Access to Justice

  • July 27, 2022

    NJ Suit Shines Light On Police Use Of Infant Blood In Probes

    Last year, DNA from an infant’s blood sample was used to track down a New Jersey sex crime suspect. Public defenders are now suing to discover how often law enforcement agencies have subpoenaed a mandatory newborn health screening program, spotlighting a growing area of friction between genetic genealogy and privacy.

  • July 26, 2022

    How Some NY Judges Are Unpausing Eviction Cases

    New York is among several states — including Oregon, Massachusetts and California — to pause eviction cases at least temporarily while rent aid applications are being processed, to prevent premature evictions. And while tenant lawyers say New York's rule has been broadly effective, some judges have said they have the authority to lift the stay.

  • July 22, 2022

    Inside An Atty's Plan To Get 2 Wrongfully Jailed Men Justice

    Two Black men from Buffalo, New York, spent more than two decades in prison for a murder they likely didn’t commit before a state trial court overturned their conviction last year. Now, they’re suing Erie County for civil rights violation, helped by a savvy attorney who pioneered a legal strategy to pierce through prosecutors' immunity.

  • July 22, 2022

    Programming Note: Law360's A2J On Vacation In August

    Law360's Access to Justice will not publish its regular newsletter during the month of August as the editorial team readies for the fall.

  • July 22, 2022

    Prison Reformer Talks Of Crisis At NYC's Rikers Island

    New York's Rikers Island jail complex has struggled with violence, dysfunction and disorder. Longtime prison reformer and attorney Zachary Katznelson spoke with Law360 about how the pandemic made the complex more dangerous for inmates and staff and why some advocates want a federal receiver to implement reforms.

  • July 22, 2022

    Long Sentences Make Up More Than Half Of Prison Population

    The portion of the state prison population serving long sentences has increased over the past 10 years to more than half of the population, according to findings released by a Council on Criminal Justice task force on Wednesday.

  • July 22, 2022

    Hogan Lovells Helps Hawaii Tenants Keep Affordable Housing

    A team of Hogan Lovells attorneys recently helped secure a deal that stopped a group of Hawaii residents from being priced out of their homes due to a developer's attempt to opt out of an affordable housing agreement decades early.

  • July 22, 2022

    Legal Observers Arrested At Floyd Protest Win $49K And Fees

    Twelve legal observers for the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild arrested during the George Floyd protests in June 2020 will collectively get $49,000 to resolve a federal lawsuit against New York City over what they called a "violent assault" by police, one of their attorneys confirmed Friday to Law360.

  • July 22, 2022

    Pay Is A Pain Point In Retention For Ill. Legal Aid Orgs

    One of the biggest obstacles for legal aid organizations as they look to recruit and retain highly talented and diverse lawyers is making room in their budgets to pay attorneys competitively, according to a new report out Friday.

  • July 22, 2022

    Why Rocket Lawyer's CEO Wants Legal Help To Be Affordable

    Charley Moore, founder and CEO of legal technology company Rocket Lawyer, realized as a kid watching his dad operate a chain of Shell gas stations that the U.S. legal system was too expensive for small businesses and most individuals and families.

  • July 21, 2022

    Equal Justice Works Names Law School Dean As New CEO

    Equal Justice Works has tapped the dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law to be the organization's new CEO.

  • July 21, 2022

    A Bruen Defense For Gun Charges? Attys Say Not So Fast

    The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring parts of New York's gun licensing regime unconstitutional gives people prosecuted for gun offenses new chances to shake their charges, but it's still unclear what legal strategies could ultimately succeed, experts say.

  • July 08, 2022

    1 In 20 Death Row Reversals Tied To Prosecutor Misconduct

    Over the last 50 years, prosecutor misconduct has played a role in 550 sentence reversals and exonerations of prisoners on death row, a recent study shows.

  • July 08, 2022

    The Great Writ In Danger: Where Is Habeas Corpus Headed?

    The Great Writ has been on a declining trajectory for several decades. With no signs that Congress will use its power to shore up the habeas process, and a Supreme Court appearing bent on limiting it, the future of habeas corpus is more uncertain than ever.

  • July 08, 2022

    Venable Donates Atty Fees To Help Exonerees Rejoin Society

    Since 2008, Venable LLP has worked with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project to free five Washington, D.C., men who collectively spent more than 100 years in prison for murders they didn't commit.

  • July 08, 2022

    Sheppard Mullin Aids Deal On Accessible NY Subway Stations

    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP's pro bono partner recently played a key role in negotiating what could be a landmark settlement to guarantee more accessible subway stations in New York — the latest in a series of disability rights wins for the attorney.

  • July 08, 2022

    Kilpatrick Atty Aids Fellow Ukrainians In War Relief Effort

    When one of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP's Atlanta-based attorneys entered the United States in 1988 as a 9-year-old refugee from Soviet-era Ukraine, she couldn't have imagined she'd end up helping her fellow countrymen flee a Russian invasion 34 years later.

  • July 08, 2022

    As States Toy With Reform, Legal Tech Cos. Fill Justice Gap

    More than 100 legal technology companies have formed in the last 10 years to provide legal assistance to millions of Americans who can't afford an attorney, helping to bridge a gap in access to justice, while less than a handful of states have taken action to expand the practice of law.

  • July 06, 2022

    Eviction Default Buffer Lifts For Some In NYC Housing Court

    A New York City administrative judge has lifted a procedural buffer that gave certain tenants an extra shot to match with a lawyer and mount defenses in housing court before facing a default judgment, citing the "changing course of the pandemic."

  • June 29, 2022

    Ohio To Use ARPA Money For COVID-Caused Case Backlogs

    The state of Ohio set up a $10 million grant program paid for by its federal American Rescue Plan Act money for courts that want help clear backlogs of cases that stem from the coronavirus pandemic, the governor's office announced Wednesday.

  • June 27, 2022

    Justices Say Courts Must Consider Rehab In Resentencing

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that district courts must look at defendants' rehabilitation and updated sentencing guidelines when considering a reduction of their sentences. 

  • June 23, 2022

    Justices Give Inmates Path To Swap Execution Methods

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state death row inmates can ask to be executed in a method not approved in their states by filing a civil rights suit, reversing a ruling by the Eleventh Circuit that compelled the prisoners to file habeas corpus petitions instead.

  • June 17, 2022

    What San Francisco DA's Recall Could Mean For Reformers

    The widely publicized and successful recall campaign of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has been described by some as a warning call for progressive prosecutors and rehabilitative justice advocates nationwide.

  • June 17, 2022

    What States Can Learn From Illinois To End Rape Kit Backlogs

    After years of reform, Illinois earlier this month became the 17th state to clear its backlog of nearly 2,000 untested rape kits. Here is what states can learn from Illinois to end their own rape kit backlogs.

  • June 17, 2022

    Legal System Ill-Equipped For Handling Dementia

    The criminal legal system is largely not prepared to handle individuals with dementia who either age into the disease while incarcerated or face criminal charges as their mental capacity diminishes, according to a report released this week by an American Bar Association commission.

Expert Analysis

  • Jackson Confirmation Hearings Should Examine Due Process

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    In the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings, senators should assess Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s approach to holding government actors accountable in the areas of qualified immunity and forfeiture, as revisiting shaky precedents on these topics could help guarantee due process for all, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • ABA's New Anti-Bias Curriculum Rule Is Insufficient

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    The American Bar Association's recently approved requirement that law schools educate students on bias, cross-cultural competency and racism, while a step in the right direction, fails to publicly acknowledge and commit to eradicating the systemic racial inequality in our legal system, says criminal defense attorney Donna Mulvihill Fehrmann.

  • Justice Reforms Call For Quick Action To Fill US Atty Spots

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    U.S. attorneys play an important role in transforming the criminal legal system for several reasons, and they can restore integrity and independence to the U.S. Department of Justice, so President Joe Biden and Congress must move quickly to fill the remaining two-thirds of the top prosecutor seats, says Derick Dailey at Davis + Gilbert.

  • Judge's Veto Of Arbery Hate Crime Plea Deal Is Not Unusual

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    Contrary to media commentary, a Georgia federal judge’s rejection of the plea agreement between prosecutors and a defendant charged with hate crimes in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery is not actually surprising — it simply indicates the judge’s desire to retain discretion and allow all parties to be heard before making a just sentencing decision, says Dominick Gerace at Taft Stettinius.

  • Indefinite Migrant Detention Without Review Is Kafkaesque

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    In two recently argued U.S. Supreme Court cases, the government's position that detained migrants can't demand an immigration judge review their confinement, but can instead file a habeas petition in federal court, reads like a work of Kafka, offering only the illusion of access to a hearing before a neutral fact-finder, says César García Hernández at Ohio State University.

  • 2 Worthy Goals For The DOJ's New Domestic Terrorism Unit

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    The U.S. Department of Justice’s newly announced Domestic Terrorism Unit should include both counterterrorism and civil rights prosecutors, and would benefit from a criminal statute that is modeled after international terrorism laws and that strikes a balance between protecting the public and constitutional rights, say Emil Bove and Brittany Manna at Chiesa Shahinian.

  • Justice Reforms Are Not To Blame For Waukesha Tragedy

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    Last month's parade attack in Wisconsin has brought into focus the fact that the accused was out of jail on a low bond — but this tragedy must not be exploited to reverse years of long-overdue criminal justice reform, when emerging data shows that new prosecutorial models are associated with better outcomes than an overly punitive approach, says Alissa Marque Heydari at John Jay College.

  • Addressing Prison Risk After CARES Act Home Confinement

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    Home confinement eligibility, which was expanded last year due to high rates of COVID-19 in penal institutions, may soon be tightened, so house-detained individuals at risk of returning to prison should understand their various avenues for relief, as well as the procedural obstacles they may face in mounting legal challenges, say Charles Burnham and Jonathan Knowles at Burnham & Gorokhov.

  • We Must Help Fix Justice Gap In Georgia's Legal Deserts

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    In much of rural Georgia, there are too few lawyers to meet residents’ urgent legal needs, forcing self-represented litigants to navigate an impenetrable system, but courts, law firms and nonlawyers can help address these legal deserts in various ways, says Lauren Sudeall at Georgia State University College of Law.

  • Reimagining Courthouse Design For Better Access To Justice

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    While courthouse design has historically been driven by tradition, it is time to shift from the classical courthouse to spaces that are accessible to those with mobility challenges, serve the needs of vulnerable litigants, and accommodate pandemic-era shifts toward remote and hybrid proceedings, says architect Clair Colburn at Finegold Alexander.

  • Why Law Schools Should Require Justice Reform Curriculum

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    Criminal defense attorney Donna Mulvihill Fehrmann argues that law schools have an obligation to address widespread racial and economic disparities in the U.S. legal system by mandating first-year coursework on criminal justice reform that educates on prosecutorial misconduct, wrongful convictions, defense 101 and more.

  • Attorneys, Fight For Enviro Justice With Both Law And Protest

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    In this moment of climate crisis, lawyers can and should use law and protest in tandem — from urging law firms to stop serving the fossil fuel industry to helping draft laws that accelerate the transition to a sustainable way of life, says Vivek Maru at Namati.

  • One-Subject Rule Strategy Can Defeat Dangerous State Laws

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    Attorneys at Ulmer & Berne explain how single-subject rule violation claims can thwart certain unconstitutional or controversial state statutes and protect civil rights in the face of state governments under one-party rule.

  • States Must Rethink Wrongful Conviction Compensation Laws

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    States, counties and municipalities have now paid over $3 billion in judgments or settlements to exonerees, while policymakers lack comprehensive data on official misconduct and financial costs — but rethinking state compensation statutes can curb the policies and practices that cause wrongful convictions in the first place, says Jeffrey Gutman at George Washington University.

  • Police And Voting Reform Need Federal Remedy, Not Takeover

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    The debate over what level of government should hold sway is central to today's impasse over voting rights and police reform legislation, but anchoring the conversation in the U.S. Constitution can create the common ground of tailored federal remediation that also preserves traditional state and local functions, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

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