Access to Justice

  • March 21, 2023

    Bipartisan Report Recommends Axing Mandatory Minimums

    A new study co-chaired by Sally Yates, the Obama administration's former deputy attorney general, and former Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy recommends doing away with mandatory minimum sentences and increasing parole opportunities to cut down on long prison sentences, which they say are often wasteful and ineffective.

  • March 17, 2023

    Georgetown Tech Program To Begin In Tenn., Utah, Kan.

    The Georgetown University Law Center has announced the first three court projects selected for its inaugural Judicial Innovation Fellowship, which will embed technologists and software designers in state, local and tribal courts to develop tech-based solutions to improve access to the judicial system.

  • March 10, 2023

    Stoel Rives, Dorsey Attys Break Ground For Minn. Detainees

    In a win for two Minnesota Sex Offender Program patients left waiting for more than two years after being deemed eligible to move out of lockdown confinement, attorneys at Stoel Rives LLP and Dorsey & Whitney LLP recently secured a significant ruling requiring speedier state action on court-ordered transfers.

  • March 10, 2023

    NY Lawmakers Renew Push To Ban 'Predatory' Court Fees

    New York levies a mandatory surcharge on every criminal conviction, whether it’s for a violation, a misdemeanor or a felony. In some cases, court fees can add up to hundreds of dollars, and critics say the levies fall disproportionately on the backs of low-income residents. A proposed bill would eliminate them.

  • March 08, 2023

    Senate Votes Down DC's Revised Criminal Code

    The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday 81-14-1 to block Washington, D.C.'s revised criminal code from taking effect, a move that would leave in place a 122-year-old code that's been described as unclear and piecemeal, and highlights the district's unique hurdles to self-governance.

  • March 08, 2023

    Conn. Court Axes Class Action Over State's 'Pay To Stay' Law

    A federal judge in Connecticut on Monday told three former inmates they had no standing to challenge the state's attorney general over a controversial law that allows the state to sue prisoners for the costs of their incarceration.

  • February 24, 2023

    Retired Atty's Fight To Help End DC Driver License Penalties

    After retiring in 2018 from several decades of government work, a former U.S. Department of Labor attorney found a new opportunity to serve the public as he recently helped mount a successful challenge to a Washington, D.C., rule barring individuals with unpaid fines from obtaining or renewing driver licenses.

  • February 24, 2023

    ICE, Prison Co. Targeted Detainee Hunger Strikers, Suit Says

    Staff at two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities in California regularly retaliated against migrant detainees for engaging in hunger strikes, including by denying them basic hygiene supplies and threatening solitary confinement, a new lawsuit alleges.

  • February 24, 2023

    Law360 Seeks Members For Its 2023 Editorial Boards

    Law360 is looking for avid readers of our publications to serve as members of our 2023 editorial advisory boards.

  • February 22, 2023

    Justices Say Ariz. Got Death Penalty Due Process Wrong

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday said Arizona high court justices so wrongly interpreted the state's criminal procedure rules that federal review was warranted, in a death penalty appeal that spurred a 5-4 divide among the justices.

  • February 21, 2023

    Use Of Plea Bargains Undermining Justice, ABA Report Says

    The overuse of plea bargains in criminal prosecutions is undermining the criminal justice system's integrity, exacerbating its racial inequality and creating "perverse incentives" to prioritize expediency over fact-finding, according to an American Bar Association report issued Wednesday.

  • February 03, 2023

    What The Tyre Nichols Case Means For Police Prosecutions

    When Tyre Nichols was fatally beaten by Memphis, Tennessee, police last month, videos of the incident helped prompt local prosecutors to quickly bring second-degree murder charges against five of the officers involved — a highly unusual result that offers a window into the evolving state of police accountability in the U.S. Here, Law360 looks at some of the factors that make the Nichols case unusual, and what implications it could hold for future police prosecutions.

  • February 03, 2023

    House Task Force Aims To Help Ex-Cons Thrive After Prison

    More than two dozen members of Congress have banded together to create a new bipartisan task force focused on aiding former inmates' reentry into society.

  • February 03, 2023

    Md. Court Watchers Push For Permanent Remote Access

    Singer-songwriter Fiona Apple added another skill to her repertoire during the pandemic by becoming a citizen court-watcher, remotely observing hearings in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, and now she is part of a coalition advocating for a bill that would make it easier for the public to access court proceedings.

  • February 03, 2023

    Gibson Dunn Aids Venezuelan Asylum-Seekers Bused To NYC

    When Texas, Florida and Arizona authorities began busing tens of thousands of migrants from the Southern border to Northern cities last year, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP attorneys stepped up to provide legal aid to hundreds of Venezuelan families applying for asylum in the U.S.

  • February 03, 2023

    Calif. Federal Judge Orders Release Of Medical Pot Operator

    A man convicted of running a California medical marijuana operation and sentenced to over two decades in federal prison is expected to walk free on Friday after a federal judge granted a motion to reduce his sentence.

  • February 02, 2023

    Gov't Denies It's 'Not Playing Ball' On Remote Hearings

    The federal government has rebuffed a claim by the American Immigration Lawyers Association that it is "not playing ball in a serious way" to provide a remote option for immigration hearings, saying the group was the uncooperative party.

  • February 02, 2023

    DC Court Orders Better Legal Access At Ariz. ICE Center

    A Washington, D.C., federal court ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to improve access to counsel at an Arizona detention facility, saying the facility appears to have completely blocked attorneys' access to detainees.

  • January 30, 2023

    Mass. Launches Abortion Hotline Staffed By BigLaw, ACLU

    A group of 150 attorneys from some of the largest Massachusetts law firms and the ACLU will provide free legal advice about abortion access to patients and health care providers through a new confidential hotline, state Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell said Monday.

  • January 20, 2023

    Panel Urges Legal Reformers To Include Community Groups

    Lawyers and judges need to include consumers and community-based organizations in their design- and decision-making process for implementing legal regulatory reform, according to a panel at the Legal Services Corp.'s Innovations in Technology Conference on Friday.

  • January 20, 2023

    Crowell & Moring Takes Murder Conviction Fight To Justices

    Following a recent setback before a federal appeals court in their nearly 15-year fight to clear a Florida man of murder charges, a team of Crowell & Moring LLP attorneys is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to side with claims that prosecutors withheld key evidence in their client's case.

  • January 20, 2023

    Latham, Davis Polk Help Free Domestic Violence Survivor

    Jacqueline Smalls had two active orders of protection against her physically abusive boyfriend when she said he entered her Schenectady, New York, home in 2012. Fearing for her life, she fatally stabbed him.

  • January 20, 2023

    Panel Urges Landlord, Court Collaboration To Divert Evictions

    The success of any court-based program aimed at slowing down or preventing evictions depends on strategic communication with landlords and courts, in addition to tenants, according to a recent panel on eviction diversion programs across the country.

  • January 20, 2023

    Could This Case Help Upend The Death Penalty In Oklahoma?

    Convicted murderer Richard Glossip is set to be executed in Oklahoma next month, but doubts about his guilt and allegations of police incompetence and prosecutorial misconduct are leading some in the state to reconsider not just his case but the death penalty itself.

  • January 19, 2023

    Remote Proceedings Can Improve Justice In Rural Areas

    Courts should embrace remote proceedings to improve access to justice in rural communities because participants don't have to drive hours to a courthouse, take time off work or arrange child care, according to a virtual panel hosted by the National Center for State Courts.

Expert Analysis

  • US Self-Defense Law Is Neither Overly Harsh Nor Disappearing

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    The inaccurate caricatures of U.S. self-defense law distract us from engaging in a more fully informed debate about the appropriate role of, and justification for, self-defense in a modern, pluralistic society, says Markus Funk at Perkins Coie.

  • High Court Death Penalty Ruling Presents A Troubling Future

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    While the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Cruz v. Arizona — which said the Arizona high court misinterpreted state criminal procedure and warranted federal review was — came as a pleasant surprise in its prioritization of due process, the 5-4 ruling also portends poorly for the future with a low bar in death penalty cases, says Christopher Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • What Landmark Ruling Means For Civil Rights Suits In Nevada

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    The Nevada Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Mack v. Williams ends the use of qualified immunity in the state, and though the defense will likely be revived by the Legislature, the decision provides a framework for litigants to hold state actors accountable for violations of state constitutional protections, says Austin Barnum at Clark Hill.

  • We Can Ensure Public Safety And Still Reduce Incarceration

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    Recent progress toward reducing jail and prison populations remains fragile as tough-on-crime policies reemerge, but American history shows that we don’t have to choose between less violence and lower incarceration rates — we can have both, says Jeffrey Bellin at William & Mary Law School.

  • War On Drugs Is Cautionary Tale For Abortion Prosecution

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    As state abortion bans proliferate, prosecutors have an obligation to learn from the devastating lessons of the war on drugs — which disproportionately affected communities of color — and vow not to prosecute individuals’ reproductive health care-related decisions, says Dekalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston.

  • The Most-Read Access To Justice Law360 Guest Articles Of 2022

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    Law360 guest experts weighed in on a broad slate of emerging access to justice issues last year, ranging from evidence of ineffective counsel to opportunities for nonlawyers to provide legal help and the presumption of innocence.

  • Understanding Illinois' First-Of-Its-Kind Law Nixing Cash Bail

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    A new law taking effect Jan. 1 that makes Illinois the first state to eliminate cash bail has been amended to correct some of the many concerns of those who opposed the original, flawed piece of legislation that was rushed through, and will make sweeping changes to how criminal justice operates in Illinois, say Joe Tabor and Perry Zhao at the Illinois Policy Institute.

  • Defense Attorneys Can Help Limit Electronic Monitor Overuse

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    Though electronic monitoring is increasingly promoted as an alternative to incarceration for people awaiting trial, on probation or parole, or undergoing immigration proceedings, its effectiveness is unsupported by evidence and it results in clear harms, so defense attorneys should consider several strategies to challenge its overuse, say experts at the ACLU.

  • DOJ Can't Justify Its Failure To Get Data On Deaths In Custody

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    The U.S. Department of Justice incorrectly claims that a law requiring it to collect meaningful data on how many people die in government custody has somehow limited its ability to do just that — and every failure to study these deaths is a missed opportunity to prevent others, says David Janovsky at the Project On Government Oversight.

  • How Civilian Attorneys Can Help Veterans

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    With legal aid topping the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' annual list of unmet needs of veterans facing housing insecurity, nonmilitary volunteer attorneys can provide some of the most effective legal services to military and veteran clients, say Anna Richardson at Veterans Legal Services and Nicholas Hasenfus at Holland & Knight.

  • Prison Abuse Victims May Get Justice In NY Look-Back Term

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    As New York opens a one-year window for survivors of adulthood sexual abuse to bring otherwise time-barred claims, incarcerated individuals who were abused by prison staff have an opportunity to seek redress, and can rely on a recent federal court decision to assess potential remedies, says Jaehyun Oh at the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm.

  • As 4th Circ. Reminds, Carrying Cash Is Not A Crime

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    The Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in U.S. v. McClellan makes clear that unwillingness or inability to use a bank account does not necessarily make someone a criminal, and that the government needs evidence of wrongdoing before seizing and keeping assets, say Robert Johnson and Caroline Grace Brothers at Institute for Justice.

  • Algorithms Have Potential To Reduce Sentencing Disparities

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    Criminal legal system algorithms have mostly been used to assess the risk posed by defendants in settings like pretrial release, bail determinations, sentencing and parole supervision, but predictable modeling can also be used to reduce sentencing disparities and overly punitive outcomes, say ACLU researchers and collaborators.

  • 2 Legislative Reforms Would Address Many Immigration Woes

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    Congress should pass currently pending legislation to create an Article I immigration court and update the registry process — reforms that would shield immigration courts from political pressure, enable many longtime residents to cure their immigration status, and alleviate case backlogs, says retired immigration judge Dana Leigh Marks.

  • Mich. Ruling Widens Sentencing Protections For Young Adults

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    The Michigan Supreme Court’s recent decision in People v. Parks, holding that a mandatory life-without-parole sentence for an 18-year-old violated the state’s constitution, builds on a nascent trend, based in neuroscience, that expands protections for young people over 17 who are charged with serious offenses, says Kimberly Thomas at the University of Michigan Law School.

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