Access to Justice

  • September 20, 2020

    Why The Risks Of 'YouTube Trials' May Outweigh The Benefits

    COVID-19 has forced courts to find creative ways to keep operating, but a Philadelphia policy to put criminal trials and other proceedings "live" on YouTube isn't worth the privacy risks, according to victims' advocates and other critics. That policy is in limbo for now, but the controversy may serve as a warning to other jurisdictions considering similar steps.

  • September 20, 2020

    Americans' Civics Knowledge Up In 2020

    Turns out there may be a plus side after all to a long period of impeachment brawls, contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominee fights and numerous investigations and scandals: More Americans are up on their civics knowledge.

  • September 20, 2020

    Farella Braun Secures New Trial In 40-Year Murder Case

    Marvin "Shaka" Walker has spent decades behind bars after he was convicted of fatally shooting a boy during a 1979 liquor store robbery in California. Through the work of Farella Braun & Martel LLP, he now has the opportunity either for a new trial or to walk free.

  • September 20, 2020

    Amid Virus, Disaster Attys Struggle To Reach Survivors

    Between wildfires in the West and storms in the South, 2020 is already shaping up to be a tough year for natural disasters. And for the legal aid attorneys on the front lines, the coronavirus is eating up resources and blocking access to survivors.

  • September 20, 2020

    Financial Aid For Attys Could Help Close Rural Justice Gap

    Financial incentives and highlighting the benefits of small-town life could help draw young attorneys to practice in small, tribal and rural areas, said panelists at a conference addressing access to justice in these communities.

  • September 13, 2020

    Online Court Pilot Gets Low Marks Ahead Of Wider Launch

    Utah's online dispute resolution pilot program, which is aimed at increasing access to justice, has serious design problems with its online platform, according to an outside evaluator, which recommended that the state work to make the platform more user-friendly.

  • September 13, 2020

    Flowers Case Shows How AGs Are Stepping Into The Spotlight

    The Mississippi attorney general's dismissal of case against Curtis Flowers, a Black man who stood trial six times for the same murders, marks the latest example of an attorney general swooping into the spotlight and taking over controversial prosecutions. It's a trend that could continue as long as racial justice issues garner national attention.

  • September 13, 2020

    LWV's Celina Stewart Talks Access To Justice Via Voting

    As the League of Women Voters' senior director of advocacy and litigation, Celina Stewart oversees a national case portfolio that has tripled in size during the pandemic. She spoke with Law360 about the intersection of access to justice and this year's election.

  • September 13, 2020

    Bill Would Loosen Pretrial Detention For Some Drug Charges

    A bipartisan bill recently unveiled in the U.S. Senate would eliminate the presumption that those facing federal drug charges must be detained before their trials start, with sponsors contending the measure would empower judges and prevent unnecessary incarcerations.

  • August 30, 2020

    New Orleans Threatens To Defund Court Over Fines And Fees

    Every year, the 390,000 residents of New Orleans pay an estimated $1.9 million in criminal fines and fees. But the City Council has passed a novel resolution threatening to choke off money to the courts if criminal fines continued to be levied.

  • August 30, 2020

    MoFo Helps Reverse 1994 Calif. Murder Conviction

    Police who buried evidence, a grossly unprepared defense attorney, and prosecutors who let officers lie under oath — for Arturo Jimenez, it all added up to 25 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Earlier this month, a Morrison & Foerster pro bono team helped clear his name.

  • August 30, 2020

    Rape Kit Backlogs Continue To Delay Justice For Victims

    The state of Virginia recently become the sixth state to clear its rape kit backlog. With thousands of untested kits in other states, sexual assault cases remain unprosecuted despite growing efforts to get through the mountains of DNA evidence. The brutal case of one victim in New York shows why such testing can be critical.

  • August 28, 2020

    Chicago Bracing For Post-Pandemic Foreclosure Surge

    As the Circuit Court of Cook County stares down an influx of eviction, foreclosure and other debt collection cases, the local legal community is using the calm before the storm to help Chicago residents mitigate their pandemic-era financial crises and potentially save their homes.

  • August 26, 2020

    Navajo Man Executed Despite Tribe's Calls For Clemency

    Navajo citizen Lezmond Mitchell was executed at an Indiana federal prison Wednesday for a 2001 double murder, a sentence carried out over the objections of many tribal advocates and the Navajo Nation itself, which opposes the death penalty.

  • August 23, 2020

    Top NJ Court Handcuffs Police Oversight Board's Powers

    New Jersey's highest court has defanged the powers of a civilian board meant to oversee police actions in the state's largest city, barring it from investigating alleged police misconduct at the same time that internal investigators are probing a matter.

  • August 23, 2020

    3 Death Penalty Cases Knocking On The High Court's Door

    A trio of petitions served up to the U.S. Supreme Court this month take aim at three distinct elements of the capital punishment process: conviction, sentencing and the execution itself.

  • August 23, 2020

    Liyah Brown On The Push For Radical Reform In Texas

    Since starting as legal director of the Texas Civil Rights Project's Criminal Injustice Reform division in March, Liyah Brown has been leading the organization's effort to combat racism in the state's criminal justice system and pursue systemic change in policing, incarceration, the money bail system and more.

  • August 21, 2020

    Arbitration Could Resolve 'Disaster' Of Human Rights At Sea

    Could international arbitration provide a way for victims of human rights abuses at sea to finally seek redress after years of falling under the radar? A new initiative is betting that the answer to that question is yes.

  • August 18, 2020

    Why Trump's Sentencing Panel Picks Worry Reform Boosters

    President Donald Trump has tapped five people for the influential commission that sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, but advocates for change on both the left and right are calling the slate "antithetical to reform" and urging senators not to confirm the picks.

  • August 16, 2020

    Paul Weiss Wins Housing Changes For Disabled NYC Tenants

    Advocating for a mobility-impaired veteran's access to his New York City Housing Authority apartment building, a team of lawyers recently secured a victory for the 63-year-old tenant that has lasting implications for other similarly situated residents.

  • August 16, 2020

    Virus Lights Fire Under Eviction Right To Counsel Movement

    The ongoing pandemic has put new urgency behind a nascent movement pushing to give tenants facing eviction a right to counsel, advocates say.

  • August 16, 2020

    Public Defender System In Nevada Poised For Reforms

    Attorneys at O'Melveny & Myers LLP helped the ACLU secure an agreement they hope will would result in real change for low-income defendants in Nevada seeking access to meaningful legal representation.

  • August 14, 2020

    Masks, Cleaning Rules Vary As Immigration Courts Reopen

    Immigration lawyer Eileen Blessinger gave her client, an asylum-seeker with severe past trauma, a homemade mask with green clovers on it to wear during his immigration court hearing on Tuesday, to give him the "luck of the Irish," she said.

  • August 14, 2020

    Utah High Court OKs Experiment To Test New Law Models

    Utah will try out new law practice business models that allow for more participation by nonlawyers after the state Supreme Court unanimously OK'd a standing order that goes into effect Friday authorizing a pilot program aimed at improving access to justice in the state.

  • August 09, 2020

    When Can A Juror Say Black Lives Matter?

    When she showed up for jury duty, prosecutors asked Crishala Reed about her support of Black Lives Matter and, in doing so, teed up a new legal fight in California over how race is being used to reject jurors.

Expert Analysis

  • The Case Against Solitary Confinement During Pandemic

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    Prisons and corrections systems must ensure that medical isolation during the pandemic does not devolve into prolonged solitary confinement that unduly burdens the individual liberty of people behind bars, says Marc Levin at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: McCarter & English's Abdul Rehman

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    As society continues to adapt to COVID-19, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Newark-based Abdul Rehman Khan, pro bono fellow for the city of Newark at McCarter & English.

  • Legal Aid Needs Law Firm Support Now More Than Ever

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    With the need for pro bono services expected at unprecedented levels in the wake of the pandemic, and funding sources for legal aid organizations under severe stress, law firm leaders need to take measures to fill the gap, says Jeffrey Stone, chairman emeritus at McDermott.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: Cleveland Legal Aid's Colleen Cotter

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    As society continues to adapt to COVID-19, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Colleen Cotter, executive director at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

  • Problems With Tolling The Speedy Trial Act During Pandemic

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    A plethora of federal courts have responded to social distancing requirements by entering blanket orders tolling compliance with Speedy Trial Act deadlines, but because there is no case-by-case analysis of their need and other factors, the orders raise questions about whether such tolling efforts are valid, say attorneys at Winston & Strawn.

  • Guantanamo 9/11 Trial Is A Failure

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    The Guantanamo military commissions — seemingly a contrived attempt to avoid federal criminal court and thereby insulate the CIA from the legal implications of its torture program — appear fatally flawed, so Congress should have the 9/11 defendants tried in civilian criminal court, says Patrick Doherty at Ropes & Gray.

  • Data Is Key To Stopping COVID-19 Spread In Prisons

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    There is an urgent need for state and county officials to publicly share accurate data about COVID-19 testing, infections and deaths in jails and prisons, so that effective, life-saving changes can be made to the criminal justice system, say criminologists Oren Gur, Jacob Kaplan and Aaron Littman.

  • A Proposal For Efficient Post-Pandemic Justice In New York

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    The litigation backlog in state courts due to COVID-19 will make swift, orderly and fair resolution of disputes almost certainly impossible, but thankfully in New York, there are three nontraditional avenues to justice that can inform a post-pandemic emergency tribunal, says Joseph Gallagher at Harris St. Laurent.

  • Downturn An Opportunity For Law Firms To Boost Pro Bono

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    While now hardly seems like the time for law firms to be volunteering their attorneys’ services, it is the right thing to do and a sensible investment that would likely not be made at any other time, says Martin Pritikin, dean of Concord Law School.

  • Inmate Release Exhaustion Rule Should Be Waived For COVID

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    The issue at the forefront of many compassionate release applications during the pandemic has been whether federal courts must wait 30 days before they can rule on them due to the statutory administrative exhaustion requirement, and those 30 days could become a matter of life or death, says Jolene LaVigne-Albert at Schlam Stone.

  • COVID-19 Highlights Access Injustice In Personal Bankruptcy

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    In the age of enforced social distancing, the limits on access to electronic filing means bankruptcy is paradoxically only available to those individuals who can afford it, says Rohan Pavuluri at Upsolve.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: Pine Tree's Nan Heald

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    With distancing and isolation the new norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Maine-based Nan Heald, executive director at Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

  • Social Distancing And Right To Jury Trial Must Be Reconciled

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    It would seem almost obvious to conclude that the internet and proposed e-courtroom venues may be best suited to promote social distancing while ensuring the uninterrupted constitutional right to a trial by jury, but numerous questions exist, say Justin Sarno and Jayme Long at Dentons.

  • Tips For Prisoner Release Requests During Pandemic

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    The 70 compassionate release rulings issued by federal courts in the past three weeks suggest that the chances of securing release from prison premised on COVID-19 are boosted significantly where the defendant is able to accomplish one or more of three goals, say attorneys at Waller.

  • States Must Toll Court Deadlines To Ensure Access To Justice

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    There are several reasons why a state should consider temporarily lifting statutes of limitations during this pandemic, including protecting the rights of litigants who are vulnerable, say Adam Mendel and Rayna Kessler at Robins Kaplan.

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