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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

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Jonathan Lippman

Jonathan Lippman

  • De Blasio Pulled to Rikers Closure by Mark-Viverito, Activists

    de Blasio Rikers

    De Blasio at Rikers (photo: Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that he is putting into motion a planning process to close the jails on Rikers Island. The mayor, a first-term Democrat up for re-election this fall, was pulled somewhat begrudgingly to the politically- and fiscally-tenuous position by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who called for Rikers to be closed in her 2016 State of the City speech and formed a commission to create a plan to do so. That commission, led by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, is set to

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  • Much Agreement on Need for Bail Reform, But Little Movement

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    On Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    There is an ongoing conversation in New York about how to fix the bail system that many agree is broken, keeping too many poor people in jail after they are arrested for low-level nonviolent offenses but cannot afford to post bond and, at times, allowing individuals back onto the street who are prone to violence but able to pay bail. Efforts at reform have been full of fits and starts.

    About a month ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced measures to make

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  • Shut Down the Criminal Court

    courtroom


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito should be commended for using her State of the City address, titled "More Justice," to call for criminal justice reform. She rightly observes that "we need more justice in the justice system" and ticked off some specific goals, including reducing the population at Rikers Island, creating civil procedures for minor violations, and improving the warrant process. However, the speaker

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  • To Eradicate Sex Trafficking, Prosecute the Pimps and Buyers

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    Lauren Hersh, the author (at podium), and other activists 


    Sarah was 13 years old when she was lured into prostitution by two men from her New York City neighborhood. For the next two years, she was sold to buyers who were eager to purchase her adolescent body. Her pimp required her to meet a quota and when she didn't, she was brutalized.

    There were many moments when Sarah tried to leave the life of prostitution. Each time, her exploiter would threaten to harm her or worse, her little sister. Sarah felt helpless and trapped. So, she stayed.

    Sarah was

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  • 'Dangerousness' Aspect of Cuomo's Bail Plan Troubles Reformers

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    Gov. Cuomo delivers his State of the State


    In his recently-released policy agenda for 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a plan to reform the state's bail system. While it has not been fully fleshed out yet, Cuomo's proposal dictates that judges would use a scientific assessment tool to determine an individual's "risk to public safety" while setting bail, a proposal similar to one Mayor Bill de Blasio recently made, with both coming under fire from criminal justice reformers.

    De Blasio made ...

  • Incoming DAs Plan to Join Thompson and Vance Warrant-Clearing Efforts

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    DA Vance with Commissioner Bratton, photo via @NYPDNews

     


     

    In an effort to reduce the city’s backlog of 1.3 million open arrest warrants for unanswered summonses for non-violent offenses such as being in a park after dark, having an open container of alcohol, and littering, city district attorneys are holding amnesty events,

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  • Discussion of New York's 'Broken Bail System' Comes to Brooklyn

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    Mayor de Blasio testifies in front of Judge Lippman (photo: Demetrius Freeman, Mayor's Office)


    New York's “broken bail system” puts an estimated 50,000 people behind city bars each year simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. These people are accused of low-level, non-violent offenses, many of whom wind up not even seeing trial or being convicted of a crime. But, they do not have the means to pay bail,

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Sept. 28-Oct. 2

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    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 2

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio does some road repaving on Staten Island, via the Mayor's Office; Gov. Cuomo checks out the beer at the Anheuser

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  • At 'Begin Again,' Signs of New Approach to Broken Justice System

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    DA Thompson, center, with Council Members Williams & Cumbo (@JumaaneWilliams)


    During Father's Day weekend, hundreds of individuals received the gift of a new beginning. The Brooklyn District Attorney's office held a 'Begin Again' event to lift open arrest warrants related to summonses for low-level offenses ranging from public intoxication, the most common violation, to being

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  • Through Committee, Bill to Create Office of Civil Justice Heads Toward Law

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    Mark-Viverito, front, & Levine, behind her, are the lead sponsors (photo: William Alatriste)


    New York City is one step closer to having a new Office of Civil Justice. On Tuesday, the City Council's Committee on Courts and Legal Services unanimously passed a bill that would create the office, to be tasked with assessing, coordinating, and helping reform the civil legal services available to low-income New Yorkers. Among the most pressing concerns are ensuring legal representation for immigrants facing deportation

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