FWD.us Statement on New York State Assembly’s Passage of the Walker Reform Bill

Posted by FWD.us Press on 06/12/2018

WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement today as upon the New York State Assembly’s passage of A10137A, the Walker Reform Bill:

“We applaud the New York State Assembly and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker for passing the Walker Reform Bill (A10137A) which reforms New York bail practices and will safely and effectively drive down New York’s jail populations.

“Assembly Bill A10137A eliminates money bail for nearly all misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies while strictly limiting the use of preventive detention, or pretrial incarceration without the possibility of release. These changes will go a long way towards ending wealth based detention in New York while allowing for safe and significant reductions to the state’s jail populations.

“If signed into law, this legislation would would set a national model for bail reform as the most ambitious bail reform in the country. With only five days left in the legislative session, we strongly urge the New York Senate to seize this opportunity to fix New York’s broken pretrial system and lead the country in criminal justice reform. The 16,000 New Yorkers awaiting trial in jail cannot afford to wait another year.”

ICYMI - 6 days left in the legislative session, broad spectrum of New Yorkers Urge Lawmakers to Act

Posted by FWD.us Press on 06/11/2018

Wanted to make sure you saw that today 40 New York business leaders, including Daniel Loeb, Founder and CEO of Third Point LLC, Lloyd C. Blankfein Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, and Michael Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital wrote a letter to New York state legislators urging them to pass meaningful bail reform before the end of this legislative session. This letter ran as a full page advertisement in today issue of The New York Times.

Today’s letter is the latest in a series of actions over the last 10 days showing substantial momentum for meaningful bail reform. Only 6 days remain in the 2018 legislative session, and we urge lawmakers to do so without delay.

“The last ten days has brought a rising crescendo of support from religious leaders, athletes, business leaders, advocates – all calling on Albany to pass meaningful pretrial reforms in these final days of session. Supporters of reform are urgent because they know that 16,000 New Yorkers – all of whom have not even been convicted of a crime – sit in jail cells simply because they can’t afford to pay bail,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte. “Jailing our neighbors due to their inability to pay bail hurts families, disrupts the workforce, exacerbates racial and economic disparities, and wastes taxpayer dollars without making our communities any safer. We’re proud to stand with the diverse group of supporters and with the more than 70% of New Yorkers who agree that the time is now for real pretrial reform.”

On June 1, the New York Council of Churches released a statement urging New York lawmakers to overhaul New York’s money bail system this session.
News Coverage: U.S. News & World Report // Council of Churches Calls on Lawmakers to Pass Bail Reform

On June 6, Akeem Browder launched the #IStandWithKalief pledge to end wealth-based detention in New York, on the third anniversary of his brother Kalief’s tragic death.
FWD.us Statement: Statement on Anniversary of Kalief Browder’s death
News Coverage: HuffPost // Kalief Browder’s Brother Searches For Justice On Anniversary Of His Death

On June 7, members of the Players Coalition Kelvin Beachum (New York Jets), Josh McCown (New York Jets), and Demario Davis (New Orleans Saints) as well as Chris Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and Majority Leader Flanagan calling on New York State lawmakers to pass comprehensive bail reform immediately.
FWD.us ICYMI: Players Coalition members call on New York lawmakers to pass comprehensive bail reform now
News Coverage:
ESPN // Tim McManus // Jenkins, Long lead Players Coalition group pushing bail reform
New York Daily News // Manish Mehta // Jets CEO Christopher Johnson joins players in sending letter to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushing for bail reform

On June 7, The Vera Institute of Justice and FWD.us released a new policy impact analysis that clearly demonstrates that in order to successfully close Rikers Island, New York state lawmakers must pass real bail reform.
FWD.us Statement: NEW: Closing Rikers Island Depends on Bold Bail Reform in Albany
News Coverage: Politico Pro New York // Thomas Pudney // Report: Closing Rikers hinges on bail reform

For more information, please visit NYCJR.fwd.us.

New York Business Leaders Call for Bail Reform

Dear New York State Legislators:

Bold and meaningly bail reform in New York State is long overdue, and we urge you to take action before the end of this legislative session.

Two thirds of people in New York jails have not been convicted of a crime. That means that over 16,000 New Yorkers are in jail every day awaiting trial. The vast majority of them are there simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. This senseless pre-trial jailing unfairly discriminates against people in poverty, disrupts families, damages our state’s workforce, and comes at a huge cost to taxpayers. The practice is morally wrong, economically and socially harmful, and ultimately undermines public safety.

Bail reform is in the best interest of the individuals, families and businesses that make up our communities. We agree with the 71% of New Yorkers who recognize that bold reforms are necessary to safely reduce the number of New Yorkers in jail. We urge you to act without further delay.


Lee Ainslie — Managing Partner, Maverick Capital
Chris Anderson — Head of TED
Louis Bacon
Doug Band — President, Teneo Holdings
Stacey Bendet — CEO, Alice + Olivia
Lloyd C. Blankfein
Ursula Burns — Executive Chairman, VEON Ltd.
Ray and Barbara Dalio
Mark F. Dalton — Co-Chairman, Tudor Investment Corporation
Barry Diller — Chairman, IAC and Expedia
David Einhorn — President, Greenlight Capital
Jason Flom — Founder and CEO, LAVA Media
Sonia Gardner — President and Managing Partner, Avenue Capital Group
Evan G. Greenberg — Chairman and CEO, Chubb
Declan Kelly — Chairman and CEO, Teneo Holdings
Henry R. Kravis — Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Ken Langone — Chairman, Invemed Associates
Marc Lasry — Chairman and CEO, Avenue Capital Group
William P. Lauder — Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies
Thomas H. Lee — President, Thomas H. Lee Capital
Kevin Liles — Co-Founder and CEO, 300 Entertainment
Daniel S. Loeb — Founder and CEO, Third Point LLC
Tracy V. Maitland — President, Advent Capital Management, LLC
Howard Marks — Co-Chairman, Oaktree Capital Management
Scott Mills — President, BET Networks
Wes Moore — CEO, Robin Hood
Rupert Murdoch — Chairman, News Corp and 21st Century Fox
Michael Novogratz — CEO, Galaxy Digital
Alan J. Patricof — Managing Director, Greycroft
Jay Penske — Chairman, CEO and Founder, Penske Media Corporation
Ronald O Perelman — Chairman, MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated
Julian Robertson –– Chairman, Tiger Management, LLC
Steven Rubenstein — Chairman, Association for a Better New York
Amol Sarva — CEO, Knotel, Inc.
Barry Sternlicht — Chairman and CEO, Starwood Capital Group
Ken Sunshine
Gus Wenner — President and COO, Rolling Stone
Jann Wenner — Founder, Rolling Stone
Kathryn Wylde — President and CEO, Partnership for New York City
Strauss Zelnick — Founder, ZMC

ICYMI: Extraordinary DOJ Filing Adds Urgency to Discharge Petition to Protect Dreamers

Posted by FWD.us Press on 06/11/2018

Late Friday, the DOJ issued a new court filing outlining the Trump Administration’s strategy to end DACA recipients’ ability to renew their deferrals – potentially leading to the end of any and all DACA renewal permits as soon as next month. This is just another example of why Congress needs to urgently pass legislation to protect Dreamers. Attorney General Sessions, working hand-in-hand with DACA opponents from Texas and a handful of other states, has made it clear he will do everything in his power to put Dreamers at risk of deportation as soon as possible.

Every member of Congress who thinks Dreamers should be able to continue living and working in this country must sign onto the discharge petition immediately, and force the House to vote. Dreamers lives are literally on the line and they can’t afford more empty promises.

Buzzfeed // Chris Geidner // The Justice Department Just Laid Out A Path To Force A DACA Showdown At The Supreme Court

The Justice Department Just Laid Out A Path To Force A DACA Showdown At The Supreme Court

A Friday night court filing details how DACA could quickly end up before the justices.

Justice Department lawyers laid out a path on Friday night that could force the legal dispute over the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program forward more quickly — and possibly to the Supreme Court as soon as this summer.

While lawsuits over the Trump administration’s efforts to end DACA have led to multiple nationwide injunctions keeping DACA partially in effect, Texas and a handful of other states filed their own lawsuit seeking to do the reverse: have DACA declared unlawful.

While agreeing with those states’ argument against DACA, the Justice Department lawyers wrote in a brief filed Friday night that granting an injunction in the Texas-led case would create “inconsistent obligations” for the federal government — and would lead the Justice Department to “seek stays of all the DACA injunctions in the respective courts of appeals and the Supreme Court.”

That’s a lot, so this is how the Justice Department got there.

The Texas-led DACA lawsuit echoes the lawsuit Texas and a much larger group of states had brought during the Obama administration to end Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). US District Judge Andrew Hanen — the judge who had heard the DAPA case and ruled strongly against the Obama policy — is now hearing the states’ DACA challenge.

The states asked Hanen for a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of the policy, and in a Friday night filing, DOJ agreed.

“The United States agrees with the State of Texas and other Plaintiffs that the policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is unlawful,” the first sentence of the brief read.

The Justice Department brief goes on to explain the administration’s decision to “orderly wind down” DACA and spends a short two pages of the brief detailing how exactly DACA is unlawful, in the department’s view.

Here’s where it gets complicated.

The brief goes on to detail the challenges to the decision to end DACA — challenges that led to injunctions by federal courts in California and New York that halted the “wind-down,” in part. Specifically, they barred the Trump administration from stopping DACA renewals.

Those injunctions, DOJ argued Friday night, “would conflict with a preliminary injunction — and especially a nationwide one — in this [Texas-led] case, subjecting the United States to inconsistent obligations.”

Simply put: DOJ would have the orders from federal courts that it continue DACA — and an order from a different federal court that it halt DACA.

Although the Justice Department does argue “that courts have typically held” in “similar situations” that “the appropriate course is for a district court to refrain from issuing a conflicting injunction,” DOJ nonetheless goes on to offer its view on what Hanen should do “if this Court decides that preliminary injunctive relief is appropriate.”

This, then, could lead to the Supreme Court.

This issue — the “inconsistent obligations” concern — leads to what could quickly become the main effect of the Texas-based lawsuit: pushing all of the cases, and final resolution of the issue, more quickly to the Supreme Court.

In February, the Supreme Court denied DOJ’s request that it hear an immediate appeal of the injunction out of the federal court in California — instead forcing the department first to seek an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Now, however, in its brief to Judge Hanen, the Justice Department is setting up a path to quickly return to the Supreme Court.

If Hanen does grant an injunction in the Texas-led case, the DOJ lawyers wrote, “it should stay such order for 14 days so the United States can seek stays of all the DACA injunctions in the respective courts of appeals and the Supreme Court.”

A hearing on the states’ request for a preliminary injunction is currently set for July 17.

ICYMI: New York Jets CEO Christopher Johnson signs onto letter urging New York lawmakers to pass comprehensive bail reform

Posted by FWD.us Press on 06/11/2018

Wanted to make sure that you saw the New York Daily News article featuring Jets CEO Christopher Johnson who, along with members of the Players Coalition, sent a letter yesterday to New York lawmakers to push for comprehensive bail reform before the current legislative session ends.

Johnson’s advocacy is part of growing momentum towards passage of pretrial reform. Earlier this week, on the third anniversary of Kalief Browder’s tragic death, his brother Akeem launched the #IStandWithKalief pledge to end wealth-based detention in New York. Already numerous influencers, elected officials, and supporters have signed onto the pledge, committing their support for reform. Recent polls have shown that people across the state are strongly supportive of reform, with over 70% of New York voters supporting comprehensive bail reform proposals that will drastically reduce jail populations across the state, save taxpayers’ dollars, and ensure fewer people sit in jail while awaiting trial.

In the remaining 7 days of the legislative session, state lawmakers should get to work and pass pretrial reform now.

New York Daily News // Manisha Mehta // Jets CEO Christopher Johnson joins players in sending letter to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushing for bail reform

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson along with former and current Jets players continued their social justice advocacy efforts by sending a letter to top New York lawmakers Thursday pushing for bail reform before the current legislative session ends in the coming days.

Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Demario Davis and Johnson signed a letter urging Governor Andrew Cuomo and other influential policy makers to pass changes that included eliminating bail for many misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.

Johnson has emerged as a passionate and committed voice in support of players’ desires to raise awareness for social justice inequalities. He has worked with the Players’ Coalition on important initiatives since taking over day-to-day operations for the Jets, while Woody Johnson serves as the U.K. ambassador for the Trump administration.

Christopher Johnson recently spoke to all Jets players in the wake of the NFL’s new national anthem policy to reiterate his support for their causes.

“I’m very appreciative of him,” Jets wide receiver Kearse said about Johnson. “I think he kind of gets it.… He understands. I don’t know what other owners are doing with their teams, but he’s been actively involved, had multiple meetings. We’ve all been talking to him. So (we’re) just very appreciative of his support. He cares.”

Johnson has been at the forefront of supporting players’ rights at a time when the NFL has seemingly thrown down the hammer. He made it clear in March that keeping players off the field during the anthem would cause more harm than good.

“I just think that trying to forcibly get the players to shut up is a fantastically bad idea,” Johnson said at the time.

The Jets didn’t have any players kneel during the anthem last season. The team’s decision to lock arms on the sideline during the anthem last season might happen again in 2018.

“When we were linking arms before those games,” Johnson told the Daily News in March, “certainly what it meant to me was, ‘Yeah, we’re proud of America, but we want to do our part to make it a little bit better.’ This is just being honest. This isn’t PR speak. I think what we’re doing can be a real positive. I’m really excited about it.”

To that end, bail reform has been an issue that Johnson and Jets players have felt passionate about for a while. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins held up a handful of written messages in front of his locker on Wednesday citing social issues that need to be changed, including the bail system.

Leaders like Davis, McCown, Beachum and Johnson are hoping to find solutions that make sense.