Access to Justice

  • March 17, 2019

    Philly’s Skewed Bail System Stranding The Poor, Suit Says

    Josh Glenn should have been going to high school when he turned 17, but instead he was sitting in a Philadelphia jail cell after his family was unable to afford bail. More than a decade later, he's joined the ACLU in a newly filed lawsuit challenging allegedly excessive bail practices on the part of Philadelphia judges.

  • March 17, 2019

    Kirkland Helps Minors Shake Adult Time Over Jail Scuffles

    Jaylan Banks and Sylvester Williams were nearing the end of their juvenile sentences at a youth facility in Harrisburg, Illinois in the spring of 2017 when they found themselves flung directly into multiyear sentences in the adult corrections system following altercations with guards.

  • March 17, 2019

    Public Defenders Blast Shuffled Immigration Hearings In NY

    A recent move by immigration authorities to bump up a slew of hearing dates in New York without notice has public defenders crying foul and painting the move as a not-so-subtle attack on the ability of immigrants facing deportation to have proper counsel.

  • March 10, 2019

    Namati Founder Vivek Maru On 'Barefoot Lawyers'

    In an effort to boost legal access and the rule of law across the globe, attorney Vivek Maru launched Namati in 2011. Here, Maru talks about growing a network of grassroots legal advocates and democratizing the law.

  • March 10, 2019

    How The High Cost Of Calls In Jail Restricts Legal Access

    Phone calls from local jails often cost far more than phone calls from state prisons due to commission-based contracts between service providers and jail operators. As a result, contact between defendants and their attorneys before trial can cost up to $25 per 15 minutes.

  • March 10, 2019

    In Justice Crisis, Access Commissions' Spread Sparks Change

    States have seen an explosion of access to justice commissions in recent years, and they’ve become a driving force not only in getting legal aid to those who need it, but also helping self-represented litigants better navigate the courts.

  • March 10, 2019

    San Francisco Faces Uncertain Bail System After Reform Win

    Oakland resident Riana Buffin was never formally charged with a crime, but that didn’t stop her from spending 46 hours in jail because she couldn't pay bail while suspected of grand theft, or from losing her job when she didn't show up to work.

  • March 7, 2019

    Law Barring Asylum Reviews Is Unconstitutional: 9th Circ.

    Part of the Immigration and Nationality Act violates the U.S. Constitution by limiting federal district courts from reviewing whether asylum seekers apprehended near the border established a fear of persecution, the Ninth Circuit found Thursday. 

  • March 3, 2019

    Bail Reformers Gain Ground With 10th Circ. Win

    Bail reform advocates got a boost last week when the Tenth Circuit backed the constitutionality of recently enacted New Mexico rules allowing courts to eschew cash bail for many defendants, experts said.

  • March 3, 2019

    Pressure Grows In NY To Take Sex Work Out Of The Shadows

    Advocates and lawmakers in New York are gearing up to make the Empire State the first in the country to decriminalize sex work, hoping for a package of changes that they say should include wiping away past criminal convictions on prostitution and related charges.

  • March 3, 2019

    With Courthouse Arrests, Is Justice Too Risky For Immigrants?

    Two recent reports from New York and Pennsylvania document the pervasive fear of courthouse immigration arrests among immigrant communities. Immigration officers defend the practice as a result of so-called sanctuary city policies, but lawyers say it scares off crime victims and witnesses.

  • March 3, 2019

    Who Are You Without An ID?

    Having a legal ID can easily be taken for granted, but more than 1 billion people across the globe don’t have a way to show who they are, which can affect everything from starting a business, to enrolling in school, to appearing in court or filing a police report.

  • March 3, 2019

    Value Of Exonerees’ Lost Time Depends On Where They Live

    A city granted a $21 million settlement to an exonerated man who spent 37 years behind bars, less than a year after the state paid just $1.95 million. The discrepancy in sums raises the question: how much is a wrongfully convicted person’s lost time really worth?

  • March 3, 2019

    Attys Lose Access Fight Over NYC Jail Conditions For Now

    A New York federal judge on Friday declined to renew an order mandating strict access to attorneys for inmates in a Brooklyn federal jail that had no heat for a frigid week in January, finding the lawyers who sued over the ordeal lack standing to bring Sixth Amendment claims.

  • February 24, 2019

    For Prisoners, Privacy Of Attorney Emails An Open Question

    Communications with your attorney are usually private, but there’s a glaring exception for people in prison. Federal prosecutors can access all emails sent over a system set up by the Bureau of Prisons, and it’s unclear how often they might be looking at emails between attorneys and their clients.

  • February 24, 2019

    Freedom At A Cost: Fighting Court Fees On The Acquitted

    In 2017, after two trials and years of legal fees that wiped out his life savings, Curtis Lovelace was acquitted of the murder of his wife, but the court ruled he still had to pay $35,000 as a "bond forfeiture fee," something Lovelace is now arguing is unconstitutional.

  • February 24, 2019

    Texas Rebuffed On Mental Fitness Review For Death Row

    A Texas court relied on outdated and stereotypical rationales to determine that a death row inmate who struggled as a teenager to grasp basic math was not intellectually disabled and should be executed, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, reinforcing that established clinical guidelines must underpin such decisions.

  • February 24, 2019

    Justices' Answer On Excessive Fines Invites New Questions

    After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that state and local governments must abide by the constitutional ban on excessive fines, advocates say the fight against civil asset forfeiture is far from over.

  • February 20, 2019

    States Can't Impose Excessive Fines, High Court Rules

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the constitutional bar on excessive fines applies to state and local governments, unanimously siding with a convicted drug dealer in his fight to reclaim a $42,000 Land Rover the state of Indiana had seized via civil forfeiture.

  • February 19, 2019

    ​​​​​​​Fla. Bar Foundation Gets $3.6M From Sanctions For Legal Aid

    The Florida Bar Foundation said it has received $3.6 million of the $4.3 million in sanctions from two law firms involved in tobacco litigation and plans to disburse it to qualified legal aid organizations in the Middle District of Florida.

  • February 10, 2019

    'Emerging Leaders' Aim To Raise Profile Of Access Crisis

    What do baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, Stanford Law School Dean M. Elizabeth Magill and legal novelist John Grisham have in common?

  • February 10, 2019

    Clean Slate: How Ditching A Criminal Record Is No Easy Task

    An estimated 100 million Americans have criminal records that follow them for life. Some states have moved to ease the burden by passing record-sealing laws for certain offenses, but the process of clearing your name can be byzantine, expensive and futile in an age where mugshots are searchable online.

  • February 10, 2019

    Innocence Project's DeLone Talks Fighting Wrongful Convictions

    Maddy deLone, the executive director at the Innocence Project for the past 15 years, has a poster-sized photograph of a man named Warith Habib Abdal framed above her desk in lower Manhattan.

  • February 10, 2019

    Ind. Failing Kids Through Lack Of Attys In Family Court: Suit

    For children, there are few things that can have a greater impact on their lives than dependency proceedings that decide where they will live and with whom. But according to a new lawsuit, kids in Indiana are going through that process without a common protection — having attorneys.

  • February 10, 2019

    Atty Access Win Marks Bigger Fight Over Prison's Conditions

    Amid mounting questions about conditions in a Brooklyn federal prison that lost power and heat in January, the more than 1,600 men and women living there have earned a court victory providing access to attorneys, but the legal fight following the alleged humanitarian crisis isn't over.

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