Access to Justice

  • August 09, 2020

    Legal Helpers In Tribal Lands Work To Adapt As Virus Lingers

    The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated how attorneys everywhere serve their clients. For lawyers who serve older Native Americans in rural parts of Oklahoma, that has meant getting creative to safely continue their work.

  • 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.

  • August 09, 2020

    Janai Nelson On Racial Justice Work In The 2020s

    As associate director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Janai Nelson helps to oversee operations and steer the strategic vision of the 80-year-old civil rights organization, whose work she says is more important now than ever.

  • August 09, 2020

    Amid Calls For Police Scrutiny, Cities Look To Law Firms

    A series of high-profile officer-involved killings has thrown a spotlight on police oversight. As the federal government steps back from providing departments with road maps for reform, a number of cities are hiring private attorneys to do the job, which some say could help lend credibility to findings and diffuse political tension.

  • August 07, 2020

    Ohio Court Upholds $50M Verdict In Police Brutality Case

    An Ohio appeals court on Thursday upheld a $50 million jury verdict in favor of a man who said he was detained without probable cause, beaten and kept in a storage closet for four days by East Cleveland police.

  • August 07, 2020

    NY Courts Say Eviction Pause Continues, For Now

    The New York Office of Court Administration on Friday said that a pause on evictions and most related proceedings remains in place, perpetuating an uneasy status quo for tenants, landlords and their attorneys.

  • August 05, 2020

    Judge Blasts Qualified Immunity As He Reluctantly Grants It 

    A Mississippi federal judge has begrudgingly granted qualified immunity to a police officer accused of violating a Black motorist's civil rights during a traffic stop, saying the U.S. Supreme Court should reconsider the legal doctrine that serves as de facto absolute immunity for law enforcement.

  • July 31, 2020

    BigLaw Brings Brawn To Racial Justice Protest Suits

    Perkins Coie, Gibson Dunn and other BigLaw firms have jumped into racial justice battles in recent weeks, backing organizations and individuals who assert the Trump administration and local authorities are violating the U.S. Constitution in their response to protests over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • July 31, 2020

    Sidley Austin Secures Ariz. Death Penalty Reforms

    The execution of Joseph Woods went terribly wrong, lasting nearly two hours and prompting officials to turn off the audio feed for observers. Sidley Austin's recent court win should help prevent a repeat scenario in Arizona.

  • July 31, 2020

    Pa. Bail Reformers Look For Hope After High Court Loss

    A yearlong investigation into allegations of excessive bail practices by Philadelphia arraignment judges ended with a whimper last week as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected calls for wholesale reform, but advocates say they hope a series of recommendations will help protect criminal defendants from being jailed simply because they're poor.

  • July 31, 2020

    Judges Warn Partisan Attacks Undercut Their Independence

    Recent political attacks that have destabilized the Polish judiciary and democracy serve as a warning as the U.S. grapples with an uptick in partisan attacks that also threaten to undermine judicial independence, according to jurists on an American Bar Association panel.

  • July 31, 2020

    COVID-19 Threatens To Worsen US Legal Deserts

    Nearly half of the United States' counties have fewer than one attorney for every resident and the coronavirus pandemic threatens to intensify the rural area-centered problem of "legal deserts," according to panelists at a recent American Bar Association conference.

  • July 30, 2020

    Nonprofits Pushing For Family Release Can't Join Flores Case

    A California federal judge on Wednesday thwarted nonprofits' attempt to join a long-running class action defending the rights of detained migrant children, finding that the children's current attorney has offered "more than adequate representation" despite the nonprofits' claims.

  • July 28, 2020

    DOI Opens Cold Case Office For Murdered Native Americans

    The first of seven offices focused on solving cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives recently opened in Minnesota during a visit by Ivanka Trump to promote a newly established presidential task force that targets the crisis.

  • July 26, 2020

    After Stone Clemency, Activists Rally For Elder Parole

    In commuting the sentence of Republican political operative Roger Stone earlier this month, President Donald Trump highlighted his 67-year-old friend's age and medical conditions. State and national advocates for elderly parole say his logic should lead to the release of far more people, especially during a pandemic.

  • July 26, 2020

    High Court Rebuffs Still Leave Paths To Fight Executions

    While the U.S. Supreme Court in July allowed federal authorities to execute three individuals using lethal injection, its rulings did not go as far as greenlighting executions for the nearly 60 prisoners who are currently on death row in federal prisons, several legal experts on capital punishment said.

  • July 26, 2020

    Alexis Hoag On 'Movement Lawyering' As A Tool For Justice

    As the practitioner-in-residence at Columbia University's Eric H. Holder Jr. Initiative for Civil and Political Rights, Alexis Hoag is teaching the lawyers of tomorrow about "movement lawyering," a grassroots style of advocacy that she believes is critical to increasing access to justice.

  • July 24, 2020

    Legal Aid Orgs Say Demand Will Keep Rising Amid Pandemic

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause economic upheaval, 97% of legal aid organizations funded by the Legal Services Corp. anticipate a sharp increase in the need for legal aid for issues such as eviction, foreclosure and consumer debt, according to a new survey.

  • July 24, 2020

    Migrant Families Face Choice Between Unity And Virus

    Recent court orders requiring the government to release migrant children from detention — but not their parents — could usher in another family separation crisis and pave the way for prolonged detention of families.

  • July 19, 2020

    Execution Cases Show High Court Divide On Death Penalty

    Federal executions resumed last week following a 17-year hiatus, greenlighted by a spate of late-night divided orders from the U.S. Supreme Court that have sparked calls from dissenting justices to revisit the constitutionality of the death penalty.

  • July 19, 2020

    Kirkland & Ellis Helps Secure Victory For Immigrant Teens

    Two years after filing a class action behalf of teenagers held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Kirkland & Ellis and its nonprofit partners at the National Immigrant Justice Center and the American Immigration Council won a major court victory saying that the agency had not followed proper procedure.

  • July 19, 2020

    At NYC Protests, A New Collective Of Black Legal Observers

    Julian Hill, a lawyer and grassroots organizer from Harlem, joined a celebratory Black-led bicycle ride through Central Brooklyn last month on Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Texas with news that slavery had been abolished.

  • July 19, 2020

    Progressives Target Vance In Manhattan DA Race

    The most diverse and progressive field to ever compete for the position of Manhattan district attorney participated in a virtual forum last week, tackling questions about bail reform, police brutality and the tenure of current DA Cy Vance Jr., who's yet to announce whether he'll seek a fourth term.

  • July 19, 2020

    'Good Faith': Breonna Taylor And The Broad Search Standard

    The botched drug raid that killed Breonna Taylor has made her name a rallying cry for police accountability. But her death also raises thorny Fourth Amendment questions about whether the search of her apartment was invalid even before police shot her.

  • 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.

Expert Analysis

  • Police Reform Should Curtail, Not Codify, Qualified Immunity

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    The Justice in Policing Act passed by the House last week and intended to roll back qualified immunity protections for police officers is not perfect, but it is progress compared to the failed Reforming Qualified Immunity Act that would have clandestinely strengthened the barriers shielding officers from liability, says Edward Ibeh at Akerman.

  • We Must Do Better Than Hasty Police Reforms

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    Lawmakers are racing to enact police legislation in response to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but this once-in-a-generation opportunity cannot be squandered by hastily drafted bills and rushed changes, says Marisa Darden at Squire Patton.

  • Unfairness In Prisoner Litigation Is Baked Into Statute

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    Inmate litigants have a new hurdle to clear because of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this month in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez, but the court merely did as Congress said in the Prison Litigation Reform Act, says David Shapiro at the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.

  • Police Reform Must Also Address Federal Law Enforcement

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    The recently introduced Justice in Policing Act is an important step against police brutality, but without express accountability for federal agents, the bill fails to address a gaping hole in the law, says Cori Alonso-Yoder at the American University Washington College of Law.

  • Extended State Foster Care Is A Necessity During COVID-19

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    Foster children turning 18 in the midst of the pandemic are extremely vulnerable to homelessness and exploitation, so states have an obligation to issue moratoriums on discharging young adults from their care, says Alexandra Dufresne at Zurich University.

  • 'Unauthorized Practice Of Law' Rules Promote Racial Injustice

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    By prohibiting nonlawyer professionals from providing meaningful legal assistance, state rules on unauthorized practice of law guarantee that black Americans don't have equal opportunities and rights under the law, and every state supreme court and bar association has the duty to reform them, says Rohan Pavuluri at Upsolve.

  • COVID-19 Crisis Brings Opportunity To Improve Legal Aid

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    The legal community must figure out how to use the adaptations necessitated by the pandemic to permanently improve the legal services delivery model and narrow the justice gap, says Rebecca Rapp at Ascendium Education Group.

  • Illinois Must Do More To Protect Consumers In Debt

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    A recent Illinois Supreme Court order limiting debt collectors' ability to freeze personal bank accounts during the pandemic is progress, but it does not solve the underlying issue that debt courts are rigged against low-income people, says Ashlee Highland at CARPLS Legal Aid.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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