Access to Justice

  • May 12, 2020

    'Remain In Mexico' Changes Spark Confusion At The Border

    Changes recently announced to the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" program have confused asylum-seekers and their attorneys alike, prompting some migrants to risk infection from the coronavirus and come to the border as initially scheduled out of fear of deportation.

  • May 10, 2020

    Is Now The Time To Reform How Courts Handle Debt Cases?

    COVID-19's chilling effect on court operations at least presents an opportunity to rethink how consumers are treated in debt collection lawsuits, according to the group behind a new report, which found that, even before the pandemic, individuals facing such cases were often a missing element in the courtroom.

  • May 10, 2020

    Law Students Step Up As Legal Needs From Virus Grow

    Thousands of law students have signed up to volunteer for coronavirus-related legal aid opportunities, which represent a chance to help with relief efforts and to cut their teeth with some real-life lawyering.

  • May 10, 2020

    How One Legal Aid Clinic Has Gone Virtual

    The coronavirus pandemic has presented walk-in legal aid clinics with an existential crisis, but with the assistance of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, one clinic in Dallas is using a new virtual platform to press forward and seeing more attorneys volunteering to help.

  • May 10, 2020

    Citizens In This State Face The Biggest Risk On Court Fines

    When it comes to state policies that lend themselves to high fines and court fees, Georgia is the state where citizens are most at risk for such charges, while North Carolina is the state with the most protections, according to a new report.

  • May 08, 2020

    Immigration Board Picks Under Trump To Set Lasting Policy

    The Trump administration is staffing the Board of Immigration Appeals with former immigration judges who have high asylum-denial rates and backgrounds in law enforcement. Advocates for immigrants and lawmakers have warned that the hiring process is too politicized and could shape immigration law for years to come.

  • May 03, 2020

    For The Homeless, Virus' Threat Also Brings Hope For Reform

    Coronavirus-fueled stay-at-home orders have contributed to an existing catalog of laws that are difficult for homeless people to obey. But attorneys say the pandemic has also opened the door for impact litigation that could make more safe housing available.

  • May 03, 2020

    Winston & Strawn Lends Virtual Hand To DACA Recipients

    A looming U.S. Supreme Court decision could end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at any moment. Winston & Strawn attorneys are conducting virtual clinics to help DACA recipients file for two more years of legal status before it’s too late.

  • May 03, 2020

    Disaster Aid Portal Aims To Ease Hunt For Pro Bono Work

    The American Bar Association's Disaster Legal Services program has teamed up with legal technology company Paladin to launch a pro bono portal that allows attorneys across the country to volunteer their time to people affected by COVID-19 and other disasters.

  • May 03, 2020

    Cops Sued For Forcing Sex Offenders To Appear Amid COVID-19

    Authorities in Fresno, California, are inflicting "cruel and unusual punishment" on registered sex offenders and violating the U.S. Constitution by requiring the individuals to appear in person for registration updates during the coronavirus pandemic, three offenders contend.

  • May 01, 2020

    Judge Troubled By 'Brazen' Acts Affecting Inmate/Atty Access

    The New York federal judge overseeing the mediation of a lawsuit brought by The Federal Defenders of New York against the Federal Bureau of Prisons over attorneys' access to clients in detention on Friday voiced concern over continued problems, including "brazen" conduct by prison guards who were reportedly listening in on an inmate's phone calls with lawyers.

  • April 26, 2020

    Virus Sparks Calls To Pump The Brakes On Debt Suits

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to envelop the country, some consumer advocates are calling for greater protections for debtors until the crisis abates, arguing that the economic crisis is negatively impacting the ability of Americans to not only pay their debts but also fight collection actions in court.

  • April 26, 2020

    UPenn Law Prof On How Public Health Policy Must Improve

    University of Pennsylvania law professor Eric Feldman says the novel coronavirus has revealed both the failures of international public health policy and the civil rights trade-offs of containing a pandemic in the U.S. and internationally.

  • April 26, 2020

    After Win, Those Fighting Divided Verdicts Eye Next Chapter

    A high court ruling last week that nonunanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases are unconstitutional could prove huge for defendants in two states who are challenging their convictions, though questions such as the ruling’s retroactive impact still need to be answered.

  • April 24, 2020

    NY Inmates Still Getting Burned On Atty Access, Judge Told

    An attorney for the Federal Defenders of New York on Friday told the Brooklyn federal judge overseeing a dispute over attorneys' contact with their incarcerated clients in New York federal jails that problems are persisting, including two cases of COVID-19 positive inmates who were being held in medical isolation without telephonic access to their attorneys or families.

  • April 22, 2020

    5th Circ. Denies Prosecutors Immunity In Fake Subpoena Suit

    The Fifth Circuit has ruled in a published opinion that a group of Louisiana prosecutors who attempted to use fake subpoenas to pressure witnesses and crime victims to answer questions are not entitled to the usual immunity that comes with the office when pursuing a criminal case.

  • April 19, 2020

    Homeless Angelenos Get Due Process Win Over City Seizures

    In January 2019, Janet Garcia returned from getting ready for work to find that all of her belongings had been seized and destroyed by the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation.

  • April 19, 2020

    Victims' Rights Suffer Blow In Epstein Case

    In the latest twist in the Jeffrey Epstein saga, a split Eleventh Circuit panel ruled last week that the protections of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act do not arise until after a formal criminal charge has been filed. For Epstein’s victims, it could mark the end of a 12-year-long legal challenge — and for the victims’ rights movement, it could be a lasting blow.

  • April 19, 2020

    Virus Forces Transparency Reckoning Among Highest Courts

    Since coronavirus concerns shuttered courthouses nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court and some appellate judges have given in to livestream technology. Transparency advocates welcome this development and hope the practice will continue even after the pandemic ends.

  • April 19, 2020

    Bail Bond Groups Can't Sink Calif. Price-Fixing Suit

    For those who turn to bail bonds in California, the cost of getting oneself or a loved one out of prison while awaiting a court date can be steep, but a proposed class action now poised to move forward contends there’s more to those rates than honest market forces.

  • April 19, 2020

    Amid Pandemic, Hearings For Detained Migrant Kids Go On

    As federal courts close their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, immigration court proceedings for migrant children in government custody are moving forward. Attorneys told Law360 that continuing these hearings risks children's health and threatens due process.

  • April 19, 2020

    O'Melveny Helps Reunite Family Amid COVID-19 Fears

    When three young siblings found themselves detained 50 miles from their father's home in Maryland, with the government moving to deport them rather than reunite the family, it was the latest hardship in a journey fraught with danger.

  • April 13, 2020

    Judge Demands Info From Officials In Miami Jail Virus Suit

    A Florida federal judge said Monday that the criminal justice system must face new realities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as she pressed Miami-Dade County for information she said will be essential in considering a proposed class action alleging inmates' constitutional rights are being violated by inadequate jail conditions.

  • April 12, 2020

    Vecina Founder On Helping Asylum-Seekers Remotely

    Lindsay Gray created Vecina to bring together pro bono attorneys and asylum-seekers. One of the organization’s key features — connecting attorneys with clients remotely — has taken on new importance in the age of COVID-19.

  • April 12, 2020

    'Not Our Best Days': The Fiscal Crisis Coming For Legal Aid

    Civil legal aid attorneys are scrambling to help low-income clients with problems like evictions and unemployment arising from COVID-19, but many of them worry the virus' economic effects are about to take a sizable bite out of their organizations' budgets.

Expert Analysis

  • Electronic Monitoring Technology Must Be Regulated

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    Based on my research into the electronic monitoring technologies that are increasingly becoming part of the criminal justice system, it is clear that they must be regulated, just as medical devices are, says Shubha Balasubramanyam of the Center for Court Innovation.

  • What You Should Know About Courtroom Closures

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    At attorney Greg Craig’s trial in D.C. federal court this week, the courtroom was cleared so prospective jurors could answer sensitive questions. Even seasoned litigators were left wondering about the nature of this subtle, yet significant, issue involving Sixth Amendment public trial rights, says Luke Cass at Quarles & Brady.

  • Addressing Health Care Liens In Sexual Assault Settlements

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    When litigating sexual assault cases that result in settlement, plaintiffs attorneys should thoroughly investigate how the plaintiff's medical bills were paid, and proactively prepare for insurers' potential health care liens, says Courtney Delaney of Epiq.

  • 2nd Circ.'s Approach To Bail Is Backward

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    The Second Circuit's decision in United States v. Boustani correctly identifies the dangers of a "two-tiered" bail system, but the proper solution is to make bail more accessible to everyone, not to fewer people, says Alexander Klein of Barket Epstein.

  • Death Penalty Return May Undermine Criminal Justice Reform

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    The last two years have been a watershed moment for bipartisan criminal justice reform, but with one swift edict — the July 25 announcement that federal executions will be reinstated after 16 years — the Trump administration risks throwing this forward momentum into reverse, says Laura Arnold of Arnold Ventures.

  • A High Court Win Will Not End Discriminatory Jury Selection

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    Although the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded Curtis Flowers' murder conviction in Flowers v. Mississippi, history may simply repeat itself once again unless the legal industry does more as a profession to combat discrimination and use ethics rules for their intended purpose, says Tyler Maulsby of Frankfurt Kurnit.

  • Secrecy Agreements And 1st Amendment: Finding A Balance

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    The divided decision by the Fourth Circuit issued earlier this month in Overbey v. Baltimore raises many concerning questions about the potential First Amendment implications of nondisparagement clauses in government settlement agreements, says Alan Morrison of George Washington University School of Law.

  • Risk Assessment Tools Are Not A Failed 'Minority Report'

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    Contrary to Wednesday's op-ed in the New York Times, which refers to pretrial risk assessment tools as "a real-world 'Minority Report'" that doesn't work, these tools and the promise they hold to improve judges’ and magistrates’ decision-making processes should not be dismissed simply because they aren’t yet perfect, say professors at North Carolina State University and Duke University.

  • Looted-Art Heirs May Find A Sympathetic Forum In NY Courts

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    The New York Appellate Division decision last week in Reif v. Nagy — in favor of the heirs in a Holocaust looted-art claim — is noteworthy because of the manner in which it rejected the defendant’s claim of laches, just a few weeks after the Second Circuit had dismissed a Holocaust looted-art claim on those very grounds, says Martin Bienstock of Bienstock.

  • Addressing Modern Slavery Inside And Outside The UK

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    As the problem of modern slavery persists, U.K. companies must take a broad approach when rooting out slave labor in their supply chains, and should not ignore the risk posed by suppliers within the U.K., says Maria Theodoulou of Stokoe.

  • High Court's Juror Exclusion Ruling Does Not Do Enough

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    In Flowers v. Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court extended the rhetoric that exclusion of even one juror based on race is unconstitutional, but without further guidance, the principle the court seeks to uphold will continue to falter, says Kate Margolis of Bradley Arant.

  • Artisanal Miners' Roadblocks To Justice: Is A Path Clearing?

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    Efforts to give small-scale gold miners, who face displacement, pollution and violence at sites around the world, access to fair and functioning justice systems have met with apathy from politicians and fierce resistance from powerful business lobbies, but there are signs that this may be changing, says Mark Pieth, president of the Basel Institute on Governance.

  • High Court Ruling Highlights Double Jeopardy Complications

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    Although the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Gamble does not change the application of the double jeopardy clause as interpreted by federal courts, the decision reinforces the significant impact of dual prosecutions and the risks for corporate and individual defendants, say Laurel Gift and Randall Hsia of Schnader Harrison.

  • High Court's 'Separate Sovereigns' Ruling Is Good For Tribes

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gamble v. U.S. — reaffirming the so-called separate sovereigns doctrine — preserves tribal prosecutors' autonomy and ability to respond promptly to offenses without worrying about the legal repercussions on federal prosecutions, say Steven Gordon and Philip Baker-Shenk of Holland & Knight.

  • Border Phone Search Questions Continue In Federal Court

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    A Massachusetts federal court's eventual decision on cellphone searches at the U.S. border in Alasaad v. Nielsen will further illustrate the differences in how federal courts apply the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Riley v. California to the warrant-requirement exception for border searches, says Sharon Barney at Leech Tishman.

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