Access to Justice

  • May 19, 2022

    5th Circ. Says Service Error Dooms Excessive Force Case

    The Fifth Circuit declined to revive a "gruesome" police brutality case brought by the family of Darrall Thomas, who was wrongly identified by police in a Texas suburb as a suspect in an ATM break-in and was "tased and brutalized" by police until he died, saying that a failure to properly serve the officer who committed the violence doomed the suit.

  • May 16, 2022

    Immigration Assistance Platform Formally Raises $2.3M

    After beginning life as a hackathon project to assist asylum seekers, Formally, a legal collaboration platform, raised $2.3 million in pre-seed funding, with Bessemer Venture Partners leading the round, the company announced Monday.

  • May 11, 2022

    Biden Taps 7 Nominees To Fill Out Sentencing Commission

    President Joe Biden nominated seven potential new members of the U.S. Sentencing Commission on Wednesday, hoping to round out a bipartisan body that has been without a quorum since 2019.

  • May 06, 2022

    Barriers To Discharging Student Loans In Bankruptcy Persist

    A cancer patient’s upcoming bankruptcy trial over her student loan debt highlights how a nearly unwinnable court test keeps many in need from discharging their educational borrowing, but mounting public and political pressure could change that.

  • May 06, 2022

    Call It Genocide? The Debate Over Labeling Ukraine Atrocities

    As evidence of atrocities in Ukraine continues to emerge, Western political leaders, including President Joe Biden, have said Russia has committed genocide. But legal scholars say the burden of proof for genocide is hard to meet, and the legal community is split as to whether the evidence gathered so far does that.

  • May 06, 2022

    In Reformer DA Recall, Local And National Questions At Play

    As signatures come in, both supporters and opponents on the ground in Los Angeles are closely watching a recall effort against District Attorney George Gascón, who ran on a progressive platform, with some viewing it as part of a wider struggle for criminal justice reform.

  • May 06, 2022

    How Lowenstein Managed 23K Pro Bono Hours Last Year

    Last year, Lowenstein Sandler LLP attorneys racked up more than 23,000 hours of pro bono legal services. Here, Law360 talks with Catherine Weiss, partner and chair of the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest, about that milestone and what’s ahead for the group.

  • May 06, 2022

    DOJ-Led Initiative Outlines Metrics For Justice Data Collection

    An initiative led by the U.S. Department of Justice recently unveiled a set of more than 40 metrics covering the entire criminal legal system, from law enforcement to community supervision, that states can report online to provide policymakers with more current data about their justice systems.

  • May 05, 2022

    DOJ Restores Settlement Projects For Environmental Justice

    The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced a raft of environmental justice initiatives, including restoring prosecutors' authority to allow defendants to undertake special community projects as part of settlements that resolve apparent environmental violations.

  • April 28, 2022

    Judges Say Zoom Makes Courts Safer, Expands Due Process

    State judges from Texas and Washington told Loyola Law School students Thursday that they've seen a "sea change" in the management of their heavy caseloads since going virtual post-COVID, saying it has expanded due process for vulnerable litigants and improved the safety of those in the courtroom.

  • April 25, 2022

    Justices Skeptical Prisoner Can't Challenge Execution Method

    Several of the U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday picked apart the state of Georgia's argument that a condemned prisoner is barred from challenging the method of his execution because he is actually challenging the death sentence itself.

  • April 22, 2022

    Squire Patton Boggs Org. Builds On Legal Aid In Puerto Rico

    The Squire Patton Boggs Foundation initially focused a fellowship on Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in September 2017 to help with community rebuilding and disaster relief. But as the post-hurricane situation stabilized in Puerto Rico, the foundation has broadened fellows' work to also include areas such as access to justice and the environment.

  • April 22, 2022

    New Guidelines Offer Roadmap For Post-Conviction Reviews

    Prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys need to work collaboratively when reviewing wrongful convictions claims, according to a report with new national guidelines for post-conviction reviews released by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice.

  • April 22, 2022

    Disaster Lawyer Guide Co-Author On Prepping For Next Crisis

    Along with the uptick in climate-related disasters the past few years has come the need for legal representation for the victims of such tragedies. Here, Law360 speaks with the co-author of a new guidebook aimed at helping attorneys assist disaster survivors.

  • April 21, 2022

    High Court Upholds Murder Conviction Of Shackled Man

    A federal court may not toss a conviction because of an error at trial simply based on its own assessment of legal precedent, but rather must also consider a state's own evaluation of the mistake through the lens of a federal law, the U.S. Supreme Court held Thursday in a case involving a Michigan man who was shackled during a murder trial.

  • April 15, 2022

    Kirkland Associates Steer Win In Ex-State Dept. Worker Suit

    A team of Kirkland & Ellis LLP associates guided a pro bono discrimination case against the U.S. Department of State to its successful jury verdict in Washington, D.C., federal court earlier this month.

  • April 08, 2022

    Youth Seeking A Second Chance Face 'Justice By Geography'

    Some states are changing their laws to address the fact that living with a juvenile record can make it harder for a young person to succeed as an adult. But the road to expungement is still laden with pitfalls, including varied state policies, courtroom bureaucracy, and public access concerns.

  • April 08, 2022

    Thompson Ruling Will Shore Up Malicious Prosecution Suits

    Until the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday in Thompson v. Clark, many former criminal defendants seeking to sue their arresting officers in federal court for malicious prosecution faced an almost insurmountable barrier: demonstrating that their criminal proceedings ended with an affirmation of their innocence.

  • April 08, 2022

    Orrick Helps State Dept. Rule Rohingya Killings Are Genocide

    The U.S. State Department recently determined Myanmar’s military crackdown of the Rohingya amounted to genocide, based in part on investigative work done by a team of pro bono attorneys that included several Orrick lawyers.

  • April 08, 2022

    IAALS Launches Bid To Promote Nonlawyer Representation

    The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver wants to help standardize nonlawyer representative assistance to increase options for accessible and affordable legal help in the U.S.

  • April 08, 2022

    Fazaga Ruling Offers Silver Lining In State Surveillance Cases

    A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling weighing states secrets privileges was largely considered a loss for a California mosque bringing the suit over surveillance of their congregation, but experts say the court’s narrow ruling leaves open a doorway for similar suits to pursue a largely untested legal strategy.

  • April 07, 2022

    Glitches Still Persist In Digital Court Reporting Tech

    Flaws in digital court reporting tech can result in missing testimony and incomplete transcripts, which impairs the legal system and derails how some can pursue justice.

  • April 05, 2022

    Queens Tenant Atty Orgs Say They Can't Take Cases In April

    Low-income tenants facing eviction in Queens may not be able to match with a free lawyer this month because the three major legal service providers assigned to the New York City borough have no or limited ability to take them on, the providers said Tuesday.

  • April 04, 2022

    Justices Nix Need For Rulings Of Innocence In Anti-Cop Suits

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said former criminal defendants suing law enforcement for alleged Fourth Amendment violations don't need to show their underlying cases ended with an affirmation of their innocence, only that they ended without a conviction — a major win for plaintiffs in police accountability cases.

  • April 01, 2022

    NYC Housing Court Memo On Atty Shortages Meets Pushback

    New York City tenants who are unable to match with a lawyer on their first court date due to staffing shortages will be assigned counsel promptly with help from a city government office, according to new guidance that has been met with skepticism from advocates.

Expert Analysis

  • DOJ Charging Memo Rescission Aids Prosecutorial Discretion

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    The U.S. Department of Justice's recent rescission of a 2017 memo that required prosecutors to charge federal defendants with the offenses that would carry the most severe penalties should be welcomed by prosecutors associations as supporting prosecutorial discretion, even when the new policy may lead to leniency, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • A Critical Step Toward Eliminating Profit Motive From Prisons

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    President Joe Biden's recent executive order to phase out the federal government's use of private prisons is a welcome start to what needs to be a broad reform of the prison system — where profit-based incentives to incarcerate run deep, says Jeffrey Bornstein at Rosen Bien.

  • Judges On Race

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    On the heels of nationwide calls to address systemic racism and inequality, five sitting state and federal judges shed light on the disparities that exist in the justice system and how to guard against bias in this series of Law360 guest articles.

  • Judges On Race: Lack Of Data Deters Criminal Justice Reform

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    Many state courts' failure to gather basic data on sentencing and other important criminal justice metrics frustrates efforts to keep checks on judges’ implicit biases and reduce racial disparities, say Justice Michael Donnelly at the Ohio Supreme Court and Judge Pierre Bergeron at the Ohio First District Court of Appeals.

  • Judges On Race: The Power Of Discretion In Criminal Justice

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    Judges should take into consideration the several points of law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion — from traffic stops to charging decisions and sentencing recommendations — that often lead to race-based disparate treatment before a criminal defendant even reaches the courthouse, say Judge Juan Villaseñor and Laurel Quinto at Colorado's Eighth Judicial District Court.

  • Judges On Race: The Path To A More Diverse Bench

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    To close the diversity gap between the judiciary and the litigants that regularly appear in criminal courts, institutions including police departments, prosecutor offices and defense law firms must be committed to advancing Black and Latino men, says New York Supreme Court Justice Erika Edwards.

  • High Court Must Preserve Youth Rights In Sentencing Case

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    The U.S. Supreme Court must be careful not to undo 15 years of Eighth Amendment case law and expose young adults to unconstitutional life without parole sentences in its upcoming decision in Jones v. Mississippi, says Marsha Levick at the Juvenile Law Center.

  • Judges On Race: Reducing Implicit Bias In Courtrooms

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    With unconscious biases deeply embedded in the court system, judges must take steps to guard against the power and influence of stereotypes during jury selection, evidence admissibility hearings, bail proceedings and other areas of judicial decision making, says U.S. Circuit Judge Bernice Donald.

  • Lack Of Access To Remote Court Proceedings Is Inexcusable

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    Blanket rules that bar recording or dissemination of remote public court proceedings impede presumptive common law and First Amendment right of access, greatly expand courts' powers over nonparties, and likely run afoul of U.S. Supreme Court precedent, says Matthew Schafer at ViacomCBS.

  • Countering Racial Bias In Courts Requires Bold Change

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    A recent review of the New York state court system recommends addressing pervasive racism through anti-bias trainings and better discrimination complaint protocols, but such efforts only scratch the surface of systemic racism in the law, says Jason Wu at the Legal Aid Society.

  • In Defense Of Data-Based Pretrial Risk Assessment

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    Equitable, research-based pretrial prison release decisions are not lucrative for the bail bond industry, which has led to misleading attacks against data-driven assessment tools, say Madeline Carter and Alison Shames at the Center for Effective Public Policy.

  • Change The Bankruptcy System To Help End Cycle Of Poverty

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    Courts must simplify their procedures to make bankruptcy more accessible to those who can't afford lawyers, especially as the pandemic drives bankruptcies to unprecedented levels, says Robert Gordon, a principal at Lerch Early and a former bankruptcy judge.

  • Book Review: Did The High Court Cause Mass Incarceration?

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    William Pizzi's argument in "The Supreme Court's Role in Mass Incarceration" that the U.S. Supreme Court is responsible for the high rate of incarceration is compelling, but his criticism overlooks the positive dimensions of the criminal procedure decisions under Chief Justice Earl Warren, says U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

  • Pandemic Should Propel New Prison Reforms

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    Prison releases resulting from coronavirus and earlier legislation proved that not all nonviolent offenders need to be jailed; this should spur penal system reform that includes expanded probationary alternatives, tax incentives for companies that employ ex-offenders and government transparency to ensure unbiased sentencing, says Abbe Lowell at Winston & Strawn.

  • Finding A Path Forward To Regulate The Legal Industry

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    Gerald Knapton at Ropers Majeski analyzes U.S. and U.K. experiments to explore alternative business structures and independent oversight for law firms, which could lead to innovative approaches to increasing access to legal services.

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