Access to Justice

  • June 05, 2020

    Attys In Floyd Case: An Inside Look At Civil Rights Work

    Representing victims of police violence and those victims' families requires attorneys to tap into skills they never learned in law school and to serve roles beyond that of legal counsel, according to attorneys for George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter and her mother.

  • June 05, 2020

    Bipartisan Bill Seeks PPP Access Despite Criminal Records

    A bipartisan Senate quartet has proposed changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure access for small-business owners who currently can be blocked from the forgivable pandemic-relief loans because of criminal records ranging from any pending charges and past felony convictions to probation and pretrial diversion.

  • June 05, 2020

    NYC Legal Observers Detained At George Floyd Protest

    The New York City Police Department briefly detained at least 10 legal observers with the National Lawyers Guild during a peaceful protest in the Bronx on Thursday night amid ongoing demonstrations protesting the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

  • May 31, 2020

    Racial Disparity Spurs Challenge To NYPD COVID Policing

    In New York City, the current epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, four out of five social distancing tickets have been issued to people of color. Attorneys from the city’s landmark stop-and-frisk litigation say the racial discrepancy merits court-appointed police oversight and an end to police public health enforcement.

  • May 31, 2020

    New Path To Justice May Await Terror Victims After Court Win

    With a U.S. Supreme Court win freshly in hand, embassy bombing victims may ultimately see final justice in the form of a State Department deal that is in the works — if it can get Congress' blessing.

  • May 31, 2020

    NY Bar Steps Up To Address Estate Woes After Virus

    Since the first case of the novel coronavirus was reported in March, thousands of New Yorkers have lost loved ones to COVID-19, leaving them not only to confront grief but also to navigate the often-unfamiliar and confusing legal process of dealing with a relative's estate.

  • May 31, 2020

    Skadden, Gibson Dunn Help Upend Md. Murder Convictions

    Joyce Faulkner keeps a list of the births, weddings, funerals and other family events that David Faulkner has missed following his 2001 conviction for a murder he has always insisted he did not commit. She also tallies the number of days he has been behind bars.

  • May 29, 2020

    Fla. Felon Vote Ruling Could Reach Beyond Sunshine State

    A recent decision from a Florida federal judge that the state cannot block ex-felons who don't pay court-ordered fines and fees from voting could, if upheld on appeal, reverberate to neighboring states that have enacted similar requirements.

  • May 17, 2020

    Fed Shines New Light On Burden Of Court Debt

    For the first time ever, the Federal Reserve Board included analysis of court debt in its annual report on economic well-being. Its survey found that unpaid legal obligations afflict 6% of U.S. adults, including 1 in 5 who've had a family member incarcerated.

  • May 17, 2020

    Amid Virus, In-House Pro Bono Efforts Get Cash Injection

    In-house lawyers in Nevada and Wisconsin will use a fresh dose of grant funding to assist residents with sealing certain criminal records and provide legal advice on civil matters to people living in isolated communities. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, that pro bono work could take on even greater importance.

  • May 17, 2020

    With First Step, Courts Diverge In Filling In The Law's Gaps

    More than a year after the passage of the First Step Act — which, among other things, made certain sentencing reforms retroactive — courts have continued to work out the procedural questions and, in some cases, come to very different conclusions, putting defendants on disparate footing depending on where they are based.

  • May 15, 2020

    Nonprofit Law Firm Chief On The Need For Low-Cost Aid

    Most legal aid providers focus their services on people living at or below the federal poverty line. But at the DC Affordable Law Firm, executive director Gabrielle Mulnick Majewski is focusing on a different group of people — those who don’t qualify for free help but can’t afford a full-cost attorney.

  • 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.

Expert Analysis

  • Rules Of Evidence Hinder #MeToo Claims In Court

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    If women and men who bring sexual harassment allegations in court will ever have a level playing field with their alleged harassers, the rules regarding what evidence is relevant in a sexual harassment trial must be changed, says John Winer at Winer Burritt.

  • Sealing Marijuana Convictions Is A Win For Justice System

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    As a result of a novel class action, hundreds of New Yorkers' old convictions for marijuana-related crimes are being sealed, an important step toward a more equal justice system where the needless collateral consequences of marijuana criminalization are eliminated, says Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.

  • DOJ's Latest Effort To Undermine Impartial Immigration Bench

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    The U.S. Department of Justice's recent petition to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges on the grounds that members are “management officials” and precluded from unionizing is part of a continuing effort to curb judicial independence in immigration court, says former immigration judge Jeffrey Chase.

  • Electronic Monitoring Technology Must Be Regulated

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    Based on my research into the electronic monitoring technologies that are increasingly becoming part of the criminal justice system, it is clear that they must be regulated, just as medical devices are, says Shubha Balasubramanyam of the Center for Court Innovation.

  • What You Should Know About Courtroom Closures

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    At attorney Greg Craig’s trial in D.C. federal court this week, the courtroom was cleared so prospective jurors could answer sensitive questions. Even seasoned litigators were left wondering about the nature of this subtle, yet significant, issue involving Sixth Amendment public trial rights, says Luke Cass at Quarles & Brady.

  • Addressing Health Care Liens In Sexual Assault Settlements

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    When litigating sexual assault cases that result in settlement, plaintiffs attorneys should thoroughly investigate how the plaintiff's medical bills were paid, and proactively prepare for insurers' potential health care liens, says Courtney Delaney of Epiq.

  • 2nd Circ.'s Approach To Bail Is Backward

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    The Second Circuit's decision in United States v. Boustani correctly identifies the dangers of a "two-tiered" bail system, but the proper solution is to make bail more accessible to everyone, not to fewer people, says Alexander Klein of Barket Epstein.

  • Death Penalty Return May Undermine Criminal Justice Reform

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    The last two years have been a watershed moment for bipartisan criminal justice reform, but with one swift edict — the July 25 announcement that federal executions will be reinstated after 16 years — the Trump administration risks throwing this forward momentum into reverse, says Laura Arnold of Arnold Ventures.

  • A High Court Win Will Not End Discriminatory Jury Selection

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    Although the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded Curtis Flowers' murder conviction in Flowers v. Mississippi, history may simply repeat itself once again unless the legal industry does more as a profession to combat discrimination and use ethics rules for their intended purpose, says Tyler Maulsby of Frankfurt Kurnit.

  • Secrecy Agreements And 1st Amendment: Finding A Balance

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    The divided decision by the Fourth Circuit issued earlier this month in Overbey v. Baltimore raises many concerning questions about the potential First Amendment implications of nondisparagement clauses in government settlement agreements, says Alan Morrison of George Washington University School of Law.

  • Risk Assessment Tools Are Not A Failed 'Minority Report'

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    Contrary to Wednesday's op-ed in the New York Times, which refers to pretrial risk assessment tools as "a real-world 'Minority Report'" that doesn't work, these tools and the promise they hold to improve judges’ and magistrates’ decision-making processes should not be dismissed simply because they aren’t yet perfect, say professors at North Carolina State University and Duke University.

  • 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.

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