Access to Justice

  • August 23, 2020

    Top NJ Court Handcuffs Police Oversight Board's Powers

    New Jersey's highest court has defanged the powers of a civilian board meant to oversee police actions in the state's largest city, barring it from investigating alleged police misconduct at the same time that internal investigators are probing a matter.

  • August 23, 2020

    3 Death Penalty Cases Knocking On The High Court's Door

    A trio of petitions served up to the U.S. Supreme Court this month take aim at three distinct elements of the capital punishment process: conviction, sentencing and the execution itself.

  • August 23, 2020

    Liyah Brown On The Push For Radical Reform In Texas

    Since starting as legal director of the Texas Civil Rights Project's Criminal Injustice Reform division in March, Liyah Brown has been leading the organization's effort to combat racism in the state's criminal justice system and pursue systemic change in policing, incarceration, the money bail system and more.

  • August 21, 2020

    Arbitration Could Resolve 'Disaster' Of Human Rights At Sea

    Could international arbitration provide a way for victims of human rights abuses at sea to finally seek redress after years of falling under the radar? A new initiative is betting that the answer to that question is yes.

  • August 18, 2020

    Why Trump's Sentencing Panel Picks Worry Reform Boosters

    President Donald Trump has tapped five people for the influential commission that sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, but advocates for change on both the left and right are calling the slate "antithetical to reform" and urging senators not to confirm the picks.

  • August 16, 2020

    Paul Weiss Wins Housing Changes For Disabled NYC Tenants

    Advocating for a mobility-impaired veteran's access to his New York City Housing Authority apartment building, a team of lawyers recently secured a victory for the 63-year-old tenant that has lasting implications for other similarly situated residents.

  • August 16, 2020

    Virus Lights Fire Under Eviction Right To Counsel Movement

    The ongoing pandemic has put new urgency behind a nascent movement pushing to give tenants facing eviction a right to counsel, advocates say.

  • August 16, 2020

    Public Defender System In Nevada Poised For Reforms

    Attorneys at O'Melveny & Myers LLP helped the ACLU secure an agreement they hope will would result in real change for low-income defendants in Nevada seeking access to meaningful legal representation.

  • August 14, 2020

    Masks, Cleaning Rules Vary As Immigration Courts Reopen

    Immigration lawyer Eileen Blessinger gave her client, an asylum-seeker with severe past trauma, a homemade mask with green clovers on it to wear during his immigration court hearing on Tuesday, to give him the "luck of the Irish," she said.

  • August 14, 2020

    Utah High Court OKs Experiment To Test New Law Models

    Utah will try out new law practice business models that allow for more participation by nonlawyers after the state Supreme Court unanimously OK'd a standing order that goes into effect Friday authorizing a pilot program aimed at improving access to justice in the state.

  • August 09, 2020

    When Can A Juror Say Black Lives Matter?

    When she showed up for jury duty, prosecutors asked Crishala Reed about her support of Black Lives Matter and, in doing so, teed up a new legal fight in California over how race is being used to reject jurors.

  • August 09, 2020

    High Court Clash Shines Light On Virus's Threat To Prisoners

    A U.S. Supreme Court decision that frees a California jail from implementing stricter health measures amid the coronavirus pandemic comes as advocates and health experts warn that such facilities are a "powder keg" for COVID-19 and that authorities must do more to prevent outbreaks.

  • August 09, 2020

    Legal Helpers In Tribal Lands Work To Adapt As Virus Lingers

    The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated how attorneys everywhere serve their clients. For lawyers who serve older Native Americans in rural parts of Oklahoma, that has meant getting creative to safely continue their work.

  • August 09, 2020

    Janai Nelson On Racial Justice Work In The 2020s

    As associate director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Janai Nelson helps to oversee operations and steer the strategic vision of the 80-year-old civil rights organization, whose work she says is more important now than ever.

  • August 09, 2020

    Amid Calls For Police Scrutiny, Cities Look To Law Firms

    A series of high-profile officer-involved killings has thrown a spotlight on police oversight. As the federal government steps back from providing departments with road maps for reform, a number of cities are hiring private attorneys to do the job, which some say could help lend credibility to findings and diffuse political tension.

  • August 07, 2020

    Ohio Court Upholds $50M Verdict In Police Brutality Case

    An Ohio appeals court on Thursday upheld a $50 million jury verdict in favor of a man who said he was detained without probable cause, beaten and kept in a storage closet for four days by East Cleveland police.

  • August 07, 2020

    NY Courts Say Eviction Pause Continues, For Now

    The New York Office of Court Administration on Friday said that a pause on evictions and most related proceedings remains in place, perpetuating an uneasy status quo for tenants, landlords and their attorneys.

  • August 05, 2020

    Judge Blasts Qualified Immunity As He Reluctantly Grants It 

    A Mississippi federal judge has begrudgingly granted qualified immunity to a police officer accused of violating a Black motorist's civil rights during a traffic stop, saying the U.S. Supreme Court should reconsider the legal doctrine that serves as de facto absolute immunity for law enforcement.

  • July 31, 2020

    Judges Warn Partisan Attacks Undercut Their Independence

    Recent political attacks that have destabilized the Polish judiciary and democracy serve as a warning as the U.S. grapples with an uptick in partisan attacks that also threaten to undermine judicial independence, according to jurists on an American Bar Association panel.

  • July 31, 2020

    COVID-19 Threatens To Worsen US Legal Deserts

    Nearly half of the United States' counties have fewer than one attorney for every resident and the coronavirus pandemic threatens to intensify the rural area-centered problem of "legal deserts," according to panelists at a recent American Bar Association conference.

  • July 31, 2020

    Pa. Bail Reformers Look For Hope After High Court Loss

    A yearlong investigation into allegations of excessive bail practices by Philadelphia arraignment judges ended with a whimper last week as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected calls for wholesale reform, but advocates say they hope a series of recommendations will help protect criminal defendants from being jailed simply because they're poor.

  • July 31, 2020

    Sidley Austin Secures Ariz. Death Penalty Reforms

    The execution of Joseph Woods went terribly wrong, lasting nearly two hours and prompting officials to turn off the audio feed for observers. Sidley Austin's recent court win should help prevent a repeat scenario in Arizona.

  • July 31, 2020

    BigLaw Brings Brawn To Racial Justice Protest Suits

    Perkins Coie, Gibson Dunn and other BigLaw firms have jumped into racial justice battles in recent weeks, backing organizations and individuals who assert the Trump administration and local authorities are violating the U.S. Constitution in their response to protests over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • July 30, 2020

    Nonprofits Pushing For Family Release Can't Join Flores Case

    A California federal judge on Wednesday thwarted nonprofits' attempt to join a long-running class action defending the rights of detained migrant children, finding that the children's current attorney has offered "more than adequate representation" despite the nonprofits' claims.

  • July 28, 2020

    DOI Opens Cold Case Office For Murdered Native Americans

    The first of seven offices focused on solving cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives recently opened in Minnesota during a visit by Ivanka Trump to promote a newly established presidential task force that targets the crisis.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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