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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.
In May 2012, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a detailed analysis of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk activity during 2011. Based on the NYPD database that the Department now makes public following earlier NYCLU litigation, the 2011 report examined stops, frisks, summonses, arrests, the use of force and gun recoveries, all on a citywide and precinct basis. The 2011 report also delved into the wide racial disparities in the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk regime.
This report, Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York’s Prisons, is the product of an intensive, year-long investigation that involved communication with more than 100 people who have spent significant amounts of time – in one case, more than 20 years – in extreme isolation. The authors interviewed prisoners’ family members and corrections staff, and analyzed thousands of pages of Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) records obtained through the state’s open records laws.
The February 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo by police officers in the NYPD’s Street Crimes Unit triggered a broad public controversy about racial profiling and stop-and-frisk that continues to this day. Not only did the shooting prompt widespread protests, but it led the New York State Attorney General’s Office to conduct a detailed study of NYPD stop-and-frisk activity and led the New York City Council to enact legislation requiring the Police Department to provide quarterly reports about stop-and-frisk activity.
This report is the first-ever in-depth examination of the Border Patrol’s transportation raids in upstate New York. It paints a disturbing picture of an agency resorting to aggressive policing tactics in order to increase arrest rates, without regard for the costs and consequences of its practices on New Yorkers’ rights and freedoms. The report extends beyond transportation raids to other Border Patrol practices as well, raising serious concerns about an agency that appears to be driven by the belief that the regular rules of the Constitution do not apply to it.
Taking Tasers Seriously: The Need for Better Regulation of Stun Guns in New York analyzes 851 Taser incident reports from eight police departments across the state as well as 10 departments’ policies and guidelines for using the weapons, which deliver up to 50,000 volts of electricity and have caused the deaths of more than a dozen New Yorkers in recent years. The report concludes that police officers throughout New York State are consistently misusing and overusing Tasers.