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David Feige
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David Feige, the former Trial Chief of The Bronx Defenders, is a Professor of Law and Director of Advocacy Programs at Seton Hall Law School, and the co-creator of the TNT series "Raising the Bar".

He has written for the NY Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, Slate, Fortune, and The Nation among others. David is a regular commentator for Court TV and MSNBC and his commentaries on the criminal justice system can be heard on NPR and its local affiliate WNYC. INDEFENSIBLE, a book about a day in his life as a public defender in the South Bronx, was published by Little,Brown & Co and is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

Entries by David Feige

Posting Bail for the Poorest of the Poor

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 4:33 PM

$500 makes all the difference.

For thousands of indigent criminal defendants in New York City, $500 is all that stands between weeks on Riker's Island and being branded with a criminal conviction, and having the case against them dismissed. The problem is that when you're really poor, finding $500 bucks...

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Let's Finally Say It: The Dow Favors Democrats and Loves Obama

(86) Comments | Posted September 27, 2010 | 6:03 PM

It is an article of faith among the right wing punditocracy that the Democrats are bad for business, bad for the markets, and bad for the economy. The numbers, though, tell a completely different story. And yet, we Democrats seem powerless to counter this right-wing narrative. Rather than tout our...

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My President's Day Message--An Open Letter to President Obama

(9) Comments | Posted February 15, 2010 | 11:06 PM


Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for all your e-mails over the past few years. Energized by the spirit of tolerance and the promise of change, I have enjoyed signing petitions, opening my heart and my home to your events, and even sending in the occasional donation or two....

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Socializing Risk, Privatizing Profit

(2) Comments | Posted September 25, 2008 | 12:51 PM

With an economic meltdown already in full swing, there is little question injecting some liquidity into the economy is a fine idea. Even doing so by buying a boatload of bad securities that no one seems to be able to properly value might not be fully idiotic, but doing so...

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Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards! Judges, Bail and Coercive Plea Bargains

(3) Comments | Posted April 6, 2008 | 6:25 PM

Michael Brick's ambitious piece in today's New York Times about the wide ranging narcotics prosecutions in the housing projects of Brooklyn omitted some important details which suggest that the "historic conspiracy" referred to by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office was not the series of drug transactions being...

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Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: How Judges Make You Do the Time Even If You Didn't Do the Crime

(24) Comments | Posted April 2, 2008 | 11:20 AM

In the layman's view of the criminal-justice system, defendants go to trial, are convicted or acquitted of certain charges, and if convicted, are sentenced for the offenses. But try to explain the reality of being sentenced for acquitted conduct, and you're likely to be met with stares of astonishment. "You...

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The Wire's Ineffective War on Juries

(6) Comments | Posted March 18, 2008 | 3:13 AM

While the last episode of The Wire may not have wrapped up quite as cleanly as some closure-loving commentators would have liked, the final act of the writers -- captured not on the little screen but in the pages of Time Magazine -- was a stunning and brazen act of...

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Nifong, Gitmo and the Topless Undercover: The Top 10 Criminal Justice Stories of 2007

(3) Comments | Posted January 1, 2008 | 9:19 PM

If there is one truism about America it is this: we are obsessed with crime and punishment. Every lurid tragedy produces calls for tougher laws and harsher punishments and these days, when calamity strikes, someone goes to prison (except for #9 below).

And so, herewith, 2007's top 10 criminal...

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The DA Say: Legislate My Salary!

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2007 | 10:42 AM

So it looks like one good thing happened this little-noticed election day. Comeuppance for Oregon prosecutor Joshua Marquis, the staunch death penalty defender who has argued over the years that innocent people basically never get convicted and that even DNA exonerations don't mean someone is actually innocent. Though the final...

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Help! My Publisher is a Greedy Corporation!

(18) Comments | Posted November 7, 2007 | 11:08 AM

It's hard to match the schadenfreude that comes from reading a headline like "Conservative Authors Sue Publisher" particularly when the publisher is the odious Regnery and mewling plaintiffs are "authors" like Jerome R. Corsi, Lt. Col. Robert (Buzz) Patterson and Richard Miniter -- men who have collectively penned...

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Strike Two...

(15) Comments | Posted November 5, 2007 | 11:07 PM

Maybe it's just the east coast, but I have to say that 30 Rock didn't feel like a hotbed of labor activity this afternoon. There were a lot of writers--actually too many for the small "pen" erected by the NYPD. There was also an excellent band, a fine snare drummer,...

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But I Just Started...

(5) Comments | Posted November 4, 2007 | 11:55 PM

My very cool WGAE card came in the mail a few weeks ago, followed four days later by a strike authorization form. So just when the golden doors of promise had miraculously swung open for me, I will be spending my time marching in a little circle in the midst...

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30 Years for a 12-Year-Old?

(28) Comments | Posted June 21, 2007 | 4:51 PM

Christopher Pittman killed his grandparents with a shotgun. He was 12-years-old, stood 5-foot-2 and weighed 96 pounds. He had already been hospitalized for attempting suicide. Despite his age, size and psychiatric history, Christopher was tried as an adult and sentenced to 30 years in adult prison. Just last week, the...

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Feminist Smackdown: How Katha Pollitt's Comic Counter-Punch Trounced Ana Marie Cox's Uber-Snideness

(5) Comments | Posted September 6, 2006 | 5:26 PM

Katha Pollitt is one of America's most versatile and visible feminists. For more than a decade she's contributed a trenchant column to The Nation. Virginity or Death! -- a collection of her Nation Columns -- was published by Random House in June. Savaged in a New York Times book...

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The Faulty Numbers Behind Scalia's Deadly Detour

(17) Comments | Posted July 16, 2006 | 4:48 PM

Alan Newton left a New York prison last week after serving 22 years for a rape he didn't commit. Though eligible for parole for nearly a decade, he was repeatedly denied his freedom because he insisted on his innocence. Through repeated motions, and letters from his prison cell, Newton relentlessly...

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Inside the Politics of Prosecution

(2) Comments | Posted June 25, 2006 | 4:17 PM

A few weeks ago, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that statements made in the workplace may not actually be protected by the first amendment. The ruling has been criticized as a serious setback for whistleblowers, and it may well be. But Garcetti v. Ceballos says something else too --...

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Why Some of Corporate America Hates Amnesty...

(18) Comments | Posted May 27, 2006 | 1:54 PM

In this midst of the great immigration debate, it makes sense to pause for a moment to consider some the interests arrayed against relaxed enforcement of our labyrinthine immigration policies. Who, after all, stands to benefit from stepped-up enforcement? How about the Prison-Industrial complex and it's web of for-profit prison...

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Arresting the Cigarette Sellers?

(4) Comments | Posted May 13, 2006 | 12:06 AM

So I get this e-mail from the Center for Court Innovation today. They're a very well-funded very official arm of the Unified Court System of the State of New York: very serious business.

And they've started a blog.

And they very sweetly asked me to take a...

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The Race Card and Pernicious Prosecutions

(20) Comments | Posted May 3, 2006 | 2:19 PM

If there were any doubt before, the election of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong proves conclusively that pandering works, and that it works even better if you can exploit racial divisions to harm rather than heal. Nifong, of course is the prosecutor who has been hounding the Duke University lacrosse...
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Granny Power

(1) Comments | Posted April 30, 2006 | 9:12 PM

It's not easy to find heroes these days--particularly political ones. Looking across the landscape of the left, there remain a few rhetoricians, an awkward academic or two, and of course our aging rock star of an ex-president. And then there are the grannies.

I suppose it should come as no...

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