The New York Bureau

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Jonathan Lippman: New York’s ‘Pro-Activist’ Judge

Judge Jonathan Lippman

A life-long New Yorker, Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, uses his role as the chief judge to promote alternatives to incarceration and backed the creation of nine pilot community courts, called Adolescent Diversion Courts. Not quite family courts, not quite criminal courts, Lippman describes them as “problem solving courts” overseen by judges who have received special training for trying non-violent youthful offenders and can connect the teens with services and programs outside of incarceration. But observers say the judge is by no means soft on crime. Continue Reading →

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A Celebration of Peace in a Community Touched By Gun Violence

Young girls sit together at the "Children's Day of Peace" event at the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway.

At a children’s summer party last Saturday afternoon at the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway, Penny Wrencher made an introduction between two friends. “This is Nene,” Wrencher said to Taylonn Murphy, “She lost her daughter, too.” Continue Reading →

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Discord Among Parents in Wake of Harlem Raid

The killing of Tayshana Murphy on September 11, 2011 sparked a feud  between The Manhattanville Houses and the Grant Houses in West Harlem leaving stretch of a street along Old Broadway a virtual war zone.

NEW YORK — The residents of the Manhattanville and Grant Houses in West Harlem have a new touchstone, a specific moment to organize their collective memory, a way to divide their lives. Just a month after the New York Police Department conducted the largest raid in the city’s history, the residents who experienced it have a way to refer to their lives in clear “before and after” terms, like old historical abbreviations B.C. and A.D.

In the Manhattanville and Grant Houses there was life before The Raid and life after The Raid. Life has gone on, but it has changed, residents and activists say. Continue Reading →

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Manhattan DA: Young Defendants Hurt by Broken Prosecution System

Cyrus Vance Jr., Manhattan district attorney, participates in a panel discussion on Tuesday at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

NEW YORK — In a spirited and candid discussion Tuesday morning between elected officials and researchers at a conference on incarceration reform at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said that the business model of how his office operates “does not make sense” and that it fails young, minor offenders who pile up misdemeanors until they face serious consequences in the criminal justice system.

“I think in almost in every prosecution office I know of, at least state prosecutors, as a business model we don’t make sense, because we put our youngest assistants, and not the most resources on the largest number of cases we deal with,” he said. Continue Reading →

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