Access to Justice

  • March 28, 2023

    Law360's 2023 Access To Justice Editorial Advisory Board

    Law360 is pleased to announce the formation of its 2023 Access to Justice Editorial Advisory Board.

  • March 24, 2023

    Pandemic Exposed Excessive NY Child Removals, Attys Argue

    A feared spike in child mistreatment amid New York City's pandemic lockdown, as the city’s child welfare system nearly shut down, never happened. In a study published last week, advocates say that proves the system regularly removes far more children from their families than necessary.

  • March 24, 2023

    Inside The Settlement Over ICE's 'Steak Out' Raid In Tenn.

    Nearly five years after federal agents stormed a Tennessee meatpacking plant and arrested over 100 Latino workers, U.S. government agencies agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million in damages to settle a class action accusing the officers of targeting the employees on the basis of their ethnicity and using excessive force. Lead attorneys for the plaintiffs broke down the case for Law360.

  • March 24, 2023

    Black Miss. Judges Speak Out Against GOP Court Overhaul

    Mississippi’s Republican-controlled and majority white state Legislature is pushing to install new, unelected judges in Jackson, the majority Black state capital — but Jackson’s elected Black judges are pushing back.

  • March 24, 2023

    Homer Plessy's Anti-Segregation Legal Fight Gets New Coda

    A book about the unlikely friendship between descendants of the opposing parties in the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Plessy v. Ferguson case upholding racial segregation has been updated to include a new coda: the recent move to pardon Homer Plessy for having boarded a whites-only train in 1892.

  • March 24, 2023

    How Legal Aid Groups Are Using Artificial Intelligence Tools

    Legal tech companies Casetext and Relativity have partnered with several legal aid organizations to give them access to their artificial intelligence tools. Here is a look at how these groups are using the tools and what it means for access to justice.

  • March 23, 2023

    Mich. High Court Mulls New Rule That Helps Indigent Clients

    The Michigan Supreme Court is eyeing a change to the state's rules of professional conduct that would allow attorneys to help certain clients out with transportation and other amenities during court proceedings, potentially furthering the court's recent focus on increasing access to justice in the state.

  • March 23, 2023

    Reed Smith's Sachnoff Remembered As Pro Bono Icon

    The Chicago legal community is mourning the loss of longtime Reed Smith LLP attorney Lowell Sachnoff while celebrating his impact, which ranged from passionately advocating for the rights of transgender people and for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay to mentoring generations of young lawyers he affectionately called his "ducklings."

  • March 22, 2023

    Pa. Gov. Calls For State-Level Public Defender Funding

    Gov. Josh Shapiro urged members of the Philadelphia Bar Association on Wednesday to support dedicating $10 million of his $44 billion budget proposal to end Pennsylvania's distinction as being the only state to not provide state-level funding to public defenders.

  • March 21, 2023

    Bipartisan Report Recommends Axing Mandatory Minimums

    A new study co-chaired by Sally Yates, the Obama administration's former deputy attorney general, and former Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy recommends doing away with mandatory minimum sentences and increasing parole opportunities to cut down on long prison sentences, which they say are often wasteful and ineffective.

  • March 17, 2023

    Georgetown Tech Program To Begin In Tenn., Utah, Kan.

    The Georgetown University Law Center has announced the first three court projects selected for its inaugural Judicial Innovation Fellowship, which will embed technologists and software designers in state, local and tribal courts to develop tech-based solutions to improve access to the judicial system.

  • March 10, 2023

    Stoel Rives, Dorsey Attys Break Ground For Minn. Detainees

    In a win for two Minnesota Sex Offender Program patients left waiting for more than two years after being deemed eligible to move out of lockdown confinement, attorneys at Stoel Rives LLP and Dorsey & Whitney LLP recently secured a significant ruling requiring speedier state action on court-ordered transfers.

  • March 10, 2023

    Attys Work To Take The 'Civil' Out Of Civil Forfeiture

    A case pending before the Nevada Supreme Court is the latest in a nationwide battle to try and make civil forfeiture, a process through which the government can seize property from criminal defendants, a part of criminal court proceedings. Critics of civil forfeiture say that conducting seizures through separate civil cases violates double jeopardy and due process protections, and deprives those facing forfeiture of legal representation.

  • March 10, 2023

    NY Lawmakers Renew Push To Ban 'Predatory' Court Fees

    New York levies a mandatory surcharge on every criminal conviction, whether it’s for a violation, a misdemeanor or a felony. In some cases, court fees can add up to hundreds of dollars, and critics say the levies fall disproportionately on the backs of low-income residents. A proposed bill would eliminate them.

  • March 08, 2023

    Senate Votes Down DC's Revised Criminal Code

    The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday 81-14-1 to block Washington, D.C.'s revised criminal code from taking effect, a move that would leave in place a 122-year-old code that's been described as unclear and piecemeal, and highlights the district's unique hurdles to self-governance.

  • March 08, 2023

    Conn. Court Axes Class Action Over State's 'Pay To Stay' Law

    A federal judge in Connecticut on Monday told three former inmates they had no standing to challenge the state's attorney general over a controversial law that allows the state to sue prisoners for the costs of their incarceration.

  • February 24, 2023

    Retired Atty's Fight To Help End DC Driver License Penalties

    After retiring in 2018 from several decades of government work, a former U.S. Department of Labor attorney found a new opportunity to serve the public as he recently helped mount a successful challenge to a Washington, D.C., rule barring individuals with unpaid fines from obtaining or renewing driver licenses.

  • February 24, 2023

    ICE, Prison Co. Targeted Detainee Hunger Strikers, Suit Says

    Staff at two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities in California regularly retaliated against migrant detainees for engaging in hunger strikes, including by denying them basic hygiene supplies and threatening solitary confinement, a new lawsuit alleges.

  • February 24, 2023

    New Law Helps Lathrop, Bryan Cave Win Mo. Exoneration

    Relying on a recently passed state law giving prosecutors new authority to challenge wrongful convictions, attorneys with Lathrop GPM and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner won a ruling this month exonerating a St. Louis man following a 1995 murder conviction they said had been marred by false testimony.

  • February 24, 2023

    Inside The Fight To Update DC's Criminal Code

    As the District of Columbia prepares to enact a wholly revised criminal code to replace its jumbled set of statutory provisions cobbled together over 122 years, critics and congressional Republicans are objecting to a handful of provisions, including an end to most mandatory minimum sentences and reduced maximum sentences for certain violent offenses, insisting they would embolden criminals.

  • February 24, 2023

    How Baton Rouge Activists Won A Rare Civil Rights Settlement

    Activists who accused the Baton Rouge police of brutalizing them at a 2016 protest faced long odds as they sought to hold the department accountable. But two veteran civil rights attorneys helped secure the group a rare $1 million settlement this month as a two-week jury trial neared its conclusion.

  • February 24, 2023

    Law360 Seeks Members For Its 2023 Editorial Boards

    Law360 is looking for avid readers of our publications to serve as members of our 2023 editorial advisory boards.

  • February 22, 2023

    Justices Say Ariz. Got Death Penalty Due Process Wrong

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday said Arizona high court justices so wrongly interpreted the state's criminal procedure rules that federal review was warranted, in a death penalty appeal that spurred a 5-4 divide among the justices.

  • February 21, 2023

    Use Of Plea Bargains Undermining Justice, ABA Report Says

    The overuse of plea bargains in criminal prosecutions is undermining the criminal justice system's integrity, exacerbating its racial inequality and creating "perverse incentives" to prioritize expediency over fact-finding, according to an American Bar Association report issued Wednesday.

  • February 03, 2023

    What The Tyre Nichols Case Means For Police Prosecutions

    When Tyre Nichols was fatally beaten by Memphis, Tennessee, police last month, videos of the incident helped prompt local prosecutors to quickly bring second-degree murder charges against five of the officers involved — a highly unusual result that offers a window into the evolving state of police accountability in the U.S. Here, Law360 looks at some of the factors that make the Nichols case unusual, and what implications it could hold for future police prosecutions.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • Remote Court Procedures Can Help Domestic Abuse Victims

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    Courts have recently adopted remote procedures to make domestic violence victims feel safer during the COVID-19 crisis, but they should consider preserving these trauma-sensitive adaptations post-pandemic as well, say Ashley Carter and Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

  • Law Commission's New Idea For Confiscation Orders Is Unfair

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    The recent proposal by the Law Commission of England and Wales to recall prisoners who fail to settle their confiscation orders when they have already served a sentence for nonpayment would, in effect, punish them twice for the same act, says Brian Swan at Stokoe Partnership.

  • Barrett Should Be Questioned On Children's Access To Courts

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    At a time when children's lives are so threatened by avoidable climate change chaos, understanding U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's views on what standing future generations have to seek declaratory relief in Article III courts should be an essential part of her confirmation hearings, says Julia Olson at Our Children's Trust.

  • A Smarter Approach To Measuring Prosecutorial Success

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    To improve their ability to dispense justice, prosecutors should measure the efficacy of their work based on metrics such as caseload distribution, timely case handling and racial disparity trends — instead of the traditionally used conviction rates and number of trials, say Anthony Thompson at the New York University School of Law and Miriam Krinsky at Fair and Just Prosecution.

  • States Shouldn't Hinder Local Gov'ts In COVID-19 Tenant Aid

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    In the face of increasing state preemption and absent other government intervention, states should explicitly allow city and county policymakers to help renters in order to avoid a pandemic-prompted eviction crisis, say Emily Benfer at Wake Forest University School of Law and Nestor Davidson at Fordham University School of Law.

  • An Abuse Of Prosecutorial Discretion In Breonna Taylor Case

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    The prosecution's decision in the Breonna Taylor grand jury proceedings to present a crucial, disputed fact — whether the officers knocked and announced themselves when they arrived at Taylor's apartment — as a settled question represents the partiality police officers often enjoy from prosecutors, says attorney Geoffrey D. Kearney.

  • Immigration Appeals Proposal Would Erode Due Process

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    A recent Trump administration proposal to limit appellate review of immigration cases would eviscerate the few existing legal protections for immigrants and asylum seekers at a time when they are already routinely denied due process in court, says Lynn Pearson at the Tahirih Justice Center.

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