Access to Justice

  • October 18, 2021

    Supreme Court Bolsters Police Immunity In Face Of Criticism

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday granted qualified immunity to several police officers accused of civil rights violations, indicating that despite growing criticism, the qualified immunity doctrine is here to stay, an expert said.

  • October 17, 2021

    Wilson Sonsini Scores Win In Paramilitary Assassination Case

    Over two decades after a paramilitary group killed a local community leader in Colombia, attorneys with Wilson Sonsini and the Center for Justice & Accountability secured a "measure of justice" for the victim: a landmark ruling holding a paramilitary leader liable for his death. It was the first time a U.S. court acknowledged the support of the Colombian government for paramilitary groups that carried out human rights violations.

  • October 17, 2021

    Class Suit Involving NYPD Use Of Sealed Info Heats Up

    The New York Police Department has for decades used sealed arrest information — mugshots, arrest history, fingerprints and other identifying information — in active investigations. Public defenders and criminal defense attorneys have for just as long claimed that practice violates state law. A class action could now settle the matter.

  • October 17, 2021

    Low Pay A Deterrent To Would-Be Public Defenders

    The average starting salary attorneys can expect from public defender work remains low nationwide, according to new data, with experts noting that the lack of pay parity with competing law agencies and mounting law school student loan debt make the job a tough sell to new attorneys.

  • October 15, 2021

    Prosecutors Warn Calif. Court Order Is 'Dangerous Precedent'

    More than 70 current and former elected prosecutors on Friday urged a California appellate court to overturn a trial court's decision declining to allow the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office to withdraw previously requested sentencing enhancements, saying the ruling sets a "dangerous precedent."

  • October 12, 2021

    No Innocence Required In Suits Against Cops, Justices Told

    A former criminal defendant told the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday he has the right to sue his arresting officers for an alleged Fourth Amendment violation under a federal civil rights statute without first having to prove his innocence in his underlying case.

  • October 04, 2021

    Justices Dubious About Feds' 'Career Criminal' Interpretation

    U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday appeared unconvinced by the reasoning lower courts applied to impose a longer sentence on a convicted felon caught possessing firearms, showing stronger skepticism toward the government's position that the defendant qualified as a "career criminal."

  • September 30, 2021

    Supreme Court Will Seek To Solve Crack Resentencing Puzzle

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a case of a convicted Massachusetts drug dealer who sought to reduce his prison time in light of sentencing reforms enacted after his proceedings.

  • September 26, 2021

    Fish & Richardson Helps Free Mississippi Man On Death Row

    After more than a quarter-century, a Mississippi man wrongly convicted of murdering three women walked free after DNA testing disproved his prosecutors' case. Attorneys with Fish & Richardson PC took the lead of a pro bono team that helped Sherwood Brown in his long quest for freedom.

  • September 26, 2021

    Emery Celli Attys On Their FOIA Project With The Intercept

    New York-based litigation boutique Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP has forged an innovative partnership with The Intercept. Here, two partners discuss with Law360 what spurred the FOIA-focused partnership and the ambitions of the project.

  • September 26, 2021

    Eviction Case Data Often Inaccessible, Inconsistent

    Inconsistencies in access to state courts' eviction case records and a lack of standardization in that data are frustrating researchers at Legal Services Corp. and elsewhere trying to analyze national eviction trends. But some jurisdictions are working hard to make sure these records are available.

  • September 22, 2021

    Conn. Bar Honors Trailblazing Judge's Fight Against Racism

    Family and colleagues of the late Judge Constance Baker Motley, the NAACP civil rights attorney turned influential jurist for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, on Tuesday offered remembrances and tributes to the Connecticut-born civil rights trailblazer at a Connecticut Bar Association event that included a screening of a short documentary about her legacy and life.

  • September 22, 2021

    NY Says More Funds Needed As Rent Aid Speeds Up

    A New York program to administer about $2.4 billion in pandemic rent and utility assistance has ramped up its application processing considerably, new data show, prompting Gov. Kathy Hochul to request additional federal funding.

  • September 21, 2021

    NYC Housing Court Mandates Some In-Person Appearances

    New York City housing courts on Tuesday began requiring some court appearances to be held in person — a first since the coronavirus pandemic prompted widespread courthouse shutdowns in the spring of 2020.

  • September 12, 2021

    Prosecutor's Urgings To Jurors Went Too Far, 4th Circ. Finds

    When Charles F. Plymail's attorney entered closing arguments at his client's 1993 trial for a second degree sexual assault charge, the lawyer warned the men in the jury that it was "dangerous to even look at a woman" because she could "shout 'rape' under any condition."

  • September 12, 2021

    Proskauer Helps Reunite Salvadoran Parents With Daughter

    A Proskauer Rose LLP team led by corporate partner Jae Woo Park helped reunite Salvadoran parents with their youngest daughter after she was separated from her father at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018.

  • September 10, 2021

    Legal Services NYC Attys Protest Court Demands Amid COVID

    Employees at Legal Services NYC, the largest civil legal service provider in the U.S., picketed their boss's Manhattan apartment Friday to protest "unnecessary and dangerous in-person court appearances" in the latest battle waged by organized labor over COVID-19 safety.

  • September 02, 2021

    How NY Acted On Evictions, Rent Aid In Rare Session

    New York tenants can expect renewed eviction protections through the end of the year and more landlords will be eligible for pandemic rent relief following a marathon state legislative session that ran well into the night Wednesday. Here, Law360 breaks down the new legislation.

  • August 22, 2021

    National Security Scholar On Legal Legacy Of War On Terror

    In her new book, Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham Law's Center on National Security, traces how a breakdown in American rule of law after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was supported by loose legal language and the flouting of legal norms. Here, she talks about the continued aftermath of this authoritarian turn and what is needed to fortify U.S. democracy.

  • August 22, 2021

    Covington Helps Man Settle NYC Police Brutality Case

    Attorneys with Covington & Burling LLP helped Tomas Medina, a Queens man, settle a civil suit stemming from an encounter with the NYPD in which he ended up in a chokehold and tasered multiple times. Working with The Legal Aid Society of New York, the Covington attorneys secured compensation for Medina and aimed to hold the Police Department accountable for failing to root out brutal practices including chokeholds, which were banned decades ago.

  • August 22, 2021

    Eviction Crisis Will Put NYC's Right To Counsel To The Test

    New York City has significantly increased its spending in civil legal services for low-income people during the last eight years. Now, on the brink of an eviction crisis, the city will likely spend even more to keep people in their homes, experts say.

  • August 22, 2021

    Pioneering Md. Center Takes Legal Aid On The Road

    Maryland Legal Aid recently partnered with the library system of Baltimore County to launch the Mobile Library Law Center, a first-of-its-kind traveling van where staff of both agencies offer legal resources and consultation to the area's most underserved residents.

  • August 20, 2021

    2nd Circ. Says Two Evidence-Fabrication Suits Can Proceed

    A Second Circuit panel ruled Friday that two former criminal defendants could sue police officers for fabricating evidence used against them in court without having to demonstrate absolute innocence in their underlying cases, reversing two district courts' decisions.

  • August 19, 2021

    Lawyers Act To Help Afghans Who Fear For Their Lives

    Lawyer Julie Kornfeld says her clients in Afghanistan, people who aided the U.S. government and have applied for special visas to leave the country, are deeply fearful for their lives as the Taliban seize control of the nation.

  • August 17, 2021

    NY Courts Memo Offers Eviction Guidance After Justices Rule

    As New Yorkers grapple with the implications of a recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion blocking a key provision of the state's pandemic anti-eviction law, a court memorandum released Tuesday is beginning to shed light on how cases will proceed.

Expert Analysis

  • Why Law Schools Should Require Justice Reform Curriculum

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    Criminal defense attorney Donna Mulvihill Fehrmann argues that law schools have an obligation to address widespread racial and economic disparities in the U.S. legal system by mandating first-year coursework on criminal justice reform that educates on prosecutorial misconduct, wrongful convictions, defense 101 and more.

  • Attorneys, Fight For Enviro Justice With Both Law And Protest

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    In this moment of climate crisis, lawyers can and should use law and protest in tandem — from urging law firms to stop serving the fossil fuel industry to helping draft laws that accelerate the transition to a sustainable way of life, says Vivek Maru at Namati.

  • One-Subject Rule Strategy Can Defeat Dangerous State Laws

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    Attorneys at Ulmer & Berne explain how single-subject rule violation claims can thwart certain unconstitutional or controversial state statutes and protect civil rights in the face of state governments under one-party rule.

  • States Must Rethink Wrongful Conviction Compensation Laws

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    States, counties and municipalities have now paid over $3 billion in judgments or settlements to exonerees, while policymakers lack comprehensive data on official misconduct and financial costs — but rethinking state compensation statutes can curb the policies and practices that cause wrongful convictions in the first place, says Jeffrey Gutman at George Washington University.

  • Police And Voting Reform Need Federal Remedy, Not Takeover

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    The debate over what level of government should hold sway is central to today's impasse over voting rights and police reform legislation, but anchoring the conversation in the U.S. Constitution can create the common ground of tailored federal remediation that also preserves traditional state and local functions, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • 8th Circ. Ruling Further Narrows Qualified Immunity

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    The recent Eighth Circuit ruling in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA v. University of Iowa seems to align with a growing body of case law suggesting that government officials may have a harder time obtaining qualified immunity for their actions if they involve calculated choices to enforce unconstitutional policies, says Thomas Eastmond at Holland & Knight.

  • 6 Ways To Improve Veterans' Access To Civil Legal Aid

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    Veterans often lack adequate help when confronting civil legal issues such as evictions, foreclosures and child custody disputes, so legal aid organizations should collaborate with veteran-serving programs and state and local governments to offer former military members better access to legal resources, say Ronald Flagg at Legal Services Corp. and Isabelle Ord at DLA Piper.

  • Better Civil Legal Resources Are Key To Justice For All

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    Fulfilling the promise of equal justice requires disruptive change to the civil legal system, where millions of Americans lack adequate resources and information — and attorneys have many opportunities to help their states build the tools necessary to navigate civil disputes, say retired California Judge Laurie Zelon and Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

  • User Feedback Is Key To Running Virtual Diversion Programs

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    Judicially led diversion programs have adapted to the COVID-19 era by providing services online, but recent research points to a disconnect between practitioner and participant perspectives, showing that soliciting user input is crucial to success, says Tara Kunkel at Rulo Strategies. 

  • Justices Must Reject Police Shield Against Civil Rights Claims

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    The Institute for Justice’s Marie Miller lays out four reasons why, in deciding Thompson v. Clark, the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse an arcane circuit court rule that abandons the foundational presumption of innocence principle and ultimately provides a shield for police and other government officers who violate constitutional rights.

  • NY Courts Should Protect Housing Rights Of All Tenants

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    New York courts should adopt a construction of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act that expands on the rights of tenants without a traditional landlord-tenant relationship, in order to not only promote justice, but also adhere to the law as written, say law student Giannina Crosby, and professors Sateesh Nori and Julia McNally, at NYU Law.

  • Legally Recognizing Coercive Control Can Help Abuse Victims

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    The ongoing expansion of state laws to establish coercive control as a form of domestic violence will encourage victims to seek help, and require law enforcement and the judiciary to learn about the complexities surrounding emotional abuse, say attorneys Allison Mahoney and Lindsay Lieberman.

  • High Court Gun Case Has Implications For Police Violence

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    A U.S. Supreme Court decision to weaken gun regulations in the pending New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett could mix with the court's existing precedents regarding police use of force to form a particularly lethal cocktail for police violence against Black people, says Christopher Wright Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • Justices' Life Sentence Ruling Is A Step Back For Youth Rights

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's recent refusal to limit juvenile life-without-parole sentences in Jones v. Mississippi is a break from a line of cases that cut back on harsh punishments for children and reflects a court that is comfortable with casual treatment of minors' constitutional rights, says Brandon Garrett at Duke University School of Law.

  • States Must Factor Race In COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization

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    In order to ensure equity and efficiency in controlling the pandemic, states should use race as a factor in vaccine prioritization — and U.S. Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action and racial integration offers some guidance on how such policies might hold up in court, say law professors Maya Manian and Seema Mohapatra.

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