Access to Justice

  • May 13, 2020

    NY Child Victims Act Ruled Constitutional By State Judge

    A New York state judge has rejected a bid by a Long Island diocese of the Roman Catholic church to dismiss 44 sexual abuse complaints filed against it in a Child Victims Act suit, rejecting the church's argument that the law violates the due process clause of the state's constitution.

  • May 13, 2020

    NY Atty Confusion, Concern Around New Virus Eviction Rule

    Attorneys for both tenants and landlords in New York have their eyes set on June 20, as they try to plan for a new executive order from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo amending rules for commercial and residential evictions during the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • May 12, 2020

    'Remain In Mexico' Changes Spark Confusion At The Border

    Changes recently announced to the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" program have confused asylum-seekers and their attorneys alike, prompting some migrants to risk infection from the coronavirus and come to the border as initially scheduled out of fear of deportation.

  • May 10, 2020

    Is Now The Time To Reform How Courts Handle Debt Cases?

    COVID-19's chilling effect on court operations at least presents an opportunity to rethink how consumers are treated in debt collection lawsuits, according to the group behind a new report, which found that, even before the pandemic, individuals facing such cases were often a missing element in the courtroom.

  • May 10, 2020

    Law Students Step Up As Legal Needs From Virus Grow

    Thousands of law students have signed up to volunteer for coronavirus-related legal aid opportunities, which represent a chance to help with relief efforts and to cut their teeth with some real-life lawyering.

  • May 10, 2020

    How One Legal Aid Clinic Has Gone Virtual

    The coronavirus pandemic has presented walk-in legal aid clinics with an existential crisis, but with the assistance of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, one clinic in Dallas is using a new virtual platform to press forward and seeing more attorneys volunteering to help.

  • May 10, 2020

    Citizens In This State Face The Biggest Risk On Court Fines

    When it comes to state policies that lend themselves to high fines and court fees, Georgia is the state where citizens are most at risk for such charges, while North Carolina is the state with the most protections, according to a new report.

  • May 08, 2020

    Immigration Board Picks Under Trump To Set Lasting Policy

    The Trump administration is staffing the Board of Immigration Appeals with former immigration judges who have high asylum-denial rates and backgrounds in law enforcement. Advocates for immigrants and lawmakers have warned that the hiring process is too politicized and could shape immigration law for years to come.

  • May 03, 2020

    For The Homeless, Virus' Threat Also Brings Hope For Reform

    Coronavirus-fueled stay-at-home orders have contributed to an existing catalog of laws that are difficult for homeless people to obey. But attorneys say the pandemic has also opened the door for impact litigation that could make more safe housing available.

  • May 03, 2020

    Winston & Strawn Lends Virtual Hand To DACA Recipients

    A looming U.S. Supreme Court decision could end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at any moment. Winston & Strawn attorneys are conducting virtual clinics to help DACA recipients file for two more years of legal status before it’s too late.

  • May 03, 2020

    Disaster Aid Portal Aims To Ease Hunt For Pro Bono Work

    The American Bar Association's Disaster Legal Services program has teamed up with legal technology company Paladin to launch a pro bono portal that allows attorneys across the country to volunteer their time to people affected by COVID-19 and other disasters.

  • May 03, 2020

    Cops Sued For Forcing Sex Offenders To Appear Amid COVID-19

    Authorities in Fresno, California, are inflicting "cruel and unusual punishment" on registered sex offenders and violating the U.S. Constitution by requiring the individuals to appear in person for registration updates during the coronavirus pandemic, three offenders contend.

  • May 01, 2020

    Judge Troubled By 'Brazen' Acts Affecting Inmate/Atty Access

    The New York federal judge overseeing the mediation of a lawsuit brought by The Federal Defenders of New York against the Federal Bureau of Prisons over attorneys' access to clients in detention on Friday voiced concern over continued problems, including "brazen" conduct by prison guards who were reportedly listening in on an inmate's phone calls with lawyers.

  • April 26, 2020

    Virus Sparks Calls To Pump The Brakes On Debt Suits

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to envelop the country, some consumer advocates are calling for greater protections for debtors until the crisis abates, arguing that the economic crisis is negatively impacting the ability of Americans to not only pay their debts but also fight collection actions in court.

  • April 26, 2020

    UPenn Law Prof On How Public Health Policy Must Improve

    University of Pennsylvania law professor Eric Feldman says the novel coronavirus has revealed both the failures of international public health policy and the civil rights trade-offs of containing a pandemic in the U.S. and internationally.

  • April 26, 2020

    After Win, Those Fighting Divided Verdicts Eye Next Chapter

    A high court ruling last week that nonunanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases are unconstitutional could prove huge for defendants in two states who are challenging their convictions, though questions such as the ruling’s retroactive impact still need to be answered.

  • April 24, 2020

    NY Inmates Still Getting Burned On Atty Access, Judge Told

    An attorney for the Federal Defenders of New York on Friday told the Brooklyn federal judge overseeing a dispute over attorneys' contact with their incarcerated clients in New York federal jails that problems are persisting, including two cases of COVID-19 positive inmates who were being held in medical isolation without telephonic access to their attorneys or families.

  • April 22, 2020

    5th Circ. Denies Prosecutors Immunity In Fake Subpoena Suit

    The Fifth Circuit has ruled in a published opinion that a group of Louisiana prosecutors who attempted to use fake subpoenas to pressure witnesses and crime victims to answer questions are not entitled to the usual immunity that comes with the office when pursuing a criminal case.

  • April 19, 2020

    Homeless Angelenos Get Due Process Win Over City Seizures

    In January 2019, Janet Garcia returned from getting ready for work to find that all of her belongings had been seized and destroyed by the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation.

  • April 19, 2020

    Victims' Rights Suffer Blow In Epstein Case

    In the latest twist in the Jeffrey Epstein saga, a split Eleventh Circuit panel ruled last week that the protections of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act do not arise until after a formal criminal charge has been filed. For Epstein’s victims, it could mark the end of a 12-year-long legal challenge — and for the victims’ rights movement, it could be a lasting blow.

  • April 19, 2020

    Virus Forces Transparency Reckoning Among Highest Courts

    Since coronavirus concerns shuttered courthouses nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court and some appellate judges have given in to livestream technology. Transparency advocates welcome this development and hope the practice will continue even after the pandemic ends.

  • April 19, 2020

    Bail Bond Groups Can't Sink Calif. Price-Fixing Suit

    For those who turn to bail bonds in California, the cost of getting oneself or a loved one out of prison while awaiting a court date can be steep, but a proposed class action now poised to move forward contends there’s more to those rates than honest market forces.

  • April 19, 2020

    Amid Pandemic, Hearings For Detained Migrant Kids Go On

    As federal courts close their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, immigration court proceedings for migrant children in government custody are moving forward. Attorneys told Law360 that continuing these hearings risks children's health and threatens due process.

  • April 19, 2020

    O'Melveny Helps Reunite Family Amid COVID-19 Fears

    When three young siblings found themselves detained 50 miles from their father's home in Maryland, with the government moving to deport them rather than reunite the family, it was the latest hardship in a journey fraught with danger.

  • April 13, 2020

    Judge Demands Info From Officials In Miami Jail Virus Suit

    A Florida federal judge said Monday that the criminal justice system must face new realities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as she pressed Miami-Dade County for information she said will be essential in considering a proposed class action alleging inmates' constitutional rights are being violated by inadequate jail conditions.

Expert Analysis

  • Looted-Art Heirs May Find A Sympathetic Forum In NY Courts

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    The New York Appellate Division decision last week in Reif v. Nagy — in favor of the heirs in a Holocaust looted-art claim — is noteworthy because of the manner in which it rejected the defendant’s claim of laches, just a few weeks after the Second Circuit had dismissed a Holocaust looted-art claim on those very grounds, says Martin Bienstock of Bienstock.

  • Addressing Modern Slavery Inside And Outside The UK

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    As the problem of modern slavery persists, U.K. companies must take a broad approach when rooting out slave labor in their supply chains, and should not ignore the risk posed by suppliers within the U.K., says Maria Theodoulou of Stokoe.

  • High Court's Juror Exclusion Ruling Does Not Do Enough

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    In Flowers v. Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court extended the rhetoric that exclusion of even one juror based on race is unconstitutional, but without further guidance, the principle the court seeks to uphold will continue to falter, says Kate Margolis of Bradley Arant.

  • Artisanal Miners' Roadblocks To Justice: Is A Path Clearing?

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    Efforts to give small-scale gold miners, who face displacement, pollution and violence at sites around the world, access to fair and functioning justice systems have met with apathy from politicians and fierce resistance from powerful business lobbies, but there are signs that this may be changing, says Mark Pieth, president of the Basel Institute on Governance.

  • High Court Ruling Highlights Double Jeopardy Complications

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    Although the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Gamble does not change the application of the double jeopardy clause as interpreted by federal courts, the decision reinforces the significant impact of dual prosecutions and the risks for corporate and individual defendants, say Laurel Gift and Randall Hsia of Schnader Harrison.

  • High Court's 'Separate Sovereigns' Ruling Is Good For Tribes

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gamble v. U.S. — reaffirming the so-called separate sovereigns doctrine — preserves tribal prosecutors' autonomy and ability to respond promptly to offenses without worrying about the legal repercussions on federal prosecutions, say Steven Gordon and Philip Baker-Shenk of Holland & Knight.

  • Border Phone Search Questions Continue In Federal Court

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    A Massachusetts federal court's eventual decision on cellphone searches at the U.S. border in Alasaad v. Nielsen will further illustrate the differences in how federal courts apply the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Riley v. California to the warrant-requirement exception for border searches, says Sharon Barney at Leech Tishman.

  • US Misdemeanor System Should Honor Principles Of Justice

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    The U.S. misdemeanor system — which represents the vast majority of the country’s criminal system — is under-regulated, rarely scrutinized and rife with official rule-breaking. It's time we brought this enormous aspect of our democracy into the modern legal era, says Alexandra Natapoff of University of California, Irvine School of Law.

  • Does Multidistrict Litigation Deny Plaintiffs Due Process?

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    Judges in multidistrict litigation consistently appoint lead plaintiffs lawyers based on their experience, war chests and ability to get along with everyone. But evidence suggests that these repeat players often make deals riddled with self-interest and provisions that goad plaintiffs into settling, says Elizabeth Chamblee Burch of the University of Georgia School of Law.

  • NLRB Case Hinders Workers' Path To Justice

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    A little-noticed National Labor Relations Board filing has taken the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 class action waiver decision and turned it into a justification for further limiting workers’ access to courts, says Sharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

  • Immigration Enforcement Under Trump Neglects Rule Of Law

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    What President Donald Trump and his administration have described as a “humanitarian crisis” at the U.S. southern border is, in reality, a Trump-exacerbated crisis — which demands real solutions, not incendiary rhetoric, cruelty and lawlessness, says David Leopold of Ulmer & Berne.

  • Calif. Lawmakers Should Stay Out Of USC Sex Abuse Case

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    A pending settlement between the University of Southern California and 17,000 former students would resolve claims over the actions of a sexually abusive gynecologist. But proposed state legislation could undermine the settlement, says Shook Hardy partner Phil Goldberg, director of the Progressive Policy Institute’s Center for Civil Justice.

  • Utah's Online Dispute Platform Is Streamlining Small Claims

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    By making small claims litigation cheaper, faster and more convenient, especially for those facing difficulty appearing in court due to work schedules or geographic distances, an online pilot program in Utah is resolving cases that would otherwise go unfiled — or defaulted upon, says Martin Pritikin, dean of Concord Law School at Purdue University Global.

  • The First Step Act Is A Major Step For Sentencing Reform

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    While many have heralded the First Step Act as an example of bipartisan cooperation, the mainstream press has said surprisingly little about the law's specific sentencing improvements — many stemming from recommendations made by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, says Judge Patti Saris, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

  • How To Improve Jurors' Perceptions Of Legal Outcomes

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    When practitioners use methods to emphasize procedural fairness during jury selection, they can engender more faith in the justice system among potential jurors — which can extend beyond trial, says Natalie Gordon of trial consulting firm DOAR.

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