is ACS?
How does a case get called in?
What are mandated reporters?
What to do when ACS comes to your door?
What is a case conference?
What happens if you have an “indicated case” and land on the State Central Register?

Our family defenders, social workers, and paralegals will answer these questions and more from our viewers.

Register here. 

News

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES ON THE SUPREME COURT’S DACA DECISION 

June 18, 2020

 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

 

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES ON THE SUPREME COURT’S DACA DECISION 

 

(BROOKLYN, NY) – Brooklyn Defender Services, a public defender office that provides immigration legal services to thousands of people each year, including many who are eligible for or have already obtained DACA status, released this statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling on DACA:

Today’s decision is a victory for DACA recipients and their families who now have the assurance they will not lose this crucial status. This ruling  allows those who have been granted DACA status  to continue to work and go to school and to stay in the country in which they have lived since childhood without fear of deportation. We applaud the many DREAMers who organized, spoke out and made themselves known, putting themselves at personal risk of  deportation, to lead the way to create and protect this program. 

As Chief Justice John Roberts recognized in his decision for the Court, the Trump Administration’s attack on DACA was capricious and arbitrary and failed to recognize the interests of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients.  The Trump Administration must now restore the DACA program. Brooklyn Defender Services stands ready to assist eligible DREAMers in obtaining and renewing status, fighting deportation, and finding pathways to stable, permanent, and protected legal status.

We cannot stop here. We urge Congress to enact immigration laws to make DACA a permanent program to obtain lawful status. In doing so, we also urge that Congress create a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, TPS recipients and other currently undocumented immigrants who came to this country looking for opportunity, safety and to be with their loved ones. 

We, as a society, must be steadfast in our commitment to DREAMers and all immigrants, whether currently documented or not. The current racist, unjust, and unfair immigration system must be radically transformed. As people across the country rise up for Black lives and against structural racism, we must use the energy from this moment to continue to fight against all oppressive systems that threaten people’s most basic rights.” 

Background:

Brooklyn Defender Services signed on to an amicus brief in support of the respondents in this case, available here.

###

 

Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) is a non-profit public defense office in Brooklyn, New York. BDS provides multi-disciplinary and client-centered criminal defense, family defense, immigration and other civil legal services, and social work support to over 30,000 indigent Brooklyn residents every year.

 

News

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES STATEMENT ON FEDERAL JUDGE RULING ICE COURTHOUSE ARRESTS ILLEGAL

June 10, 2020

 

Contact: Daniel Ball, dball@bds.org

 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES STATEMENT ON FEDERAL JUDGE RULING ICE COURTHOUSE ARRESTS ILLEGAL

(BROOKLYN, NY) – Nyasa Hickey, Director of Immigration Initiatives at Brooklyn Defender Services released the following statement following Federal Judge Jed Rakoff’s order barring ICE from arresting people on their way to or in New York State courthouses as a violation of law:

“Judge Rakoff’s ruling means ICE will no longer be able to stalk, terrorize, and arrest immigrants in New York State courthouses or as they travel to or from court appearances. This illegal practice has long jeopardized safety and had a chilling effect on immigrants’ ability to access the court, including to defend themselves. Now, all immigrants in New York should be able to access the courts without fear of being arrested and detained by ICE as they assert their legal rights. We urge the legislature to pass the Protect Our Courts Act to ensure that the rights recognized by Judge Rakoff are codified in New York State.”

News

JOINT NYC DEFENDER STATEMENT ON  EFFORTS TO CIRCUMVENT LAW AND DETAIN PROTESTORS 

June 4, 2020

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***  

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 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 Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to detain New Yorkers fighting for justice on bail.

“Last night, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance called for an Executive Order altering the bail statute to permit the detention of people protesting and mourning the death of George Floyd and other Black people and brown people killed by the police. We are appalled DA Vance would use this opportunity to suppress New Yorkers’ constitutional rights by detaining protestors on unaffordable money bail instead of standing with Black people. At a moment in which Black people and their allies are rightfully protesting state sanctioned racial violence while simultaneously bearing the brunt of a global pandemic – a crisis that makes brutal and dangerous city jails even more deadly – DA Vance offers incarceration as the solution.

Cy Vance’s ask that Governor Cuomo issue an executive order allowing judges to hold protestors is outrageous. Already, there is a backlog of hundreds of New Yorkers who are being illegally held because the NYPD refuses to issue Desk Appearance Tickets in lieu of arrests or complete the paperwork necessary to arraign them, despite the fact that the state requires a court appearance within 24 hours of arrest. Vance’s proposal would increase incarceration at a time when prisons and jails account for eight of the 10 largest COVID-19 outbreaks in the country and when the City’s own correctional health experts are calling for decarceration.

It is also a naked attempt to lock up more Black and brown people at a moment in which New Yorkers are demanding justice for communities of color.

Governor Cuomo’s response instructs District Attorneys to trump up charges and inflate allegations against New Yorkers in order to jail them.  This blatant disregard for truth in prosecution is aberrant to the demand for a fair justice system that protesters are now demanding. We demand that Governor Cuomo reject this dangerous plea, and urge concerned New Yorkers to call his office at 518-474-8390.”

###

News

JOINT NYC DEFENDER STATEMENT ON NYPD BRUTALITY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 1, 2020

CONTACTS:

Jared Chausow, Brooklyn Defender Services, JChausow@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

Joint NYC Defender Statement On NYPD Brutality

(NEW YORK, NY) – Brooklyn Defender ServicesThe Bronx DefendersThe Legal Aid SocietyNeighborhood Defender Service of HarlemQueens Defenders, and New York County Defender Services issued the following statement on New York City Police Department (NYPD) brutality:

“White supremacy, structural racism, and state violence are deeply embedded into the fabric of this nation. The protests in NYC and across the country were not triggered by a few isolated incidents of police brutality; but rather are rooted in the deep-seated racism and perpetuation of inequity that this country has continuously shown to Black, brown, and Indigenous people.

We mourn with the families of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery. Their lives were snuffed out because of this country’s refusal to face our history and disrupt our legacy of anti-Black racism. New York City bears responsibility as well. Although we hold ourselves up as a progressive bastion, our city is home to some of the largest and most under-resourced communities of color in the country.  New Yorkers who consider themselves “liberal” wrap themselves in white immunity while perpetuating entrenched stereotypes and harm.  Amy Cooper instinctively weaponized her privilege  against Christian Cooper because she knew that if she combined and repeated the words “African-American man” and “threat,” the police would not only come but they would immediately accept her word over any evidence to the contrary.

As New York City’s public defenders, we work for and represent those who are the targets and victims of police intimidation, threat, and violence.  Thousands of people each year, the vast majority of whom are Black and Latinx, are funneled into the criminal legal system because of the deep-seated structural racism that we are collectively witnessing here in NYC. The disturbing videos and reports of the violent attacks by NYPD on protestors and the media, while traumatizing to watch, are all too familiar to us. They mirror the stories we hear every day of police acting with impunity, targeting, attacking, beating, lying, abusing, and disrespecting Black and brown people in the communities we serve in all five boroughs.

The people we represent live under a constant threat of surveillance, harassment, violence, and incarceration simply because of the color of their skin. They live their lives knowing they will never be given the benefit of the doubt. They will never be presumed innocent.

Despite campaigning on a message about racial justice, Mayor de Blasio has done nothing to address the many layers of systemic racism in our city.  Instead, he has reduced the budgets for much-needed health, mental health, housing and educational resources in the communities that need them the most, while growing the NYPD’s bloated budget, adding more officers every year, and adding a level of militarization that has empowered the worst and most frightening version of police force.

And now, despite daily acts of violence and excessive use of force against protesters, de Blasio commends the NYPD’s actions, further emboldening officers already acculturated to see Black people as the cause of every “problem” and dehumanizing the very individuals they are sworn to serve.

We demand accountability and radical change. We demand that the City Council and Mayor de Blasio significantly reduce the size and budget of the NYPD. We demand that candidates for elected office decline contributions from law enforcement PACs and unions, and return the thousands of dollars they have accepted over the years. We demand that our government at every level acknowledge the first amendment rights of the protesters and denounce the NYPD’s violent response to such constitutionally-protected political protest. We demand police transparency and a repeal of 50a, the law that keeps police records a secret and allows officers to violate the civil rights of individuals over and over again with impunity. We demand investment in the communities most impacted by over-policing and police violence. And we demand that those harmed by centuries of oppression be allowed to decide for themselves how to deploy those resources to heal, provide, and thrive.

As the police continue to harass and attack peaceful protesters exercising their constitutional rights, we stand ready to zealously defend them. We stand in solidarity with the protestors taking to the streets, the bail funds working to get people released from jail, and everyone else who has responded to this moment by letting their leaders know that enough is enough.”

###