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Opinions & Editorials

Mar
27
2015
Op-Ed: Time to Amend State's Shameful Juvenile Justice Policy (Albany Times Union)

By Mishi Faruqee and Corey Stoughton New York is at a crossroads. Once at the forefront of sound, effective policies for juvenile justice, New York is now one of only two states (the other is North Carolina) that prosecutes all children as adults when they turn 16. Under federal law, New York must therefore put 16- and 17-year olds in adult prisons and jails instead of in juvenile facilities.

Feb
22
2015
Op-Ed: Body Cameras are Reform in Action (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

By KaeLyn Rich In a tense moment for police-community relations, Rochester is emerging as a leader in reform. Mayor Lovely Warren announced that the city’s entire police force will wear body cameras — making Rochester among the largest forces in the state to adopt the technology wholesale.

Feb
5
2015
Column: The 'Serial' Podcast and Disparate Impact: Civil Rights and the Real World (New York Law Journal)

By Christopher Dunn With the Supreme Court having announced last month that it will take up momentous cases about same-sex marriage and the death penalty, the Court has positioned itself to be at the center of the country’s ongoing civil rights debate later this year. But for now, two other civil rights controversies occupy center stage, albeit on very different wings.

Feb
3
2015
Op-Ed: City Should Help Students who Misbehave (NY Daily News)

By Donna Lieberman Education is a child's right — not a reward for good behavior. Sadly, in our public schools, the kids who need help the most are often the same kids missing school because of a suspension, ticket or even an arrest. During 2013-14, more than four arrests or criminal summonses were issued every day of the school year, turning routine misbehavior like drawing on the desk into criminal matters. “Insubordination” and horseplay resulted in nearly 14,000 suspensions for sixth through 12th graders.

Dec
4
2014
Column: Police Killings of Unarmed Black Men: Why No Federal Prosecutions? (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn Last week's decision by a grand jury not to indict the officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, once again has triggered a national debate about criminal prosecutions of police officers.

Nov
11
2014
Op-Ed: NYPD's Change in Policy is an Improvement, but Let's Hope it Ends 'Marijuana Crusade' (NY Daily News)

By Donna Lieberman Nearly 40 years ago, New York State made possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation – like speeding or ignoring a stop light. But year after year, marijuana possession has remained the top reason the NYPD arrests New Yorkers. Every aspect of a person’s life can be impacted by a marijuana arrest, including eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, job opportunities, child custody and even immigration status.

Oct
27
2014
Op-Ed: Government Going Beyond its Authority with Ebola Quarantine (NY Daily News)

By Donna Lieberman Ebola is a public health issue, and our policies should be driven by the best public health practices — not politics. Happily, that is what Mayor de Blasio and other New York City officials have been doing. They responded based on facts, not fear.

Oct
2
2014
Column: Justice Department and New York Civil Rights Cases (New York Law Journal)

by Christopher Dunn Last Thursday, a front page story in The New York Times announced that the U.S. Department of Justice would be filing papers in a class action civil suit — brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union and Schulte Roth & Zabel — in New York state court challenging the constitutional adequacy of the state's system for providing defense services to indigent criminal defendants. Later that day, news emerged that Attorney General Eric Holder would be resigning once a successor was in place.

Sep
18
2014
Op-Ed: Set Public Defender Standards (Albany Times Union)

By Donna Lieberman Public defense attorneys are often the only thing standing between poor, vulnerable New Yorkers facing criminal charges and the series of misfortunes they suffer if they're wrongfully stuck in jail — unemployment, homelessness, losing their kids, not to mention the loss of freedom itself. But across most of New York state, well-intentioned defense attorneys are too often prevented from adequately representing their clients, creating a two-tiered system of justice in which the poor are second-class.

Sep
18
2014
Op-Ed: New York State is at Fault for Onondaga County's Wrecked Public Defense System (Syracuse Post-Standard)

By Donna Lieberman This fall, New York state is going on trial for its failure to provide legal services to poor people accused of crimes. It will be the first trial of its kind in the nation. The lawsuit, Hurrell-Harring v. New York, brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union and our co-counsel at Schulte, Roth and Zabel LLP, has been ongoing for seven years. But the state's failure to provide public defense has been ongoing for 50 years. It is finally time for change.

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