Bronx Defenders

Provides innovative, holistic, and client-centered criminal defense, family defense, civil legal services, social work support and advocacy to indigent people of the Bronx.
Organization website

Primary geographic focus: New York
Organization type(s): Provider

Begun in 1997, the Bronx Defenders provides innovative, holistic, and client-centered criminal defense, family defense, civil legal services, social work support and advocacy to indigent people of the Bronx. Today, our staff of over 250 represents 35,000 individuals each year and reaches hundreds more through outreach programs and community legal education. In the Bronx and beyond, The Bronx Defenders promotes justice in low-income communities by keeping families together.

We look beyond individual cases and use community education, leadership development, impact litigation, and legislative reform to challenge entrenched problems that drive individuals into the justice system. We operate on multiple levels: as a provider of Holistic Defense working one-on-one with clients and families; as a community resource; and as a force for systemic change advocating with policymakers. We seek partnerships with community-based providers and leverage their expertise to ensure that our clients’ expressed needs are addressed. We also rely upon our deep connections to community members to alert us to emerging trends that directly impact our clients’ well-being.


News Story

New York City foster care: stories from children and parents the system failed

Daniel Medina
July 1, 2015
A watchdog report reveals the Administration of Children’s Services has abused its power in family courts, wrongly taken children into custody and inadequately assisted those it claims to help.


Locked Up for Seeking Asylum

Elizabeth Rubin
New York Times (NYT)
April 2, 2016
International law holds that asylum seekers should be detained only in unusual circumstances. Yet our detention centers are filling up with people like Samey.

News Story

What Can You Do When the Cops Take Your Money and Won’t Give It Back?

Jake Offenhartz
September 29, 2016
Under New York City's opaque and arbitrary civil forfeiture system, seizing money from a woman not accused of a crime is a perfectly legal thing to do.


Mayor de Blasio is wrong to pick and choose which immigrants deserve counsel

Adriene Holder, Tina Luongo
New York Daily News
May 5, 2017
But due process doesn’t work this way.

News Story

Immigrants in Detention Centers Are Often Hundreds of Miles From Legal Help

Patrick Lee
May 16, 2017
Only a tiny percentage of detained immigrants have attorneys, leaving even those with solid cases to stay in the United States to fend for themselves.

Audio , News Story

Can New York Keep Immigration Agents Out of The Courthouses?

Beth Fertig
June 29, 2017
Public defenders claim immigration officers have already made more arrests inside and outside state courts so far in 2017 than they did in the previous two years combined.


When Should a Child be Taken From His Parents

Larissa MacFarquhar
New Yorker
August 1, 2017
In family court, judges must decide whether the risks at home outweigh the risks of separating a family.

News Story

Immigrants Fighting Off Deportation Just Got a Huge Boost in These 11 Cities and Counties

Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn
Mother Jones
November 11, 2017
A new initiative wants to make free legal counsel available to all.

News Story

City Tackles Roll-Out of Right to Counsel in Housing Court

Abigail Savitch-Lew
City Limits
January 17, 2018
n February 2017, after years of tenant advocacy, Mayor de Blasio made the announcement that New York City would become the first city in the nation to invest in universal access to counsel for low-income tenants in housing court.

News Story

Criminal Convictions Behind Them, Few Have Had Their Records Sealed

Jan Ransom
New York Times (NYT)
July 4, 2018
As of the end of May, the latest numbers available, 346 people statewide had had their convictions sealed


The Courts See a Crime. These Lawyers See a Whole Life.

Eli Hager
Marshall Project
November 12, 2018
Pairing old-school defense with attention to real-life problems gets people out of jail.

News Story

Videoconferencing in Immigration Court: High-Tech Solution or Rights Violation?

Christina Goldbaum
New York Times (NYT)
February 12, 2019
A new lawsuit filed in federal court by the Legal Aid Society and the Bronx Defenders asserts that mandatory videoconferencing in immigration proceedings violates immigrants' constitutional rights in a deliberate attempt to speed up and increase deportations.

News Story

Lawsuit says video hearings in immigration court deny due process, rush deportations

Terrence T. McDonald
February 13, 2019
A group of immigrant detainees allege in a new lawsuit that a shift in policy allowing for video teleconference hearings in immigration court violates their rights to due process and was created to rush deportations.

News Story

TV-Only Immigration Hearings Spur Court Challenge

Adam Klasfeld
Courthouse News Service
February 13, 2019
Seeking to mandate human interaction in immigration cases, the Legal Aid Society filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday night with help from the Brooklyn Defender Services and Bronx Defenders.


Stop the tide of deportations: A breakthrough program can stand up for New York’s immigrants

Sarah Deri Oshiro
New York Daily News
June 7, 2019
Every additional dollar going to NYIFUP will ensure universal and effective representation for immigrants with a target on their back.


New, Young Help for Poor in Infamous Bronx Courts

E. C. Gogolak
New York Times (NYT)
October 11, 2013
Columbia Law School students interning with the Bronx Defenders see how court cases affect other aspects of clients’ lives such as housing, immigration and child custody.

This page last modified: Tue, April 21, 2015 -- 1:27 pm ET