Access to Justice

  • 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

    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

    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

    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.

  • May 03, 2020

    Winston & Strawn Lends Virtual Hand To DACA Recipients

    A looming U.S. Supreme Court decision could end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at any moment. Winston & Strawn attorneys are conducting virtual clinics to help DACA recipients file for two more years of legal status before it’s too late.

  • May 03, 2020

    For The Homeless, Virus' Threat Also Brings Hope For Reform

    Coronavirus-fueled stay-at-home orders have contributed to an existing catalog of laws that are difficult for homeless people to obey. But attorneys say the pandemic has also opened the door for impact litigation that could make more safe housing available.

  • May 03, 2020

    Disaster Aid Portal Aims To Ease Hunt For Pro Bono Work

    The American Bar Association's Disaster Legal Services program has teamed up with legal technology company Paladin to launch a pro bono portal that allows attorneys across the country to volunteer their time to people affected by COVID-19 and other disasters.

  • May 03, 2020

    Cops Sued For Forcing Sex Offenders To Appear Amid COVID-19

    Authorities in Fresno, California, are inflicting "cruel and unusual punishment" on registered sex offenders and violating the U.S. Constitution by requiring the individuals to appear in person for registration updates during the coronavirus pandemic, three offenders contend.

Expert Analysis

  • Tips For Prisoner Release Requests During Pandemic

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    The 70 compassionate release rulings issued by federal courts in the past three weeks suggest that the chances of securing release from prison premised on COVID-19 are boosted significantly where the defendant is able to accomplish one or more of three goals, say attorneys at Waller.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: ASU's Rebecca Sandefur

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    With self-isolation and social distancing now the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Rebecca Sandefur, a professor at Arizona State University and faculty fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

  • States Must Toll Court Deadlines To Ensure Access To Justice

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    There are several reasons why a state should consider temporarily lifting statutes of limitations during this pandemic, including protecting the rights of litigants who are vulnerable, say Adam Mendel and Rayna Kessler at Robins Kaplan.

  • Coronavirus Crisis Shows Need For Permanent Bail Reform

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    All states should follow Florida's lead and reduce the number of people held in jails unnecessarily during the pandemic, and use this tragic time as a catalyst to make lasting, long overdue changes in our criminal justice system, says Matt Morgan at Morgan & Morgan.

  • Constitutional Lessons For Prisons Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

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    With the coronavirus already infiltrating certain prison populations, jail officials must look to cases stemming from the 2009 swine flu epidemic for guidance on their legal obligations under the Eighth Amendment, say attorneys at Bradley Arant.

  • Weinstein’s Survivors Got Justice, But Reform Is Still Needed

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    While the conviction and sentencing of Harvey Weinstein was a watershed moment, and vindication for the women that he abused, the scales of justice remain tipped against women in cases of sexual assault and harassment in the U.S. and around the world, say Jennifer Klein at Time's Up and Rachel Vogelstein at the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • Keep Your Client Out Of The Courtroom During Voir Dire

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    With Harvey Weinstein's defense team raising allegations of undisclosed bias among the jurors who convicted him, it's a good time to examine why it may be best if your client is not present during the jury selection process, says Christina Marinakis at Litigation Insights.

  • 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.

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