Access to Justice

  • 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.

  • 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 12, 2020

    Ronal Serpas On Why Police Reform Is A Justice Issue

    Ronal Serpas ended his 34-year law enforcement career to teach at Loyola University in 2014, but he hasn’t given up on police reform. Here, the co-chair of the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration explains why police reform is an access to justice issue.

  • 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

    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

    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 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

    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 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 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 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

    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

    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

    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.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • A Proposal For Efficient Post-Pandemic Justice In New York

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    The litigation backlog in state courts due to COVID-19 will make swift, orderly and fair resolution of disputes almost certainly impossible, but thankfully in New York, there are three nontraditional avenues to justice that can inform a post-pandemic emergency tribunal, says Joseph Gallagher at Harris St. Laurent.

  • Downturn An Opportunity For Law Firms To Boost Pro Bono

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    While now hardly seems like the time for law firms to be volunteering their attorneys’ services, it is the right thing to do and a sensible investment that would likely not be made at any other time, says Martin Pritikin, dean of Concord Law School.

  • Inmate Release Exhaustion Rule Should Be Waived For COVID

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    The issue at the forefront of many compassionate release applications during the pandemic has been whether federal courts must wait 30 days before they can rule on them due to the statutory administrative exhaustion requirement, and those 30 days could become a matter of life or death, says Jolene LaVigne-Albert at Schlam Stone.

  • COVID-19 Highlights Access Injustice In Personal Bankruptcy

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    In the age of enforced social distancing, the limits on access to electronic filing means bankruptcy is paradoxically only available to those individuals who can afford it, says Rohan Pavuluri at Upsolve.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: Pine Tree's Nan Heald

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    With distancing and isolation the new norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Maine-based Nan Heald, executive director at Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

  • Social Distancing And Right To Jury Trial Must Be Reconciled

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    It would seem almost obvious to conclude that the internet and proposed e-courtroom venues may be best suited to promote social distancing while ensuring the uninterrupted constitutional right to a trial by jury, but numerous questions exist, say Justin Sarno and Jayme Long at Dentons.

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