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Access to Justice

  • January 13, 2019

    With No Legal Help In Sight, 'Jailhouse Lawyers' Fill The Void

    Some are wildly successful. Others can badly hurt a case. Their very existence is a symptom of what experts say is a lack of access to justice for one of the most underserved populations: the millions of people already locked within the justice system itself.

  • January 13, 2019

    Will A Policy Rollback Swell The School To Prison Pipeline?

    Paved with suspensions and expulsions, there’s a route from education to incarceration known as the “school to prison pipeline” that disproportionately affects students of color, those with disabilities and other minority groups across the country.

  • January 13, 2019

    Miller Canfield Cuts New Path To Help Iraqis Fight Deportation

    Some 1,400 Iraqis were arrested in immigration sweeps across the U.S. in 2017 based on a purported deal with their former homeland. However, discovery work by Miller Canfield attorneys gave their clients a key opening to fight deportation.

  • January 13, 2019

    Cyntoia Brown Clemency Highlights Wider Push For Reforms

    Fifteen years into a life sentence for a murder, Cyntoia Brown will walk out of prison thanks to a commuted sentence, but experts say her victory underscores the fact that there are many others with similar cases that have not attracted the same attention, or achieved the same result.

  • January 13, 2019

    NY's Outlier Status On Coughing Up Evidence May Soon End

    New York criminal discovery law allows prosecutors to wait until the eve of trial to share material like police reports with defense attorneys. Witness information isn't required to be disclosed at all. But that could change this year.

  • January 13, 2019

    Fair Sentencing? Disparities Linger, But Leniency Plays A Part

    The U.S. Sentencing Commission warned in a new report that defendants under the same courthouse roof could be facing a wide range of sentences, depending on who holds the gavel, but experts say the commission may be missing the bigger picture: judges are becoming more lenient.

  • January 6, 2019

    Shutdown Hits Federal Courts, Grows Immigration Backlog

    Immigrants uncertain if they should show up for court dates and mounting case backlogs. Judges pausing civil disputes. Planned improvements to court facilities put on hold. As the shutdown of the government enters its third week, federal workers aren't the only ones whose futures have been thrown into uncertainty.

  • January 6, 2019

    As DIY Litigants Crowd The Docket, Courts Step In To Help

    Tens of thousands of people across the country are representing themselves in federal lawsuits, often because they can’t afford an attorney. While those litigants can face insurmountable hurdles, a growing number of programs are trying to ensure they have their day in court.

  • January 6, 2019

    Famed Journal Lends Its Clout To Fighting Access Crisis

    The Academy of Arts and Sciences today published the winter edition of its renowned journal Daedalus, focused entirely on access to the civil justice system. Law360 spoke with its editors and contributors about why legal access is a problem that requires more than just lawyers to solve.

  • January 6, 2019

    Ex-DOJ Heavy Hitters Urge Justices To Nix Murder Conviction

    Six former top Justice Department leaders are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate a murder conviction that they say poses an existential threat to the entire justice system, after a Mississippi prosecutor repeatedly blocked black citizens from serving on the defendant's six juries.

  • January 6, 2019

    Old Foe Of Criminal Sentencing Reform May Soon Oversee It

    Attorney General nominee William Barr spent decades opposing some of the criminal justice changes that President Donald Trump signed into law last month — putting him at odds with senators responsible for his confirmation and raising concerns about how he will implement the reforms.

  • January 6, 2019

    Vets Expand Scope Of Landmark Benefits Class Action

    When Navy veteran Peter Boerschinger, 79, required emergency treatment for pneumonia and congestive heart failure, he assumed that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would pick up the cost of the emergency room visit that his private insurance didn’t pay for.

  • January 6, 2019

    4 Access To Justice Cases To Watch In 2019

    The dust hasn't settled from a year that included major decisions on issues like pretrial bail practices and veterans' right to bring class actions over denied benefits, but 2019 already promises big moments for access to justice cases on civil forfeiture and legal aid funding.

  • January 6, 2019

    Sarah Geraghty Talks Bail Reform And Decriminalizing Poverty

    Sarah Geraghty's used to making an impact with the Southern Center for Human Rights, but rarely is it put so bluntly as when the Atlanta mayor called out her group's influence in orchestrating the city's recent bail reform measures.

  • December 16, 2018

    Criminal Justice Reforms Poised For Senate Showdown

    Advocates for reforming the nation's criminal justice system have gotten closer than ever to changing prison conditions and sentencing laws, but they face their most high-profile test yet this week: a U.S. Senate floor fight with opponents who claim the legislation would endanger the country.

  • December 16, 2018

    Forfeiture Grabs In NJ Widespread But Face Little Resistance

    You haven’t been convicted of a crime — haven’t even been arrested — but police officers confiscate your car anyway, saying they believe it was used in criminal activity and that you must go to court to get it back. For many, the cost of doing so means that property is gone for good.

  • December 16, 2018

    Withheld Evidence Spurs Detention Rethink In NJ Murder Case

    After Shaquan Hyppolite was accused of murder, a judge ordered him to be detained while he waited on an indictment. There was just one problem: the prosecution hadn't told Hyppolite or his defense attorney about evidence that contradicted the story of the only witness against him.

  • December 16, 2018

    The Biggest Access To Justice Decisions Of 2018

    From bail reform to class actions for veterans, 2018 was full of big cases in the realm of access to justice. Here, Law360 takes a look at four of the most consequential court decisions issued this year.

  • December 16, 2018

    Sarah Redfield Shines Light On Hidden Bias In The Courtroom

    Sarah Redfield is an evangelist when it comes to addressing unconscious bias in the judicial system.

  • December 16, 2018

    Bail Or Jail? Calif. Justices May Reshape Detention Decisions

    A small-time burglary has evolved into landmark litigation over California's bail policy, with the state Supreme Court poised to decide how often a court can deny bail and detain a defendant. It will also decide whether to uphold a mandate that judges consider a defendant's ability to pay, though a new law may render that determination moot.

Expert Analysis

  • How To Stop Civil Jury Trials From Becoming Extinct

    Stephen Susman

    If we wait to take action until we identify all the reasons civil jury trials are in decline, trials might disappear altogether. Let's address the causes we've already identified using these important jury innovations, says Stephen Susman, executive director of the Civil Jury Project at NYU School of Law.

  • Stripping The False Premises From Civil Justice Problems

    Rebecca Sandefur

    When I began researching access to justice in 2004, there were two settled beliefs about civil justice problems so obvious that few bothered to investigate them. Both turned out to be false, says Rebecca Sandefur, associate professor of sociology and law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Cy Pres Awards Are The Best Answer

    John Campbell

    The argument that cy pres awards violate the rights of absent class members is wrong on many levels and ignores the fact that prohibiting such distributions creates far more problems than it solves, says John Campbell, a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

  • Maybe Virtual Reality Juries Can Facilitate Access To Justice

    Stephen Kane

    Jury service is a terrible user experience and an unpredictable disruption. What if the courts leveraged virtual reality technology to allow jurors to serve remotely? asks Stephen Kane, founder of online dispute resolution platform FairClaims and a fellow of Stanford CodeX Center for Legal Informatics.

  • A Key Legal Reform To Fight The Child Sex Abuse Epidemic

    Michael Dolce

    With child sex predators victimizing, on average, over 100 children in their lifetimes, the implicit danger of retaining state statutes of limitation for prosecution of these crimes could not be more obvious, says Michael Dolce of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

  • How State Courts Are Fighting Our National Opioid Epidemic

    Hon. Loretta Rush

    Loretta Rush, chief justice of Indiana and co-chair of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, discusses how state courts can facilitate a successful policy response to the opioid epidemic.

  • Blockchain Can Empower Stateless Refugees

    Amy Schmitz

    Innovative blockchain-based projects providing stateless refugees with forms of identification, digital assets and educational opportunities could change the rules for this vulnerable population, say Amy Schmitz of the University of Missouri School of Law and Jeff Aresty of Internetbar.org.

  • How The 3rd Generation Of Bail Reform Imploded

    Jeff Clayton

    Thirty-four years after the passage of the Federal Bail Reform Act of 1984, we have finally seen the implosion of this misguided attempt at justice, says Jeffrey Clayton, executive director of the American Bail Coalition.

  • The Pro Bono Law That United Congress

    Dan Sullivan

    Those who perpetrate crimes are guaranteed the right to counsel, but victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are not. With the unanimously passed Pro Bono Work to Empower and Represent Act, I envision an army of lawyers helping break the cycle of abuse, says Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

  • Class Cy Pres Settlements Are A Troubling Practice

    Mary Massaron

    Class actions are often touted as a powerful mechanism for access to justice, but is this true when there is zero chance of recovery for class members? asks Mary Massaron, a partner at Plunkett Cooney PC and former president of Lawyers for Civil Justice.