BENEFITING: BRONX DEFENDERS
The Bronx Defenders (http://www.bronxdefenders.org/), and its pioneering holistic defense model, are vital not only to the New York City community, but also the nation, serving as the benchmark organization whose model is being adopted by other communities with a dedication to improving social justice. Taking public defense beyond the "potted plant" defense attorneys we so often see depicted on TV crime shows, the attorneys at the Bronx Defenders are passionate advocates who provide not only criminal and civil representation to indigent clients, but also take an active role in improving all aspects of a client's life--focusing on their work, education, counseling, and family related needs.
Moreover, a staggering new report has just been released by Human Rights Watch entitled "The Price of Freedom" (http://www.hrw.org/en/node/94574/section/5). In short, the sad truth is that an alarmingly high number of non-felony offenders are being forced to plead guilty so as to avoid spending time in prison due solely to their inability to post bail--and for crimes that very often do not even result in a sentence of incarceration upon conviction. You heard it right: these are crimes for which defendants are released from custody if they plead guilty, but they are incarcerated awaiting trial if they are too poor to afford their bail. "In 87% of the cases (16,649) in which the defendants arrested in 2008 had bail set at $1,000 or less, the defendants were not able to post bail at their arraignment and incarcerated pending trial." Such a policy has a devastating effect on the community, essentially forcing defendants to choose between their freedom (and their familial, educational, and professional responsibilities) and their constitutional right to defend themselves in court.
These are precisely the types of clients whose rights the Bronx Defenders fight for everyday, often without thanks or recognition, and in the face of a criminal justice system stacked heavily against them.
I have had the distinct honor of working closely with this organization on a pro bono basis. Thus, it is not only from a philanthropic perspective, but a personal one, that I ask you to please donate to this worthy cause today. No donation is too small (or too large). And all donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE.