Access to Justice

  • June 14, 2020

    Virus Concerns Loom Over Handling Of Mass Arrests

    As the nation looks to address widespread calls for police reforms following the killing of a black man in police custody in Minnesota, legal advocates are also pushing for authorities to learn from how they handled the recent stretch of protests and, in some cases, looting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • June 14, 2020

    New Hurdle Emerges For Pro Se Prisoners

    Prisoners who represent themselves in court have a new hurdle to clear because of the U.S. Supreme Court's holding that they will lose their fee-waiver status after three certain types of unsuccessful federal lawsuits, no matter if they weren't dismissed on the merits.

  • June 14, 2020

    As Wash. Ends Access Program, Advocates Fear Ripple Effect

    The end of a Washington state program that made legal advice accessible for people who could not afford attorneys has come at a time when other states are considering or launching similar programs. While some say that the end of the program won't have an impact, others worry that it might undo progress for an idea that can sometimes be a tough sell.

  • June 14, 2020

    Kirkland Helps Indiana Foster Care Suit Stay On Track

    A putative class action on behalf of children in the Indiana foster care system has mostly survived the state's bid for a quick win thanks to a team of Kirkland & Ellis LLP attorneys and two nonprofit partners, though the government is still hoping to short-circuit the litigation.

  • June 12, 2020

    4th Circ. Cop Immunity Ruling Seen As Potential Turning Point

    The Fourth Circuit's recent decision to revive a police brutality suit has given civil rights attorneys hope that other courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, may be willing to take another look at so-called qualified immunity shielding police officers.

  • June 12, 2020

    Planned Asylum Overhaul Threatens Migrants' Due Process

    The Trump administration's proposed overhaul of the U.S. asylum process, calling for more power for immigration judges and asylum officers, could hinder migrants' access to counsel in an already fast-tracked immigration system.

  • June 08, 2020

    Supreme Court Curbs Frivolous Prisoner Lawsuits

    Litigious prisoners who bring three or more unsuccessful lawsuits will generally have to pay their own filing fees for any new actions, regardless of whether they lost their prior lawsuits on the merits, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

  • June 07, 2020

    Jon Rapping Talks Pandemics, Protests And Public Defense

    Jonathan Rapping, founder of the nonprofit public defender training organization Gideon’s Promise, speaks with Law360 about the launch of his new podcast and why public defenders are more important than ever amid a historic pandemic, police protests and surging interest in criminal justice reform.

  • June 07, 2020

    Sex Trafficking Prosecutions Continue To Drop In Fed. Court

    For the second year in a row, the number of federal human trafficking cases being prosecuted has dropped after almost two decades of increases, according to a new report released by the Human Trafficking Institute.

  • 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 07, 2020

    As Justices Mull Qualified Immunity, Could Congress End It?

    For over a year, the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed taking up challenges to qualified immunity, a controversial doctrine it devised to protect law enforcement and other public officials from facing civil rights lawsuits. But after more than a week of widespread protests over police accountability, legislators are taking matters into their own hands.

  • 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

    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

    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

    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 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 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 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. 

Expert Analysis

  • Time To Rethink License Suspensions Without Due Notice

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    In North Carolina, one in seven adults has a suspended driver’s license, but our research suggests that many of them never received actual notice of their license suspension, or of the court proceeding that led to it, making this a fundamentally unfair sanction, say Brandon Garrett, Karima Modjadidi and William Crozier at Duke University.

  • Changing The Way We Dialogue About Justice Reform

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    Dawn Freeman of The Securus Foundation discusses why humanizing the language used to discuss justice-involved individuals is a key aspect of reform and how the foundation’s upcoming campaign will implement this change in mainstream publications and on social media.

  • High Court Should Restore Sentencing Due Process

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    If the U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari in Asaro v. U.S. and rules that sentencing judges cannot consider uncharged, dismissed and acquitted conduct, a peculiar and troubling oddity of criminal and constitutional law will finally be rectified, say criminal defense attorney Alan Ellis and sentencing consultant Mark Allenbaugh.

  • Book Review: Who's To Blame For The Broken Legal System?

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    The provocative new book by Alec Karakatsanis, "Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System," shines a searing light on the anachronism that is the American criminal justice system, says Sixth Circuit Judge Bernice Donald.

  • High Court Should Affirm 3-Strikes Rule For Prisoner Pleading

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    The U.S. Supreme Court in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez should hold that any case dismissed for failure to state a claim should count as a strike for purposes of Section 1915(g), which allows incarcerated people to file three complaints free of charge, says GianCarlo Canaparo at The Heritage Foundation.

  • Acquitted Conduct Should Not Be Considered At Sentencing

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    Congress should advance the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act, which seeks to explicitly preclude federal judges from a practice that effectively eliminates the democratic role of the jury in the criminal justice system, says Robert Ehrlich, former governor of Maryland.

  • Thank A Female Veteran With Access To Legal Services

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    Women returning from military deployment often require more legal assistance than their male counterparts, and Congress can alleviate some of these burdens by passing the Improving Legal Services for Female Veterans Act, says Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa.

  • California Should Embrace Nonlawyer Providers

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    Despite criticisms from the legal profession, a California proposal to allow some legal service delivery by nonlawyers is a principled response to the reality that millions of Americans currently must face their legal problems without any help, says Chris Albin-Lackey, legal and policy director at the National Center for Access to Justice.

  • Calif. Law Offers New Hope For Child Sexual Abuse Victims

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    The recent passage of A.B. 218 in California — extending the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases — will pose challenges for the justice system, but some of the burdens posed by abuse will finally be shifted from survivors to accused abusers and the organizations that enabled them, says retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge Scott Gordon.

  • Core Rights Of Accused At Issue In High Court's New Term

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming decisions in several criminal cases this term will determine whether certain rights of the accused — some that many people would be surprised to learn are unsettled — are assured by the Constitution, say Harry Sandick and Jacob Newman at Patterson Belknap.

  • Bill Limiting Forced Arbitration Is Critical To Real Justice

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    Real justice means having access to fair and independent courts, but that will only be a reality when Congress bans predispute, forced arbitration under federal law with the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, which passed the House on Friday, says Patrice Simms at Earthjustice.

  • 3 Ways DOJ Is Working To Improve Justice In Indian Country

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    As both a federal prosecutor and a member of the Choctaw Nation, I am proud of the U.S. Department of Justice's current efforts to address crime in Indian Country while respecting tribal sovereignty, says Trent Shores, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

  • Rules Of Evidence Hinder #MeToo Claims In Court

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    If women and men who bring sexual harassment allegations in court will ever have a level playing field with their alleged harassers, the rules regarding what evidence is relevant in a sexual harassment trial must be changed, says John Winer at Winer Burritt.

  • Sealing Marijuana Convictions Is A Win For Justice System

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    As a result of a novel class action, hundreds of New Yorkers' old convictions for marijuana-related crimes are being sealed, an important step toward a more equal justice system where the needless collateral consequences of marijuana criminalization are eliminated, says Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.

  • DOJ's Latest Effort To Undermine Impartial Immigration Bench

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    The U.S. Department of Justice's recent petition to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges on the grounds that members are “management officials” and precluded from unionizing is part of a continuing effort to curb judicial independence in immigration court, says former immigration judge Jeffrey Chase.

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