Access to Justice

  • July 29, 2022

    How A Law Prof Is Training Non-Attys As Immigrant Advocates

    As a law professor who routinely took her students to immigration courts for field work, Michele R. Pistone was irked to see how many noncitizens went unrepresented. So she built an online platform to train nonlawyers to help fill the gaps in legal representation.

  • July 28, 2022

    Portland Tackles Racist Past Of Urban Renewal

    Blocks from the stadium where the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers play and Interstate 5 cuts a gash through Oregon's largest city, a proposed 94-unit apartment building represents the first step in an ambitious plan to reverse decades of racist land-use practices.

  • July 27, 2022

    NJ Suit Shines Light On Police Use Of Infant Blood In Probes

    Last year, DNA from an infant’s blood sample was used to track down a New Jersey sex crime suspect. Public defenders are now suing to discover how often law enforcement agencies have subpoenaed a mandatory newborn health screening program, spotlighting a growing area of friction between genetic genealogy and privacy.

  • July 26, 2022

    How Some NY Judges Are Unpausing Eviction Cases

    New York is among several states — including Oregon, Massachusetts and California — to pause eviction cases at least temporarily while rent aid applications are being processed, to prevent premature evictions. And while tenant lawyers say New York's rule has been broadly effective, some judges have said they have the authority to lift the stay.

  • July 22, 2022

    Inside An Atty's Plan To Get 2 Wrongfully Jailed Men Justice

    Two Black men from Buffalo, New York, spent more than two decades in prison for a murder they likely didn’t commit before a state trial court overturned their conviction last year. Now, they’re suing Erie County for civil rights violation, helped by a savvy attorney who pioneered a legal strategy to pierce through prosecutors' immunity.

  • July 22, 2022

    Programming Note: Law360's A2J On Vacation In August

    Law360's Access to Justice will not publish its regular newsletter during the month of August as the editorial team readies for the fall.

  • July 22, 2022

    Prison Reformer Talks Of Crisis At NYC's Rikers Island

    New York's Rikers Island jail complex has struggled with violence, dysfunction and disorder. Longtime prison reformer and attorney Zachary Katznelson spoke with Law360 about how the pandemic made the complex more dangerous for inmates and staff and why some advocates want a federal receiver to implement reforms.

  • July 22, 2022

    Long Sentences Make Up More Than Half Of Prison Population

    The portion of the state prison population serving long sentences has increased over the past 10 years to more than half of the population, according to findings released by a Council on Criminal Justice task force on Wednesday.

  • July 22, 2022

    Hogan Lovells Helps Hawaii Tenants Keep Affordable Housing

    A team of Hogan Lovells attorneys recently helped secure a deal that stopped a group of Hawaii residents from being priced out of their homes due to a developer's attempt to opt out of an affordable housing agreement decades early.

  • July 22, 2022

    Legal Observers Arrested At Floyd Protest Win $49K And Fees

    Twelve legal observers for the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild arrested during the George Floyd protests in June 2020 will collectively get $49,000 to resolve a federal lawsuit against New York City over what they called a "violent assault" by police, one of their attorneys confirmed Friday to Law360.

  • July 22, 2022

    Pay Is A Pain Point In Retention For Ill. Legal Aid Orgs

    One of the biggest obstacles for legal aid organizations as they look to recruit and retain highly talented and diverse lawyers is making room in their budgets to pay attorneys competitively, according to a new report out Friday.

  • July 22, 2022

    Why Rocket Lawyer's CEO Wants Legal Help To Be Affordable

    Charley Moore, founder and CEO of legal technology company Rocket Lawyer, realized as a kid watching his dad operate a chain of Shell gas stations that the U.S. legal system was too expensive for small businesses and most individuals and families.

  • July 21, 2022

    Equal Justice Works Names Law School Dean As New CEO

    Equal Justice Works has tapped the dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law to be the organization's new CEO.

  • July 21, 2022

    A Bruen Defense For Gun Charges? Attys Say Not So Fast

    The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring parts of New York's gun licensing regime unconstitutional gives people prosecuted for gun offenses new chances to shake their charges, but it's still unclear what legal strategies could ultimately succeed, experts say.

  • July 08, 2022

    1 In 20 Death Row Reversals Tied To Prosecutor Misconduct

    Over the last 50 years, prosecutor misconduct has played a role in 550 sentence reversals and exonerations of prisoners on death row, a recent study shows.

  • July 08, 2022

    Venable Donates Atty Fees To Help Exonerees Rejoin Society

    Since 2008, Venable LLP has worked with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project to free five Washington, D.C., men who collectively spent more than 100 years in prison for murders they didn't commit.

  • July 08, 2022

    Sheppard Mullin Aids Deal On Accessible NY Subway Stations

    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP's pro bono partner recently played a key role in negotiating what could be a landmark settlement to guarantee more accessible subway stations in New York — the latest in a series of disability rights wins for the attorney.

  • July 08, 2022

    Kilpatrick Atty Aids Fellow Ukrainians In War Relief Effort

    When one of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP's Atlanta-based attorneys entered the United States in 1988 as a 9-year-old refugee from Soviet-era Ukraine, she couldn't have imagined she'd end up helping her fellow countrymen flee a Russian invasion 34 years later.

  • July 08, 2022

    As States Toy With Reform, Legal Tech Cos. Fill Justice Gap

    More than 100 legal technology companies have formed in the last 10 years to provide legal assistance to millions of Americans who can't afford an attorney, helping to bridge a gap in access to justice, while less than a handful of states have taken action to expand the practice of law.

  • July 06, 2022

    Eviction Default Buffer Lifts For Some In NYC Housing Court

    A New York City administrative judge has lifted a procedural buffer that gave certain tenants an extra shot to match with a lawyer and mount defenses in housing court before facing a default judgment, citing the "changing course of the pandemic."

  • June 29, 2022

    Ohio To Use ARPA Money For COVID-Caused Case Backlogs

    The state of Ohio set up a $10 million grant program paid for by its federal American Rescue Plan Act money for courts that want help clear backlogs of cases that stem from the coronavirus pandemic, the governor's office announced Wednesday.

  • June 27, 2022

    Justices Say Courts Must Consider Rehab In Resentencing

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that district courts must look at defendants' rehabilitation and updated sentencing guidelines when considering a reduction of their sentences. 

  • June 23, 2022

    Justices Give Inmates Path To Swap Execution Methods

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state death row inmates can ask to be executed in a method not approved in their states by filing a civil rights suit, reversing a ruling by the Eleventh Circuit that compelled the prisoners to file habeas corpus petitions instead.

  • June 17, 2022

    What San Francisco DA's Recall Could Mean For Reformers

    The widely publicized and successful recall campaign of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has been described by some as a warning call for progressive prosecutors and rehabilitative justice advocates nationwide.

  • June 17, 2022

    What States Can Learn From Illinois To End Rape Kit Backlogs

    After years of reform, Illinois earlier this month became the 17th state to clear its backlog of nearly 2,000 untested rape kits. Here is what states can learn from Illinois to end their own rape kit backlogs.

Expert Analysis

  • Bodega Worker Case Exposes Key Flaw In NY Legal System

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    The controversial murder case involving bodega worker Jose Alba reveals New York prosecutors’ common practice of charging first and investigating later — a systemic failure that has devastating consequences for individuals and undermines the presumption of innocence, says Michael Bloch at Bloch & White.

  • Justices' Resentencing Ruling Boosts Judicial Discretion

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Concepcion v. U.S., holding that federal judges can consider new laws and a defendant’s rehabilitation in resentencing, will enable correction of overlong crack cocaine-related sentences — but this wider judicial discretion may also entrench existing disparities, says Mark Osler at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

  • Justices Leave Many With No Court To Hear Innocence Claims

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    While bad lawyering is an all too common cause of wrongful convictions, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Shinn v. Ramirez closes the federal courthouse doors to evidence of ineffective counsel, leaving many without a meaningful opportunity to prove their innocence, says Christina Swarns at the Innocence Project.

  • Nonprofit Ruling Is An Important Step For Nonlawyer Practice

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    A New York federal judge’s recent ruling that will allow nonprofit Upsolve to give legal advice to low-income debtors without a license is a positive development for nonlawyer practice, but presents questions about how to ensure similar programs can exist without fighting dodgy constitutional battles, says Ronald Minkoff at Frankfurt Kurnit.

  • DOJ's Cautious Return To Supplemental Enviro Projects

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    While the U.S. Department of Justice has ended the Trump-era ban on negotiating supplemental environment projects as part of civil and criminal environmental settlements, the process and delay around this change suggest that SEPs may be more limited under the Biden administration than in the past, say attorneys at Sidley.

  • Justices' Ruling Makes Some Progress On Cop Accountability

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Thompson v. Clark removes a roadblock that stymied malicious prosecution lawsuits, and could have positive impacts beyond the Fourth Amendment — but suits seeking accountability for police misconduct still face numerous challenges, says Brian Frazelle at the Constitutional Accountability Center.

  • We Can't Rely On Lawyers For Every Justice Need

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    The Southern District of New York, which recently heard arguments in Upsolve and John Udo-Okon v. New York, has the opportunity to increase access to justice by allowing nonlawyers to provide legal help, shifting the focus from credentials to substantive outcomes, says Rebecca Sandefur at Arizona State University.

  • Reinvigorated DOJ Is Strong Incentive For Police Reforms

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    The U.S. Department of Justice is fully back in the business of investigating law enforcement agencies as part of the Biden administration's prioritization of racial equity, criminal justice reform and prosecution of hate crimes, so police departments have strong incentive to be proactive in their reforms, say attorneys at McGuireWoods.

  • Habeas Ruling Shows Justices' Growing Hostility Toward Writ

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Brown v. Davenport, upholding the murder conviction of a man who was shackled at trial in view of the jury, makes an unjust federal review law more potent, and points to the conservative supermajority’s increasing antagonism toward writs of habeas corpus, says Christopher Wright Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • Time To Fix Legal Industry's Environmental Pro Bono Problem

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    As we observe Earth Month, it's sobering to note that pro bono environmental law work lags behind other practice areas — but the good news is that there are numerous organizations that can help lawyers get connected with environment-related pro bono projects, says Matthew Karmel at Riker Danzig.

  • How Prosecutors Can End Cycle Of Intimate Partner Violence

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    With 10 million people in the U.S. reporting that they experience intimate partner violence each year, it’s clear that traditional forms of prosecution are falling short, especially in small and rural communities, but prosecutors can explore new ways to support survivors and prevent violence, say Alissa Marque Heydari at John Jay College and David Sullivan, a district attorney.

  • DOJ's Boeing Immunity Deal Violated Crime Victims' Rights

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    The Northern District of Texas should support the arguments of 737 Max plane crash victims’ families, and hold that the U.S. Department of Justice violated the families' ability to provide input under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act when it secretly entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing, says Meg Garvin at the National Crime Victims Law Institute.

  • Jackson Confirmation Hearings Should Examine Due Process

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    In the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings, senators should assess Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s approach to holding government actors accountable in the areas of qualified immunity and forfeiture, as revisiting shaky precedents on these topics could help guarantee due process for all, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • ABA's New Anti-Bias Curriculum Rule Is Insufficient

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    The American Bar Association's recently approved requirement that law schools educate students on bias, cross-cultural competency and racism, while a step in the right direction, fails to publicly acknowledge and commit to eradicating the systemic racial inequality in our legal system, says criminal defense attorney Donna Mulvihill Fehrmann.

  • Justice Reforms Call For Quick Action To Fill US Atty Spots

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    U.S. attorneys play an important role in transforming the criminal legal system for several reasons, and they can restore integrity and independence to the U.S. Department of Justice, so President Joe Biden and Congress must move quickly to fill the remaining two-thirds of the top prosecutor seats, says Derick Dailey at Davis + Gilbert.

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