The NYCLU is a public-interest law firm that principally addresses issues involving challenges to a government law, policy or practice affecting the constitutional rights – that is, the civil liberties and civil rights – of a significant number of people arising in New York State. Find out how to get help with such an issue.
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In New York City, year after year it is the most frequent reason a person is arrested. Statewide, New York’s marijuana arrest rate of 535 arrests per 100,000 people was the highest of any state in 2010 and double the national average. That year there were 103,698 marijuana-possession arrests in New York State – 29,000 more than Texas, the state with the next highest total.
Do I have the right to an attorney?
Today, if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to retain an attorney. Under the U.S. Constitution and the New York State Constitution, if you cannot afford an attorney, a public defense attorney should be provided for you at the expense of the state.
When should I first talk to my attorney?
The right to an attorney is guaranteed under the United States Constitution. In 1963, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that everyone accused of a crime is entitled to a competent lawyer even if he or she cannot afford one.
The year 2013 was a dramatic one for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program.
As the public controversy over stop-and-frisk became a central issue in the campaign to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, street interrogations fell precipitously during the year to 191,558 recorded stops – the lowest since 2004. And the last quarter of 2013 had fewer than 13,000 stops, putting the city on pace for 50,000 annual stops.
The dramatic increase in stop-and-frisk was the signature public safety initiative during the 12 years that Michael Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City and Raymond Kelly served as commissioner of the NYPD. That initiative sparked a national controversy, cast a cloud over a time when murders fell to record lows, and became the central issue leading to the election of Bill de Blasio, who ran on a commitment to reform stop-and-frisk.
When a family welcomes a new child or a family member has a medical emergency, too many New Yorkers are not able to take paid time off work.
Paid Family Leave legislation will support New York workers by guaranteeing paid family leave to bond with their newborns and newly adopted children and to care for seriously ill family members.
Paid family leave is good for New York families, good for New York businesses, and good for New York’s economy.
The victories of 2013 were far-reaching and numerous: Fair marriage won the day in the Supreme Court as DOMA tumbled, and stop-and-frisk was condemned as unconstitutional, opening the way for broad, progressive reforms. New York City and State stand poised for positive change, buoyed by a new mayoral administration explicitly committed to equity and advancing the rights of all New Yorkers.
The NYCLU’s report -- Beyond “Deliberate Indifference”: An NYPD for All New Yorkers – documents the failures of the NYPD under the Bloomberg administration with regard to discriminatory policing practices. It also provides detailed recommendations for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to guide much-needed reform and offers a roadmap for a transparent, accountable NYPD that responds to, and respects, the needs of all New Yorkers.
The New York Civil Liberties Union called on Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio to take steps during his first 100 days in office to restore New York City to a place where the rights and liberties of all people are protected and promoted by adopting a series of reforms that address issues of race, policing, education, immigrants’ rights, government accountability and the First Amendment.
Overly punitive school discipline feeds the school-to-prison pipeline and contributes to the failure of New York’s public school system to educate the city’s most disadvantaged students.
Research consistently demonstrates the importance of keeping students with the greatest academic and economic needs in school.