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Brooklyn Defender Services
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Founded in 1995, Brooklyn Defender Services currently provides free legal services to 40,000 clients in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Focusing on the individual client’s needs and addressing the case from the standpoint of how it will affect the client’s life, BDS attorneys are highly skilled and dedicated. They are provided with excellent investigators to research the facts, find witnesses, look into defenses and make sure that every client's case is fully explored from a factual standpoint. Special care is taken to avoid negative collateral consequences, such as deportation, loss of housing, loss of employment and other indirect results of a criminal conviction. In the 18 years since it was founded, Brooklyn Defender Services has achieved a national reputation among public defender offices for the excellent quality of advocacy the attorneys provide on behalf of their clients.

Entries by Brooklyn Defender Services

Open Letter from Brooklyn Defender Services to City, State & Federal Elected Officials

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 9:24 AM

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December 30, 2014

The New York City Board of Correction is currently considering a proposal to lower the minimum standards of care for people incarcerated in city jails in order to create highly restrictive administrative segregation units. Brooklyn Defender Services strongly...

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Police Violence Is a Systemic Problem With No End in Sight

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 2:16 PM

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On Thursday, November 20, Akai Gurley, 28 years old and a former client of ours at Brooklyn Defender Services, was shot and killed by probationary Police Officer Peter Liang. Liang was patrolling an apartment complex in East New York -- gun in hand....

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Reducing Population at Rikers Island the Quickest Path to Meaningful Reforms

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2014 | 8:53 AM

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We are encouraged that the New York City Council is discussing issues of brutality and neglect on Rikers Island and is seeking to hold accountable the public and private officials tasked with managing these facilities. It seems there is widespread agreement that the...

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Connecting the Dots: The Entire Criminal Justice System Is in Need of an Overhaul

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 6:23 PM

The recent in media coverage of the abuses of law enforcement and corrections department staff elicit a range of emotions, particularly among those of us working in the criminal justice system who hear about and witness these incidents on a daily basis. On the one hand, the gut-wrenching depictions of...

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Policymakers Must Include Incarcerated People in Jail Reform Process

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 2:22 PM

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The New York City Council is investigating mental health services and violence on Rikers Island and in other city jails as recent media reports have renewed the public's interest on this topic. At a recent oversight hearing conducted by...

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Do the Crime, Do the Time? The Failed Policies of Permanent Punishment

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 11:35 AM

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It's time to eliminate the so-called collateral consequences of criminal convictions -- the known and unknown penalties that follow people convicted of crimes, sometimes for the rest of their lives. The American Bar Association has compiled a national list of 38,000...

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Snail-Paced Reforms at City Jails Are Unacceptable

(1) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 10:54 AM

Every year more than 300,000 people are arrested in New York City and roughly 100,000 people cycle through the city jail system at a cost to the taxpayer of $167,731 per incarcerated person per year. Most people held on Rikers Island and other borough specific facilities --

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Getting it Right: Raising the Age and Justice System Reforms for Adolescents

(1) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 1:45 PM

David is sixteen years old and lives in a New York City homeless shelter with his mother. He has been arrested three times in the past year for possession of a knife, most recently after robbing another teenager of their iPhone. His living situation is dangerous and chaotic, and he...

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A Right to Attorney: NYC Looks at a Possible Fix for the Immigration Court Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2013 | 3:12 PM

Everyone in the United States has the right to an attorney in criminal court. The same is not true in immigration deportation proceedings -- which are administrative in nature, rather than criminal. This strange gap in the law leaves hundreds of thousands of people on their own to defend against...

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