In the summer of 2016, Manhattan District Attorney’s Office launched an undercover sting operation to catch a dozen vendors selling tickets for sightseeing cruises. Their theory: the vendors were aggressively targeting and misleading tourists about their competitors’ tickets and cruises. These vendors were arrested, charged with misdemeanor fraudulent accosting, and in many cases bail was set. All were surviving day to day on the little commission they were able to make.

At core, the DA alleged the vendors knew they were lying when they told their customers about their competitors’ services. But, the DA had little proof of their actual…

We are so thrilled to see so many people people read and circulate our voter guide on the Brooklyn DA election tomorrow, 9/12. We got some important questions which we have tried our best to answer.


Who did the grading for the report card?

The evaluation was done by the #KnowYourDA working group of 5 Boro Defenders. It does not represent the opinions of 5BD as a whole. The working group consists of public defenders and advocates who paid close attention to the Brooklyn DA race.

What were your metrics for grading?

We’ve been tracking Brooklyn DA candidate responses to questions at forums, in questionnaires, on social media, and to our own platform. Check out our super handy zine to see where they land on different issues. For your ease, we’ve graded their responses and provided an overall report card at the end. We hope this helps you vote on SEPTEMBER 12, 2017.

Disclaimers: We are not endorsing any particular candidate. All candidates are former prosecutors that followed many of the practices they are now renouncing as candidates. It will take more than words to implement their vision for change. Additionally, this zine has been created by the #KnowYourDA working group of Five Borough Defenders (5BD), but does not reflect the opinions of all 5BD members.

We sent out our People of the State of NY vs. Mass Incarceration platform on Monday morning to all the candidates running in Brooklyn District Attorney race. So far, we have received responses from two candidates. We look forward to hearing from the remaining candidates!

Candidate Mark Fliedner responded to our platform, and also outlined how he intends to screen cases in the first 36 hours from arrest, and 36 days from arraignment. Check out his response to our platform and policy guidance.

District Attorneys are the most important actors in the criminal legal system. As such, they have the power to end mass incarceration or continue to drive it forward at the expense of communities of color. New Yorkers are demanding an end to the over-policing and over-prosecution of our communities. With the upcoming Brooklyn DA election, we have an opportunity to shift the landscape of criminal justice in New York City.

In advance of the Sept. 12 primary election for Brooklyn District Attorney, the Know Your DA Working Group of 5 Boro Defenders created the People of the State of N.Y…

In the past few weeks, there have been important developments at the City and State level that highlight the urgency of ending broken windows prosecutions once and for all. ICE is crawling all over the City, trapping non-citizens in local court houses, waiting for them as they appear in family court and criminal court. The president of court officer’s union has also ordered court officers to cooperate with ICE.

At the same time, the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance has credited his office for not prosecuting low-level offenses, which are not misdemeanors. These are offenses like having your feet on the…

We started this campaign on Jan. 29, the day we marched from Battery Park with 10,000 protesters against Trump’s immigration travel ban. So much has happened since then. We’ve logged 769 calls to the 5 prosecutors’ offices in New York City so far. Because of your calls, the DA’s are feeling the pressure to stop prosecuting broken windows offenses: yesterday, the Manhattan DA Cy Vance tweeted that they “stopped prosecuting low-level, non-violent offenses when there is no public safety reason.” It’s a start, but it’s not nearly enough.

It wasn’t enough for Mark Felder, who was arrested last Saturday night…

We’re so close to our goal of 1,000 calls by March 31! Thank you, everyone, for making the calls.

Total recorded calls to date: 629!

Brooklyn: 292

Manhattan: 229

Queens: 71

Bronx: 20

Staten Island: 13

Other: 4

Thanks also for reporting back about your experiences. What we’re hearing from folks is that the DA’s offices appear to be getting a lot of these calls. Apparently, they are taking down contact info and promising a call back but never delivering on it. Still no formal response from any of the offices. Let the DA’s know the people they represent demand and deserve an answer!

Some folks…

Thank you everyone who has made a call for #NYCdontprosecute. We’ve logged 248 calls, and probably many more were unlogged. We’re trying to get to 1000 calls by March 31!

Please keep calling! We have not yet gotten a formal response from any of the DAs. In fact, one caller told us that the person who answered their call responded as if they were calling to report a broken window. People in the DA’s offices think this is a joke.

We need to continue to remind District Attorneys how serious this is.

Each day New Yorkers face the risk of…

5 Boro Defenders

5 Boro Defenders is a coalition of public defenders in New York City organizing around the systemic injustices of the criminal legal system.

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