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

News

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES’ STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG

September 23, 2020

Contact: Jared Chausow, jchausow@bds.org

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES’ STATEMENT ON  THE PASSING OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG

(Brooklyn, NY) — Today, Lisa Schreibersdorf, Executive Director of Brooklyn Defender Services, released the following statement in response to the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“Today we mourn the loss of a trailblazer and pioneer. In true Brooklyn form, Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not take ‘no’ for an answer and broke barriers her entire life. As a Supreme Court Justice, an effective advocate, a feminist, wife, and mother, and a powerful voice against the status quo, Justice Ginsburg opened doors for countless others. She is breaking a boundary one last time as the first woman in the history of our country to lie in state in the United States Capitol. As she does, our country grieves a brilliant and fair jurist and a role model for women, civil rights lawyers, and all people who believe that a fair and equitable society is possible and worth fighting for. The model of advocacy that she pursued, asking the courts to think differently, to push boundaries and preconceived ideas about the structure of society followed by her willingness to see the world as it could be in her position on the Supreme Court—those are the qualities, values, and attitudes that embody the essence of public defenders. We can all learn from her tenacity, her vision, her insistence that justice can be obtained through the courts, from her very hope and faith that things can be more fair, more just, more equitable. The best way to honor her legacy is for each of us to imagine a better world and pursue it with all we have and to stand by our own convictions, values, and beliefs no matter what.”

News

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES’ STATEMENT ON NYPD’S MASS ARRESTS AT PROTEST AGAINST ICE ATROCITIES

September 22, 2020

Contact: Jared Chausow, jchausow@bds.org

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES’ STATEMENT ON NYPD’S MASS ARRESTS AT PROTEST AGAINST ICE ATROCITIES 

(Brooklyn, NY) — Today, Maryanne Kaishian, Senior Policy Counsel at Brooklyn Defender Services, released the following statement in response to NYPD making mass arrests at a mid-day protest in Times Square against ICE’s human rights abuses:

“This past weekend, the NYPD continued its escalation against the people of New York City who exercise their right to protest racist state violence. Despite its self-proclaimed restraint and training in de-escalation, the Department is only growing more violent and unaccountable, apparently emboldened by its leadership and by a federal government that encourages its abuse of New Yorkers. Such unconstitutional attempts to silence dissent by the NYPD are not new, but as they increase in frequency and severity we believe it has never been more clear that our City must divest from policing and invest in real community safety. We join with protesters in calling for the abolition of ICE and we urge the Manhattan District Attorney to drop all charges stemming from these arrests.”

News

STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY-IN-CHARGE OF BDS’ DETAINED DEPORTATION DEFENSE TEAM ON IRWIN DETENTION CENTER WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT

September 16, 2020

 

Contact: Daniel Ball, dball@bds.org 

 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY-IN-CHARGE OF BDS’ DETAINED DEPORTATION DEFENSE TEAM

 ON IRWIN DETENTION CENTER WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT

 

(BROOKLYN, NY) – Andrea Sáenz, Attorney-in-Charge of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) for Brooklyn Defender Services, released the following statement about allegations of medical neglect and human rights violations raised by whistleblower Dawn Wooten, a nurse at the ICE detention center, Irwin Detention Center in Georgia:

“The accounts of torture and neglect at the Irwin Detention Center detailed by whistleblower Dawn Wooten are horrifying but sadly not shocking. From forced sterilization of immigrant women to life-threatening conditions that further the spread of COVID-19, these revelations once again demonstrate that the federal government continues to subject vulnerable people to inhumane, intolerable conditions. 

As attorneys representing detained immigrants in the New York City area, we know these types of atrocities happen at the over 200 ICE detention facilities across the country, including the jails where immigrants we represent are detained in New York and New Jersey. The people we represent have long reported dangerous, unsafe and negligent conditions, only exacerbated by the pandemic, including extreme isolation, lack of basic sanitation, and being denied adequate medical, mental health, and dental care and procedures. Across the country, immigrants in detention have resorted to hunger strikes to protest detention conditions.  

Immigrants do not need to be incarcerated as they fight their deportation cases. They can live and work in their communities where they can better support their families, and access counsel and evidence for their cases. We reaffirm our calls for ICE to cease raids and free all immigrants from their jails to allow them to remain safely with their families. We must end ICE detention and abolish ICE.”

BACKGROUND: Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) provides multi-disciplinary and client-centered criminal, family, and immigration defense, as well as civil legal services, social work support and advocacy for tens of thousands of people in Brooklyn every year.  Since the pandemic struck, BDS’ New York Immigrant Family Unity Project has taken successful legal action forcing ICE to release 75% of all the detained immigrants we serve.

###

News

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES’ STATEMENT ON MAYOR DE BLASIO’S COMMENTS ON THE ARRESTS OF SEX WORKERS

September 2, 2020

Contact: Dan Ball, dball@bds.org

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

BROOKLYN DEFENDER SERVICES’ STATEMENT ON MAYOR DE BLASIO’S COMMENTS ON THE ARRESTS OF SEX WORKERS

(BROOKLYN, NY) – Jillian Modzeleski, Senior Staff Attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services, released the following statement on comments made by Mayor de Blasio today that sex workers should not be arrested. His comments followed the City’s $5.6 million settlement in the death of Layleen Polanco in solitary confinement on Rikers Island, where she was detained pre-trial on prostitution and other charges. 

“It is long past time we dispel the myth that people arrested on prostitution charges, nearly all of whom are Black, Latinx and Asian transgender and cisgender women, are ‘rescued’ by police officers and benefit from being arrested and prosecuted or placed into court-ordered diversion programs. The Mayor’s comments today suggest he agrees that the City should end the arrests of people who do sex work, and we hope he follows through with action. At the same time, we must dispel the other myths that NYPD focuses on traffickers, which is belied by arrest data, and that criminalization keeps people safe. The Mayor apparently supports the Nordic Model, which decriminalizes the sale of sexual services while continuing to criminalize the promotion and purchase of services. However, our experience shows law enforcement’s distinction between people who engage in sex work and people who organize and profit from—or ‘promote’—it is a false binary, as the same people are arrested for either charge. The people who organize sex work are often sex workers. Moreover, the Nordic Model stigmatizes and criminalizes many parts of the sex work industry and continues to put people who engage in sex work at grave risk. Real change means disbanding the Vice Squad, which has engaged in abusive policing for decades, ending arrests for sex work, and ultimately decriminalizing the sale and purchase of sexual services, and it must come now.”

BACKGROUND: Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) provides multi-disciplinary and client-centered criminal, family, and immigration defense, as well as civil legal services, social work support and advocacy for tens of thousands of people in Brooklyn every year. BDS’ Human Trafficking Intervention Unit seeks to protect sex workers and victims of trafficking from the punitive nature of criminal legal system contact and provide meaningful services for those who are criminalized.