Access to Justice

  • July 26, 2020

    High Court Rebuffs Still Leave Paths To Fight Executions

    While the U.S. Supreme Court in July allowed federal authorities to execute three individuals using lethal injection, its rulings did not go as far as greenlighting executions for the nearly 60 prisoners who are currently on death row in federal prisons, several legal experts on capital punishment said.

  • July 26, 2020

    Alexis Hoag On 'Movement Lawyering' As A Tool For Justice

    As the practitioner-in-residence at Columbia University's Eric H. Holder Jr. Initiative for Civil and Political Rights, Alexis Hoag is teaching the lawyers of tomorrow about "movement lawyering," a grassroots style of advocacy that she believes is critical to increasing access to justice.

  • July 26, 2020

    After Stone Clemency, Activists Rally For Elder Parole

    In commuting the sentence of Republican political operative Roger Stone earlier this month, President Donald Trump highlighted his 67-year-old friend's age and medical conditions. State and national advocates for elderly parole say his logic should lead to the release of far more people, especially during a pandemic.

  • July 24, 2020

    Legal Aid Orgs Say Demand Will Keep Rising Amid Pandemic

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause economic upheaval, 97% of legal aid organizations funded by the Legal Services Corp. anticipate a sharp increase in the need for legal aid for issues such as eviction, foreclosure and consumer debt, according to a new survey.

  • July 24, 2020

    Migrant Families Face Choice Between Unity And Virus

    Recent court orders requiring the government to release migrant children from detention — but not their parents — could usher in another family separation crisis and pave the way for prolonged detention of families.

  • July 19, 2020

    Execution Cases Show High Court Divide On Death Penalty

    Federal executions resumed last week following a 17-year hiatus, greenlighted by a spate of late-night divided orders from the U.S. Supreme Court that have sparked calls from dissenting justices to revisit the constitutionality of the death penalty.

  • July 19, 2020

    Kirkland & Ellis Helps Secure Victory For Immigrant Teens

    Two years after filing a class action behalf of teenagers held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Kirkland & Ellis and its nonprofit partners at the National Immigrant Justice Center and the American Immigration Council won a major court victory saying that the agency had not followed proper procedure.

  • July 19, 2020

    Progressives Target Vance In Manhattan DA Race

    The most diverse and progressive field to ever compete for the position of Manhattan district attorney participated in a virtual forum last week, tackling questions about bail reform, police brutality and the tenure of current DA Cy Vance Jr., who's yet to announce whether he'll seek a fourth term.

  • July 19, 2020

    At NYC Protests, A New Collective Of Black Legal Observers

    Julian Hill, a lawyer and grassroots organizer from Harlem, joined a celebratory Black-led bicycle ride through Central Brooklyn last month on Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Texas with news that slavery had been abolished.

  • July 19, 2020

    'Good Faith': Breonna Taylor And The Broad Search Standard

    The botched drug raid that killed Breonna Taylor has made her name a rallying cry for police accountability. But her death also raises thorny Fourth Amendment questions about whether the search of her apartment was invalid even before police shot her.

  • July 12, 2020

    Ronal Serpas On Why Police Reform Is A Justice Issue

    Ronal Serpas ended his 34-year law enforcement career to teach at Loyola University in 2014, but he hasn’t given up on police reform. Here, the co-chair of the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration explains why police reform is an access to justice issue.

  • July 12, 2020

    Shift To Virtual Eviction Hearings Stirs Due Process Fears

    As communities throughout the country look to reinitiate eviction proceedings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many courts are conducting hearings online, creating a potential due process barrier for low-income individuals who face obstacles to fast internet connections, tenant advocates say.

  • July 10, 2020

    Is Milwaukee's Eviction Spike 'The Canary In The Coal Mine'?

    Wisconsin joined numerous states in passing protections against evictions at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but after its moratorium expired in late May, the city of Milwaukee saw a major spike in eviction cases, a trend that some worry might be repeated elsewhere as more eviction bans come to an end.

  • July 12, 2020

    How Pa. Is Setting The Pace On Clean Slate Reform

    More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians have been afforded a second chance as the state's first-of-its-kind automated system for sealing certain low-level criminal offenses went into effect. Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Act has now become a kind of national model as more than half a dozen states have started moving toward automated expungement of criminal records.

  • July 10, 2020

    NY Bill Would Suspend Two-Fail Bar Exam Rule For Pandemic

    New legislation would allow New York public defender and government law graduates who have twice failed the bar exam to continue to practice under supervision for the duration of the state's ongoing coronavirus state of emergency.

  • July 08, 2020

    NY Courts Extend Hold On Evictions In Latest Twist Of Saga

    The New York Office of Court Administration on Wednesday extended a pause on evictions and related proceedings at least through Aug. 5, even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo chipped away at remaining pandemic-related eviction restrictions.

  • June 28, 2020

    Will Spotlight On Racial Justice Force More Diverse Juries?

    Experts are expressing confidence that the civil unrest gripping the nation over racial tensions will refuel the push to make juries more diverse, a problem that has vexed the legal industry long before the killings of George Floyd and others by white police officers.

  • June 28, 2020

    Ruling May Show Sea Change In Territorial Access To Benefits

    Just weeks after the First Circuit said denying Puerto Ricans Social Security disability benefits is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Guam came to a similar conclusion, signaling a potential sea change in how the courts view U.S. citizens in territories who have traditionally been excluded from a number of federal programs.

  • June 28, 2020

    Immigrant Bond Grants Stagnate Despite More Counsel

    Over the last five years, representation rates for immigrants in bond hearings have nearly doubled. But over the same time period, bond grant rates have dropped — and those granted bonds have been asked to pay increasingly higher amounts for freedom.

  • June 28, 2020

    Virus's Creep Into Juvenile Detention Fuels Release Efforts

    Fewer than 14% of detained youth in Louisiana have been tested for COVID-19, but more than 93% of that group has tested positive. A recent setback in litigation aimed at their release highlights the challenges facing advocates who are concerned that purportedly rehabilitative juvenile detention facilities aren't meeting the moment.

  • June 28, 2020

    Morgan Lewis Helps Pa. Man Upend Murder Conviction

    Andrew Swainson tries not to be bitter about having spent 31 years of his life behind bars for a murder conviction that a Pennsylvania judge vacated earlier this month.

  • June 21, 2020

    Emily Benfer On The Incoming Wave Of COVID-19 Evictions

    Columbia University law professor Emily Benfer worked with Princeton University’s Eviction Lab to create a COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard that’s tracking eviction prevention policies across states. She told Law360 that the patchwork nature of the protections will leave many renters and landlords falling through the cracks.

  • June 21, 2020

    As Nov. Nears, Attys Fight To Ensure Jailed Voters Get Ballots

    While felony convictions have stripped more than 6 million Americans of their right to vote, about half a million people sitting in U.S. jails on any given day are eligible to cast a ballot, but they rarely can. Civil rights lawyers are trying to help.

  • June 21, 2020

    Donation Wave Powers Bail Funds' Future

    Bail funds received more than $70 million in donations during the wave of protests and activism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. Spikes in funding and media attention have happened before, but advocates say this time, momentum is building for lasting changes to the pretrial justice system.

  • June 21, 2020

    In California, Jury Boxes 'Whitewashed' All Too Often

    It's unconstitutional to prevent someone from serving on a jury based on their race, but a recent report examining jury selection in California found that Black and Latinx jurors are dramatically more likely to be struck from a jury by prosecutors.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • Understanding What Restorative Justice Is And Isn't

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    A hearing in the Jeffrey Epstein case featuring victim impact statements and a White House meeting between a hit-and-run driver and the victim's parents have been described as restorative justice, but the reality is more complex, says Natalie Gordon of DOAR.

  • 5 Most-Read Access To Justice Law360 Guests Of 2019

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    On topics ranging from public trial rights to electronic monitoring technology to the rules of evidence in the context of sexual harassment trials, 2019 brought a wide array of compelling commentary from the access to justice community.

  • Inside The Key Federal Sentencing Developments Of 2019

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    Raquel Wilson, director of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, discusses this year's developments in federal sentencing, including new legislation in the Senate and U.S. Supreme Court cases invalidating certain statutes.

  • ODonnell Consent Decree Will Harm Criminal Justice In Texas

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    In Odonnell v. Harris County, a Texas federal court ordered that misdemeanor offenders could be released without bail, marking a fundamental deterioration of the Texas criminal justice system, says attorney Randy Adler.

  • Judges Cannot Rehabilitate Offenders With Extra Prison Time

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    Although they may mean well, federal judges should stop attempting to help criminal defendants get into drug rehabilitation programs by unlawfully sending them to prison for longer than their recommended sentences, says GianCarlo Canaparo at The Heritage Foundation.

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