Access to Justice

  • 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

    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.

  • 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 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

    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

    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

    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 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 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 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

    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

    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 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

    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 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.

Expert Analysis

  • Justices' Border Patrol Ruling Could Extend To US Citizens

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hernandez v. Mesa, barring a Mexican family’s remedies for the fatal cross-border shooting of their son by a federal agent, sweeps broadly toward curtailing constitutional remedies for similarly aggrieved U.S. citizens, says Cori Alonso-Yoder at American University Washington College of Law.

  • Weinstein Verdict May Signal Big Step Forward For #MeToo

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    That a New York state jury convicted Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and rape — in the absence of substantial corroborating evidence and despite challenges to the accusers' credibility — suggests that society has turned a corner, says professor Stephen Gillers at NYU School of Law.

  • Justice Denied For A NY Domestic Violence Survivor

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    New York's Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act was enacted to reduce sentences for people like Nicole Addimando, who was just given 19 years to life in prison for killing her sadistically abusive partner, so the court’s failure to apply it here raises the question of whether it will be applied at all, say Ross Kramer and Nicole Fidler at Sanctuary for Families.

  • Arbitration Is A Flawed Forum That Needs Repair

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    While arbitration is a good vehicle for ensuring timely dispute resolution, the existing system lacks protections for workers and consumers, and legislative efforts to outlaw forced arbitration prove it’s time to finally fix it, says Gerald Sauer at Sauer & Wagner.

  • Sentencing Insights From A Chat With Judge Nancy Gertner

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    While many judges say there isn’t much criminal defense attorneys can do at sentencing hearings, retired U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner — an outspoken critic of the federal sentencing guidelines — disagrees, says criminal defense attorney Alan Ellis.

  • Rigged Forfeiture Law Seizes Property In 4 Steps

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    Nationwide, law enforcement agencies rely on a four-pronged attack to generate billions of dollars in civil forfeiture revenue to use for police perks, depriving defendants of property without due process of law, says Daryl James of the Institute for Justice.

  • To Honor The Promise Of Liberty, Reform Pretrial Detention

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    As criminal justice reform advocates focus on the critical need to reduce unjust pretrial detention, jurisdictions must commit to a range of policy changes that include, but also go beyond, risk assessments, says former Wisconsin Judge Jeffrey Kremers.

  • USCIS Work Proposals Add To LGBTQ Asylum Seekers' Risks

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    Pending U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposals to prolong employment ineligibility and charge for employment authorization documents would be particularly detrimental to already-vulnerable LGBTQ asylum seekers, says Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

  • Understanding What Restorative Justice Is And Isn't

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    A hearing in the Jeffrey Epstein case featuring victim impact statements and a White House meeting between a hit-and-run driver and the victim's parents have been described as restorative justice, but the reality is more complex, says Natalie Gordon of DOAR.

  • 5 Most-Read Access To Justice Law360 Guests Of 2019

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    On topics ranging from public trial rights to electronic monitoring technology to the rules of evidence in the context of sexual harassment trials, 2019 brought a wide array of compelling commentary from the access to justice community.

  • 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.

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