Access to Justice

  • July 12, 2020

    Shift To Virtual Eviction Hearings Stirs Due Process Fears

    As communities throughout the country look to reinitiate eviction proceedings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many courts are conducting hearings online, creating a potential due process barrier for low-income individuals who face obstacles to fast internet connections, tenant advocates say.

  • July 10, 2020

    Is Milwaukee's Eviction Spike 'The Canary In The Coal Mine'?

    Wisconsin joined numerous states in passing protections against evictions at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but after its moratorium expired in late May, the city of Milwaukee saw a major spike in eviction cases, a trend that some worry might be repeated elsewhere as more eviction bans come to an end.

  • July 12, 2020

    How Pa. Is Setting The Pace On Clean Slate Reform

    More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians have been afforded a second chance as the state's first-of-its-kind automated system for sealing certain low-level criminal offenses went into effect. Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Act has now become a kind of national model as more than half a dozen states have started moving toward automated expungement of criminal records.

  • July 10, 2020

    NY Bill Would Suspend Two-Fail Bar Exam Rule For Pandemic

    New legislation would allow New York public defender and government law graduates who have twice failed the bar exam to continue to practice under supervision for the duration of the state's ongoing coronavirus state of emergency.

  • July 08, 2020

    NY Courts Extend Hold On Evictions In Latest Twist Of Saga

    The New York Office of Court Administration on Wednesday extended a pause on evictions and related proceedings at least through Aug. 5, even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo chipped away at remaining pandemic-related eviction restrictions.

  • June 28, 2020

    Will Spotlight On Racial Justice Force More Diverse Juries?

    Experts are expressing confidence that the civil unrest gripping the nation over racial tensions will refuel the push to make juries more diverse, a problem that has vexed the legal industry long before the killings of George Floyd and others by white police officers.

  • June 28, 2020

    Ruling May Show Sea Change In Territorial Access To Benefits

    Just weeks after the First Circuit said denying Puerto Ricans Social Security disability benefits is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Guam came to a similar conclusion, signaling a potential sea change in how the courts view U.S. citizens in territories who have traditionally been excluded from a number of federal programs.

  • June 28, 2020

    Immigrant Bond Grants Stagnate Despite More Counsel

    Over the last five years, representation rates for immigrants in bond hearings have nearly doubled. But over the same time period, bond grant rates have dropped — and those granted bonds have been asked to pay increasingly higher amounts for freedom.

  • June 28, 2020

    Virus's Creep Into Juvenile Detention Fuels Release Efforts

    Fewer than 14% of detained youth in Louisiana have been tested for COVID-19, but more than 93% of that group has tested positive. A recent setback in litigation aimed at their release highlights the challenges facing advocates who are concerned that purportedly rehabilitative juvenile detention facilities aren't meeting the moment.

  • June 28, 2020

    Morgan Lewis Helps Pa. Man Upend Murder Conviction

    Andrew Swainson tries not to be bitter about having spent 31 years of his life behind bars for a murder conviction that a Pennsylvania judge vacated earlier this month.

  • June 21, 2020

    Emily Benfer On The Incoming Wave Of COVID-19 Evictions

    Columbia University law professor Emily Benfer worked with Princeton University’s Eviction Lab to create a COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard that’s tracking eviction prevention policies across states. She told Law360 that the patchwork nature of the protections will leave many renters and landlords falling through the cracks.

  • June 21, 2020

    As Nov. Nears, Attys Fight To Ensure Jailed Voters Get Ballots

    While felony convictions have stripped more than 6 million Americans of their right to vote, about half a million people sitting in U.S. jails on any given day are eligible to cast a ballot, but they rarely can. Civil rights lawyers are trying to help.

  • June 21, 2020

    Donation Wave Powers Bail Funds' Future

    Bail funds received more than $70 million in donations during the wave of protests and activism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. Spikes in funding and media attention have happened before, but advocates say this time, momentum is building for lasting changes to the pretrial justice system.

  • June 21, 2020

    In California, Jury Boxes 'Whitewashed' All Too Often

    It's unconstitutional to prevent someone from serving on a jury based on their race, but a recent report examining jury selection in California found that Black and Latinx jurors are dramatically more likely to be struck from a jury by prosecutors.

  • June 14, 2020

    Virus Concerns Loom Over Handling Of Mass Arrests

    As the nation looks to address widespread calls for police reforms following the killing of a black man in police custody in Minnesota, legal advocates are also pushing for authorities to learn from how they handled the recent stretch of protests and, in some cases, looting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • June 14, 2020

    New Hurdle Emerges For Pro Se Prisoners

    Prisoners who represent themselves in court have a new hurdle to clear because of the U.S. Supreme Court's holding that they will lose their fee-waiver status after three certain types of unsuccessful federal lawsuits, no matter if they weren't dismissed on the merits.

  • June 14, 2020

    As Wash. Ends Access Program, Advocates Fear Ripple Effect

    The end of a Washington state program that made legal advice accessible for people who could not afford attorneys has come at a time when other states are considering or launching similar programs. While some say that the end of the program won't have an impact, others worry that it might undo progress for an idea that can sometimes be a tough sell.

  • June 14, 2020

    Kirkland Helps Indiana Foster Care Suit Stay On Track

    A putative class action on behalf of children in the Indiana foster care system has mostly survived the state's bid for a quick win thanks to a team of Kirkland & Ellis LLP attorneys and two nonprofit partners, though the government is still hoping to short-circuit the litigation.

  • June 12, 2020

    4th Circ. Cop Immunity Ruling Seen As Potential Turning Point

    The Fourth Circuit's recent decision to revive a police brutality suit has given civil rights attorneys hope that other courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, may be willing to take another look at so-called qualified immunity shielding police officers.

  • June 12, 2020

    Planned Asylum Overhaul Threatens Migrants' Due Process

    The Trump administration's proposed overhaul of the U.S. asylum process, calling for more power for immigration judges and asylum officers, could hinder migrants' access to counsel in an already fast-tracked immigration system.

  • June 08, 2020

    Supreme Court Curbs Frivolous Prisoner Lawsuits

    Litigious prisoners who bring three or more unsuccessful lawsuits will generally have to pay their own filing fees for any new actions, regardless of whether they lost their prior lawsuits on the merits, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

  • June 07, 2020

    Jon Rapping Talks Pandemics, Protests And Public Defense

    Jonathan Rapping, founder of the nonprofit public defender training organization Gideon’s Promise, speaks with Law360 about the launch of his new podcast and why public defenders are more important than ever amid a historic pandemic, police protests and surging interest in criminal justice reform.

  • June 07, 2020

    Sex Trafficking Prosecutions Continue To Drop In Fed. Court

    For the second year in a row, the number of federal human trafficking cases being prosecuted has dropped after almost two decades of increases, according to a new report released by the Human Trafficking Institute.

  • June 07, 2020

    Bleak Outlook Comes Into Focus For State Legal Aid Funders

    The state organizations responsible for helping fund civil legal aid knew the coronavirus would take a bite out of their budgets, but a new survey shows just how large that bite may be, with the programs saying they expect a combined revenue decline of at least $157.4 million compared with last year.

  • June 07, 2020

    As Justices Mull Qualified Immunity, Could Congress End It?

    For over a year, the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed taking up challenges to qualified immunity, a controversial doctrine it devised to protect law enforcement and other public officials from facing civil rights lawsuits. But after more than a week of widespread protests over police accountability, legislators are taking matters into their own hands.

Expert Analysis

  • Inside The Key Federal Sentencing Developments Of 2019

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    Raquel Wilson, director of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, discusses this year's developments in federal sentencing, including new legislation in the Senate and U.S. Supreme Court cases invalidating certain statutes.

  • ODonnell Consent Decree Will Harm Criminal Justice In Texas

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    In Odonnell v. Harris County, a Texas federal court ordered that misdemeanor offenders could be released without bail, marking a fundamental deterioration of the Texas criminal justice system, says attorney Randy Adler.

  • Judges Cannot Rehabilitate Offenders With Extra Prison Time

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    Although they may mean well, federal judges should stop attempting to help criminal defendants get into drug rehabilitation programs by unlawfully sending them to prison for longer than their recommended sentences, says GianCarlo Canaparo at The Heritage Foundation.

  • Time To Rethink License Suspensions Without Due Notice

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    In North Carolina, one in seven adults has a suspended driver’s license, but our research suggests that many of them never received actual notice of their license suspension, or of the court proceeding that led to it, making this a fundamentally unfair sanction, say Brandon Garrett, Karima Modjadidi and William Crozier at Duke University.

  • Changing The Way We Dialogue About Justice Reform

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    Dawn Freeman of The Securus Foundation discusses why humanizing the language used to discuss justice-involved individuals is a key aspect of reform and how the foundation’s upcoming campaign will implement this change in mainstream publications and on social media.

  • High Court Should Restore Sentencing Due Process

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    If the U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari in Asaro v. U.S. and rules that sentencing judges cannot consider uncharged, dismissed and acquitted conduct, a peculiar and troubling oddity of criminal and constitutional law will finally be rectified, say criminal defense attorney Alan Ellis and sentencing consultant Mark Allenbaugh.

  • Book Review: Who's To Blame For The Broken Legal System?

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    The provocative new book by Alec Karakatsanis, "Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System," shines a searing light on the anachronism that is the American criminal justice system, says Sixth Circuit Judge Bernice Donald.

  • High Court Should Affirm 3-Strikes Rule For Prisoner Pleading

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    The U.S. Supreme Court in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez should hold that any case dismissed for failure to state a claim should count as a strike for purposes of Section 1915(g), which allows incarcerated people to file three complaints free of charge, says GianCarlo Canaparo at The Heritage Foundation.

  • Acquitted Conduct Should Not Be Considered At Sentencing

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    Congress should advance the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act, which seeks to explicitly preclude federal judges from a practice that effectively eliminates the democratic role of the jury in the criminal justice system, says Robert Ehrlich, former governor of Maryland.

  • Thank A Female Veteran With Access To Legal Services

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    Women returning from military deployment often require more legal assistance than their male counterparts, and Congress can alleviate some of these burdens by passing the Improving Legal Services for Female Veterans Act, says Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa.

  • California Should Embrace Nonlawyer Providers

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    Despite criticisms from the legal profession, a California proposal to allow some legal service delivery by nonlawyers is a principled response to the reality that millions of Americans currently must face their legal problems without any help, says Chris Albin-Lackey, legal and policy director at the National Center for Access to Justice.

  • Calif. Law Offers New Hope For Child Sexual Abuse Victims

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    The recent passage of A.B. 218 in California — extending the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases — will pose challenges for the justice system, but some of the burdens posed by abuse will finally be shifted from survivors to accused abusers and the organizations that enabled them, says retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge Scott Gordon.

  • Core Rights Of Accused At Issue In High Court's New Term

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming decisions in several criminal cases this term will determine whether certain rights of the accused — some that many people would be surprised to learn are unsettled — are assured by the Constitution, say Harry Sandick and Jacob Newman at Patterson Belknap.

  • Bill Limiting Forced Arbitration Is Critical To Real Justice

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    Real justice means having access to fair and independent courts, but that will only be a reality when Congress bans predispute, forced arbitration under federal law with the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, which passed the House on Friday, says Patrice Simms at Earthjustice.

  • 3 Ways DOJ Is Working To Improve Justice In Indian Country

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    As both a federal prosecutor and a member of the Choctaw Nation, I am proud of the U.S. Department of Justice's current efforts to address crime in Indian Country while respecting tribal sovereignty, says Trent Shores, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

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