Legal Aid Society


LAS Mourns the Loss of Former Client Ricky Howell

The Legal Aid Society is mourning the loss of former client Ricky Howell, who passed away from a terminal illness at Bellevue Hospital in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction.

“Mr. Howell was known for his kindness and charisma, and we are both saddened by his loss and angered by the collective indifference from the individuals who condemned Mr. Howell to live out his final days incarcerated rather than in the community,” reads a statement from Legal Aid. “Our hearts ache for Mr. Howell’s friends, family and community during this extraordinarily tragic time.”

“While we are heartened that Mr. Howell had a devoted care team at Bellevue Hospital who treated him with dignity and respect, the judges and prosecutors on Staten Island who vigorously fought to keep him jailed despite knowing full well his medical condition and imminent death, and that he posed no threat to public safety, is truly disgraceful, callous, and devoid of any human decency,” the statement continues.

“The Richmond County District Attorney’s Office’s insistence of a prison sentence is equally disturbing, despite numerous letters documenting Mr. Howell’s deteriorative state from his doctors and other medical professionals,” the statement reads. “This stunning lack of compassion and empathy brandished by Staten Island judges and prosecutors throughout this case is an all too common punitive quality of the criminal legal system that refuses to recognize our clients as human beings.”