Access to Justice

  • April 05, 2020

    Simpson Thacher Helps Upend Calif. Murder Conviction

    Up to the moment last month when a judge told him he was a free man, Jeremy Puckett refused to believe freedom was a real possibility.

  • April 03, 2020

    Judge Warns NYC Prisons To 'Do Better' On Attorney Access

    A Brooklyn federal judge on Friday chastised the Federal Bureau of Prisons for failing to provide New York City inmates adequate access to their attorneys during the coronavirus pandemic, giving the agency until Monday to explain why it wasn’t allowing more phone calls.

  • April 02, 2020

    Fla. Judge Preps For Video Trial In Ex-Felon Voting Rights Suit

    A Florida federal judge is planning to press forward in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic with a bench trial in a battle over a requirement that ex-felons pay all fines and fees before being able to vote, despite concerns from the state about the video conference format.

  • April 01, 2020

    Prison Says It Tested Just 2 More Inmates Despite Virus Cases

    The Federal Bureau of Prisons alarmed inmates’ counsel when it revealed to a New York federal judge on Wednesday that a Brooklyn federal prison had tested only two additional inmates — out of 1,700 — after five staff members and one prisoner were found to be infected with the coronavirus.

  • March 29, 2020

    Pro Bono Counsel Leaders On Mobilizing Against A Pandemic

    As cases of COVID-19 explode across the country, law firms are mobilizing to provide more pro bono support to legal aid groups and nonprofit organizations. Rebecca Greenhalgh and Steve Schulman, co-presidents of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, spoke with Law360 about key steps to take when responding to the pandemic.

  • March 29, 2020

    Lynch Appt. Raises Hope For Atty Access Fix Amid Pandemic

    Even as the potential spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails sets off alarm bells, New York advocates are hopeful that involvement by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch will lead to a quick resolution for people in detention at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center in a suit over attorney access.

  • March 27, 2020

    NY Judges Release 122 Inmates As Virus Cases Spike In Jails

    New York state court judges ordered the immediate release of 122 inmates detained in New York City jails on Thursday and Friday, finding it was a violation of those vulnerable individuals' rights to lock them up during the coronavirus outbreak, which had infected 183 individuals in the jails as of Friday afternoon.

  • March 27, 2020

    After $100M Ask, Legal Aid Funder Nets $50M For Relief Work

    As part of a $2 trillion relief package, Congress allocated $50 million to the Legal Services Corporation to help meet an explosion in legal needs stemming from the pandemic. The LSC, America’s largest single funder of civil legal aid, had requested double that amount, but its chief says that money will still make a difference.

  • March 24, 2020

    COVID-19 Border Restraint At Odds With Refugee Obligations

    The Trump administration’s latest border restrictions, handed down under a rarely used public health statute to combat the coronavirus pandemic, likely flout U.S. obligations to not return people to countries where they will be persecuted.

  • March 23, 2020

    Kagan Joins Conservatives In Insanity Defense Ruling

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan aligned with her conservative colleagues Monday to uphold Kansas’ narrow insanity defense, a ruling her fellow liberals say rips out “the core of a defense that has existed for centuries."

  • March 22, 2020

    How Coronavirus May Change Criminal Justice

    As COVID-19 ravages communities across the country, the world’s most incarceration-heavy criminal justice system is slowing down. Police are releasing arrestees; prosecutors are dropping low-level charges; parole officials are loosening rules. Could this pandemic change the way law is enforced going forward?

  • March 22, 2020

    Blacks, Latinos Bear Brunt Of Parole-Based Jail Time In NY

    Blacks and Latinos in New York state are supervised under parole, jailed before parole violation hearings and incarcerated for parole violations at disproportionate rates compared with whites, according to a recent report by Columbia University’s Justice Lab.

  • March 22, 2020

    Inside The Fight To Block Evictions During A Pandemic

    Across the country, tenants and their advocates are demanding a moratorium on evictions for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, adjusting their tactics on a daily basis to stop visits to crowded courthouses and prevent homelessness.

  • March 22, 2020

    ABA Task Force Chief On Meeting The Challenge Of COVID-19

    Jim Sandman, who recently stepped down from his nine-year post as president of the Legal Services Corp., America’s largest legal aid funder, is heading up an American Bar Association task force on the coronavirus outbreak. He told Law360 the pandemic could fundamentally change the way legal services are delivered in the future.

  • March 22, 2020

    2nd Circ. Urges Atty Access For Detainees Amid Pandemic

    The Federal Defenders of New York made progress in its fight for consistent access to clients in detention on Friday when the Second Circuit ruled that a mediator should be quickly appointed to help craft new protocols amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

  • March 18, 2020

    NY Landlords Can File Cases Despite Eviction Moratorium

    New York landlords can file eviction and nonpayment cases this week despite a statewide eviction moratorium that took effect Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the court confirmed, raising concerns about close human contact and tenant anxiety in a health crisis.

  • March 16, 2020

    Law360's 2020 Access To Justice Editorial Advisory Board

    Law360 is pleased to announce the formation of its 2020 Access to Justice Editorial Advisory Board.

  • March 15, 2020

    Why Is Unbundled Legal Help So Hard To Find?

    Across the country, an estimated 60% of state court litigants have no lawyer to help them. One way to close the justice gap is unbundled services, a form of limited legal representation, but cultural barriers and a lack of understanding have prevented widespread use of the concept.

  • March 15, 2020

    Justices Put Juvenile Sentencing Back On The Front Burner

    Less than two weeks after a new Virginia law led to the premature dismissal of Lee Boyd Malvo’s U.S. Supreme Court petition challenging juvenile life without parole sentences, the justices have selected a replacement case that could answer long-standing questions about cruel and unusual punishment.

  • March 15, 2020

    MoFo Secures $1.5M Over Facebook-Based Wrongful Arrests

    An obscure California statute and social media connections led to the arrest of two men who found themselves facing potential lifetime prison sentences until a pro bono team from Morrison & Foerster stepped in.

  • March 15, 2020

    Iran, Cameroon Lead Worldwide Declines In The Rule Of Law

    The rule of law is declining more than it is advancing in a majority of the countries examined by the World Justice Project, with Iran and Cameroon seeing the largest drops, the organization has found in an annual report.

  • March 13, 2020

    ABA Assembles Task Force On COVID-19 Legal Needs

    Debt collection suits, evictions, insurance and government benefits claims — legal problems like these are always challenging, especially for low-income people who often lack legal counsel.

  • March 08, 2020

    NYC Indigent Defense Panels See Drain Of Local Lawyers

    Struggling with burnout and stagnant pay, New York lawyers are fleeing a program that provides experienced private counsel for poor defendants and people in family court, putting a strain on the system and chipping away at a career stepping stone for locally trained attorneys.

  • March 08, 2020

    Can The Courts Break Transgender Felons Out Of ID Prison?

    When transgender people are stuck using legal names that don’t conform to their gender identity, every interaction with the government, an employer or others who ask for their official identification can put them at risk of being outed and ostracized. For residents of nine states, certain convictions add another barrier to legally changing their names, sometimes for life.

  • March 08, 2020

    3 Ways Automation Can Enhance Access To Justice

    The delivery of legal services to low income consumers is being transformed by automation technology such as TurboTax-like forms for people facing eviction, and that transformation only shows signs of picking up steam as researchers continue to mine its potential for legal aid.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • High Court Ruling Highlights Double Jeopardy Complications

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    Although the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Gamble does not change the application of the double jeopardy clause as interpreted by federal courts, the decision reinforces the significant impact of dual prosecutions and the risks for corporate and individual defendants, say Laurel Gift and Randall Hsia of Schnader Harrison.

  • High Court's 'Separate Sovereigns' Ruling Is Good For Tribes

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gamble v. U.S. — reaffirming the so-called separate sovereigns doctrine — preserves tribal prosecutors' autonomy and ability to respond promptly to offenses without worrying about the legal repercussions on federal prosecutions, say Steven Gordon and Philip Baker-Shenk of Holland & Knight.

  • Border Phone Search Questions Continue In Federal Court

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    A Massachusetts federal court's eventual decision on cellphone searches at the U.S. border in Alasaad v. Nielsen will further illustrate the differences in how federal courts apply the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Riley v. California to the warrant-requirement exception for border searches, says Sharon Barney at Leech Tishman.

  • US Misdemeanor System Should Honor Principles Of Justice

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    The U.S. misdemeanor system — which represents the vast majority of the country’s criminal system — is under-regulated, rarely scrutinized and rife with official rule-breaking. It's time we brought this enormous aspect of our democracy into the modern legal era, says Alexandra Natapoff of University of California, Irvine School of Law.

  • Does Multidistrict Litigation Deny Plaintiffs Due Process?

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    Judges in multidistrict litigation consistently appoint lead plaintiffs lawyers based on their experience, war chests and ability to get along with everyone. But evidence suggests that these repeat players often make deals riddled with self-interest and provisions that goad plaintiffs into settling, says Elizabeth Chamblee Burch of the University of Georgia School of Law.

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