Saturday, December 14, 2019
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez via auth.ccsend.com - CALLING ALL UNDOCUMENTED NEW YORKER'S TO APPLY FOR DRIVERS LICENSES STARTING MONDAY
Friday, December 13, 2019
Founder Of The Blood Hound Brims Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Racketeering And Related Offenses
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LATIQUE JOHNSON, a/k/a “La Brim,” a/k/a “Straight 2 Business,” a/k/a “Breezy,” a/k/a “Boss Dog,” 39, of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison in connection with his leadership of the Blood Hound Brims, a violent street and prison gang that operated in New York City and elsewhere, and his participation in narcotics trafficking and acts of violence, including two shootings in 2012. JOHNSON was convicted on March 27, 2019, following a five-week jury trial before Judge Gardephe, who also imposed today’s sentence.
12 Members Of Crack Cocaine Distribution Ring Operating In Vicinity Of 125th Street And Lexington Avenue Charged With Narcotics And Firearms Offenses
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging 12 individuals with operating a crack cocaine distribution ring in the vicinity of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Six of the 12 defendants charged in the Indictment were arrested yesterday, and are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Sarah L. Cave in federal court later today. One of the defendants is already in state custody and will be presented at a later date. Five defendants remain at large. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr.
New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement after U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of New York Gary L. Sharpe granted a motion by the Office of the New York Attorney General to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola to block the Green Light law from taking effect:
“The Green Light law is legal and enforceable, and two separate federal courts have now already dismissed the meritless claims of two county clerks. Beginning Monday, the law will help make our roads safer, our economy stronger, and will allow immigrants to come out of the shadows to sign up as legal drivers in our state. We expect all public officials to comply with the law, and, as the state’s attorney and chief law enforcement officer, I will continue to vigorously defend it.”
This is the second lawsuit in the last month to be dismissed against the Green Light law. In November, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford similarly dismissed a suit brought forth by Erie County Clerk Michael (Mickey) Kearns to block implementation of the law.
Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo Leads the Way to Secure an Unprecedented $1.8 Billion State Investment in the South Bronx
Senator David Carlucci and Senator Gustavo Rivera released a joint report today highlighting a troubling suicide crisis in NYS, which is affecting people from all ethnicities, genders, and age groups across our state.
The report cites that suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in New York and one person dies by suicide every five hours in the State. This year alone, three people committed suicide by jumping to their deaths from the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York City. Twelve NYPD officers committed suicide in 2019, including two retired officers, causing the Department to declare a mental health emergency. Reports are now public concerning the crisis of Black youths committing suicide at an alarming rate, and Latinas, LGBT people, white middle-aged men, Asian immigrants, and the elderly are experiencing devastating record high numbers of people committing suicide.
Carlucci, Chair of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, and Rivera, Chair of the Committee on Health issued the report's findings and recommendations after a public hearing on suicide and suicide prevention, which included testimony from more than 20 health and mental health professionals with organizations on the front lines of this crisis. A common theme observed in this testimony was ending the stigma of suicide. Advocates believe breaking down the barrier of stigma associated with suicide and suicide ideation is vital to address this crisis.
Key findings in the report included that the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) must improve its ability to identify individuals at risk of suicide, more prevention must be focused in schools, hotlines where people can seek help must be improved, and stigma surrounding suicide must be addressed. To this end, the report suggested tracking more data about suicide, "to identify clusters, optimize services, design policies, and create messaging aimed at eliminating suicide attempts and death."
"As a society, we are truly in crisis. More and more people are choosing suicide as a way to cope with depression, stress and grief," said State Senator David Carlucci. "Senator Rivera and I issued this report with the intent of bringing comprehensive reforms to the table. Suicide can't be hidden behind a curtain, but must be discussed and addressed before we lose more lives."
"Senator Carlucci and I have a profound responsibility to support and expand suicide prevention efforts across our state. Our report is a comprehensive overview of the heartfelt testimony and unyielding dedication that experts and advocates shared with us at our Public Hearing," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "These recommendations and insights will help us grow and develop initiatives that save lives and heal communities. I look forward to putting our agenda into action in collaboration with our fellow legislators."
Further, recommendations from Carlucci's and Rivera's report, included: passing legislation to require Mental Health First Aid education in schools K-12 and colleges, establish a Black Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, improve intake and discharge procedures when a person has a self-inflicted injury, continuing education for teachers, college administrators and staff in Youth Mental First Aid training, and specialized training for doctors and other medical professionals.
Video from Suicide Prevention Hearing on June 4, 2019: https://www.youtube.com/
New Report on Suicide Prevention can be found here:
Historic Right to Council program expanding next week to five additional neighborhoods: Morris Heights in the Bronx, East New York in Brooklyn, East Harlem and Inwood in Manhattan, and Far Rockaway in Queens
The de Blasio Administration today announced the expansion of its right-to-counsel initiative to five new neighborhoods: Morris Heights in the Bronx, East New York in Brooklyn, East Harlem and Inwood in Manhattan, and Far Rockaway in Queens. The City’s right-to-counsel initiative is the first in the nation plan to provide guaranteed free legal representation to tenants facing eviction in housing court.
“No person should lose their home because they cannot afford a lawyer, and New York City is the first city in the country to make this a reality. Over 350,000 New Yorkers have received free legal assistance so far, setting us on the course to be the fairest, big city in America,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Through this initiative and the Administration’s unprecedented investments in increased legal services for tenants citywide—a staggering 21-fold increase from $6 million to $128 million—more than 350,000 New Yorkers have received free legal representation, advice, or assistance in eviction and other housing-related matters since 2014, with 30 percent fewer evictions in 2018 than 2013 as a result.
Since the City began implementing its ‘Universal Access’ initiative in 2017, 1 in 3 New Yorkers facing eviction now have right to free legal representation in court. Prior to this administration, approximately 1 in 100 tenants facing eviction had access to such services.
Last fiscal year alone, legal organizations funded by the City through HRA’s Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) provided legal assistance to more than 105,000 New Yorkers across 41,000 households––the first time OCJ’s tenant legal services programs have provided assistance to over 100,000 New Yorkers in a single fiscal year. This reflects a 24% increase in households served compared to the prior year and a 74% increase compared to FY2017, before the formal launch of right-to-counsel.
Right-to-counsel in New York City is being implemented via a phased-in “ZIP-by-ZIP” approach that has enabled OCJ to partner with the Housing Court administration and legal services providers to facilitate meaningful and effective method of providing access to counsel based on need. As a result, communities in need have seen a significant increase in the availability of legal services. Next week, the following ZIP Codes will begin receiving right-to-counsel services:
- 10453, Morris Heights, Bronx
- 11207, East New York, Brooklyn
- 10029, East Harlem, Manhattan
- 10034, Inwood, Manhattan
- 11691, Far Rockaway, Queens
Implementation through 2022 will follow the same “ZIP-by-ZIP” approach.
The expansion will be accompanied by a citywide campaign to launch in 2020 getting the word out about available resources and encouraging families experiencing housing instability to reach out. If you or someone you know is worried about losing your home, our City is here to help. Don’t hesitate—talk to a lawyer today.
Cities across the country have looked to Universal Access as a success. Unlike in New York City where investments in legal services are helping reduce evictions, evictions are up nationwide. As a result, cities across the country are looking at this Administration’s programs and successes as models, implementing their own versions of this program to provide similar protections to their residents:
- Cities with established right-to-counsel laws, programs, and/or initiatives:
- Localities where right-to-counsel is being considered and/or pursued:
“Helping New Yorkers stay in their homes is a cornerstone of our work to prevent homelessness,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Raul Perea-Henze. “The legal services provided by the Office of Civil Justice in our Human Resources Administration empower New Yorkers with tools to bridge the justice gap, and build the foundation for more stable and healthier communities. With the expansion to new zip codes, these services will continue to make a strong impact where the need is greatest.”
"Tenant harassment and unlawful evictions are the front lines of the City's affordability crisis. When New Yorkers know their rights and have access to free legal counsel, they can stay in their homes," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been." We look forward to more families getting the help they need, and will continue to preserve and build affordable housing to keep people in their homes and in the neighborhoods they love.”
While evictions are up all across the country, they are down in New York City because of the game-changing impact of providing lawyers for tenants in eviction cases, with the result that more than 100,000 New Yorkers have been able to avoid eviction and homelessness,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “When the de Blasio Administration took office, only 1 in 100 tenants facing eviction in housing court had a lawyer or access to legal services, with New Yorkers in need navigating a complex process that all too often stacked the deck against them. In less than three years, our City’s right-to-counsel initiative has helped dramatically level the playing field, with 1 in 3 tenants now receiving City-funded legal services in eviction cases. Access-to-counsel is not only keeping New Yorkers in their homes, but preserving stability and affordable housing across the five boroughs.”
“Our right-to-counsel results show that New York City is leading the nationwide fight to put the power back in tenants’ hands,” said Human Resources Administrator Grace Bonilla. “The incredible success this initiative has had in reducing residential evictions across New York City is inspiring the country to follow suit, with similar programs being implemented from San Francisco to Newark. We are on track to take this progress even further and look forward to delivering this resource to more New Yorkers across more neighborhoods, ensuring that all New Yorkers facing housing instability are provided with the legal resources they need to stay in their homes and communities.”
“With our latest expansion of the City's groundbreaking Universal Access initiative, HRA’s Office of Civil Justice and its partners will continue to close the "justice gap" for tenants facing eviction, and will continue making New York City the national leader in increasing, innovating and improving access to civil justice for people in need," said Civil Justice Coordinator Jordan Dressler.
"The expansion of Right-to-Counsel further demonstrates this Administration's dedication to leveling the playing field and making NYC the fairest big city," said Mayor's Public Engagement Unit Director Omar Khan. "As with any smart progressive policy, we must ensure that tenants facing eviction or other housing-related issues are aware of the free City services available to them, and I am pleased that PEU's proactive outreach on this issue will continue to expand as the Universal Access program is rolled out citywide."
“Right to counsel is one of the biggest accomplishments of the Council’s last session and I thank my colleagues Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson and my predecessor Speaker Mark-Viverito for their leadership and determination in making it happen. This Council welcomes this expansion and will continue to do everything in our power to protect tenants,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.