On October 4, 2017, ECBA and co-counsel Romano & Kuan PLLC filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of presumptively innocent criminal defendants held for hours or days in New York City jails despite being entitled to release on bail. The complaint alleges that the City has been deliberately indifferent to the problem of unreasonable systemic delays in accepting bail payments and in processing detainees for release once bail is posted. The suit details a Kafka-esque system where antiquated technology, inadequate staffing, and indifference conspire to keep thousands of New Yorkers each year in jail for hours or days without any legal basis.
To read the complaint, click here.
To read coverage of the lawsuit in the New York Daily News, click here.
ECBA’s Matt Brinckerhoff , Debbie Greenberger, and David Lebowitz, along with Julia Kuan of Romano and Kuan, represent the plaintiffs.
ECBA brought suit on behalf of Keith Mitchell against the NYPD detective who wrongfully arrested and prosecuted him for a burglary and assault he did not commit. Mr. Mitchell spent more than two years at Rikers Island waiting for a trial to clear his name before being acquitted by a jury. To read the New York Daily News’ coverage of this lawsuit click here. Mr. Mitchell is represented by Debra L. Greenberger and Doug Lieb.
Legal Services NYC, with support and additional counsel from ECBA’s Matthew Brinckerhoff, has reached a settlement with the NYPD in Padilla-Torres v. City of New York, a 2013 federal discrimination lawsuit alleging that the civil rights of domestic violence survivors with limited English proficiency had been violated by denying them interpreters. As part of the settlement, the NYPD has agreed to equip all officers in the field with smartphones that can interpret over 240 languages. Additionally, over the next 18 months, the NYPD will provide its officers with training on how to use this smartphone application and when to recognize that an interpreter is necessary.
The plaintiffs in the case were denied safety and interpreters after being attacked by their partners. In response to calls of domestic abuse, officers would often let the abusers speak on behalf of their victims. In some of the more egregious instances, this would result in the arrest of the victims themselves, as was the case for Arlet Macareno, one of the plaintiffs. After being pushed down a flight of stairs by her husband, the police arrived at Ms. Macareno’s home without a Spanish interpreter. Ms. Macareno tried to explain that she was the victim of her husband’s aggression, but instead of arresting him, the officers arrested Ms. Macareno and charged her with obstruction of justice. This settlement will provide NYPD officers with the resources to ensure that no New Yorker is subjected to the same injustices as Ms. Macareno.
To read the New York Times’ coverage of the settlement, click here. To read the Legal Services NYC press release, click here.
ECBA represents the mother, sister, and estate administrator of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by Cleveland police officers in November 2014 while he was playing in the park. On October 16, 2015, ECBA sent a letter on behalf of Tamir’s family to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty, criticizing his handling of the criminal investigation into the police officers who killed Tamir and calling for appointment of an independent special prosecutor.
The letter criticizes the prosecutor’s 11-month delay in presenting this case to a grand jury and condemns his decision to retain pro-police “experts” and release their reports exculpating the officers to the media. The letter documents that the prosecutor’s so-called “experts” have a track-record of bias in favor of the police. It also lays out some of the many legal and factual errors in their reports, including that they ignored contradictory video evidence, the fact that the shooter’s prior employer found him emotionally unfit to be a police officer, and the Department of Justice’s finding that the Cleveland police have a pattern of using excessive force.
Because of the way the prosecutor has handled the case so far, the Rice family now believes that the grand jury presentation will be nothing short of a charade aimed at whitewashing this police killing of a 12-year-old child.
Read ECBA’s letter to Prosecutor McGinty here.
Read some of the coverage about the letter in the Washington Post.
To read the New York Times‘ coverage click here.
To read the Wall Street Journal‘s coverage click here.
ECBA attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Earl S. Ward, and Zoe Salzman represent the mother, sister, and estate administrator of Tamir Rice.
Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (ECBA) is lead counsel representing the Estate of Tamir Rice. Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child, was tragically shot and killed by Cleveland police officers on November 22, 2014 in a case which has now received widespread attention across the nation. The firm also represents Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, and his sister. ECBA is co-counseling the case with The Chandra Law Firm, LLC from Cleveland, Ohio and FirmEquity of Chicago, Illinois.
The City has agreed to pay $50,001 as well as ECBA’s attorneys’ fees and costs to resolve the federal civil rights lawsuit of Kelly Schomburg, who was pepper sprayed without provocation and falsely arrested during an Occupy Wall Street protest. ECBA attorneys Debra L. Greenberger and Earl S. Ward represent Ms. Schomburg. The Daily News, the New York Law Journal, the Associated Press, NPR, and the Guardian, among other outlets, covered the lawsuit.
ECBA on behalf of the New York City Public Advocate, Letitia James, filed an action to unseal grand jury materials related to the killing of Eric Garner by NYPD officers in Staten Island. On December 10, 2014, Richmond County Supreme Court Justice Stephen Rooney ordered that Ms. James’s motion must itself be filed in secret and withheld from the public. Ms. James then lodged an emergency appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Second Department, which swiftly ruled in her favor and directed that her motion be disclosed and made available to the public. In the wake of this ruling, Justice Rooney has scheduled a public hearing for December 19, 2014 on whether to unseal grand jury materials related to the death of Eric Garner. ECBA attorneys Matthew D. Brinckerhoff and R. Orion Danjuma are representing the Public Advocate in this action.
To read The New York Law Journal coverage, click here. To read The New York Observer coverage, click here.
To read “Policing the Police,” please click here.
After less than an hour of deliberations, a unanimous jury in Bronx Supreme Court found New York City and an NYPD Sergeant liable for the shooting death of 19-yr old Leonel Disla on October 30, 2005. Ilann M. Maazel, Zoe Salzman and paralegal Ian Wahrenbrock represented the Disla family at trial. Prior ECBA lawyers and paralegals who represented the Disla estate include Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, Earl Ward, Elora Mukherjee, Alba Morales, Leda DeRosa, and Jessica Buchanan.
To read more, click here.
The City of New York has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit brought by John Daniels, the father of Ronald Spear, a 52-year old man who was beaten to death by corrections officers while being held at Rikers Island. Mr. Spear, who suffered from chronic kidney disease, was killed after he requested medical treatment on December 19, 2012. Autopsy records revealed that Mr. Spear suffered blunt force trauma to his body and head. The City Medical Examiner ruled Mr. Spear’s death a homicide. Mr. Daniels is represented by ECBA’s Jonathan S. Abady and Zoe Salzman, along with co-counsel Jonathan Chasan and Mary Lynne Werlwas of the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project (PRP).
To read more about the case, click here.