Access to Justice

  • August 23, 2020

    Top NJ Court Handcuffs Police Oversight Board's Powers

    New Jersey's highest court has defanged the powers of a civilian board meant to oversee police actions in the state's largest city, barring it from investigating alleged police misconduct at the same time that internal investigators are probing a matter.

  • August 23, 2020

    3 Death Penalty Cases Knocking On The High Court's Door

    A trio of petitions served up to the U.S. Supreme Court this month take aim at three distinct elements of the capital punishment process: conviction, sentencing and the execution itself.

  • August 23, 2020

    Liyah Brown On The Push For Radical Reform In Texas

    Since starting as legal director of the Texas Civil Rights Project's Criminal Injustice Reform division in March, Liyah Brown has been leading the organization's effort to combat racism in the state's criminal justice system and pursue systemic change in policing, incarceration, the money bail system and more.

  • August 21, 2020

    Arbitration Could Resolve 'Disaster' Of Human Rights At Sea

    Could international arbitration provide a way for victims of human rights abuses at sea to finally seek redress after years of falling under the radar? A new initiative is betting that the answer to that question is yes.

  • August 18, 2020

    Why Trump's Sentencing Panel Picks Worry Reform Boosters

    President Donald Trump has tapped five people for the influential commission that sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, but advocates for change on both the left and right are calling the slate "antithetical to reform" and urging senators not to confirm the picks.

  • August 16, 2020

    Paul Weiss Wins Housing Changes For Disabled NYC Tenants

    Advocating for a mobility-impaired veteran's access to his New York City Housing Authority apartment building, a team of lawyers recently secured a victory for the 63-year-old tenant that has lasting implications for other similarly situated residents.

  • August 16, 2020

    Virus Lights Fire Under Eviction Right To Counsel Movement

    The ongoing pandemic has put new urgency behind a nascent movement pushing to give tenants facing eviction a right to counsel, advocates say.

  • August 16, 2020

    Public Defender System In Nevada Poised For Reforms

    Attorneys at O'Melveny & Myers LLP helped the ACLU secure an agreement they hope will would result in real change for low-income defendants in Nevada seeking access to meaningful legal representation.

  • August 14, 2020

    Masks, Cleaning Rules Vary As Immigration Courts Reopen

    Immigration lawyer Eileen Blessinger gave her client, an asylum-seeker with severe past trauma, a homemade mask with green clovers on it to wear during his immigration court hearing on Tuesday, to give him the "luck of the Irish," she said.

  • August 14, 2020

    Utah High Court OKs Experiment To Test New Law Models

    Utah will try out new law practice business models that allow for more participation by nonlawyers after the state Supreme Court unanimously OK'd a standing order that goes into effect Friday authorizing a pilot program aimed at improving access to justice in the state.

  • August 09, 2020

    When Can A Juror Say Black Lives Matter?

    When she showed up for jury duty, prosecutors asked Crishala Reed about her support of Black Lives Matter and, in doing so, teed up a new legal fight in California over how race is being used to reject jurors.

  • August 09, 2020

    High Court Clash Shines Light On Virus's Threat To Prisoners

    A U.S. Supreme Court decision that frees a California jail from implementing stricter health measures amid the coronavirus pandemic comes as advocates and health experts warn that such facilities are a "powder keg" for COVID-19 and that authorities must do more to prevent outbreaks.

  • August 09, 2020

    Legal Helpers In Tribal Lands Work To Adapt As Virus Lingers

    The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated how attorneys everywhere serve their clients. For lawyers who serve older Native Americans in rural parts of Oklahoma, that has meant getting creative to safely continue their work.

  • August 09, 2020

    Janai Nelson On Racial Justice Work In The 2020s

    As associate director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Janai Nelson helps to oversee operations and steer the strategic vision of the 80-year-old civil rights organization, whose work she says is more important now than ever.

  • August 09, 2020

    Amid Calls For Police Scrutiny, Cities Look To Law Firms

    A series of high-profile officer-involved killings has thrown a spotlight on police oversight. As the federal government steps back from providing departments with road maps for reform, a number of cities are hiring private attorneys to do the job, which some say could help lend credibility to findings and diffuse political tension.

  • August 07, 2020

    Ohio Court Upholds $50M Verdict In Police Brutality Case

    An Ohio appeals court on Thursday upheld a $50 million jury verdict in favor of a man who said he was detained without probable cause, beaten and kept in a storage closet for four days by East Cleveland police.

  • August 07, 2020

    NY Courts Say Eviction Pause Continues, For Now

    The New York Office of Court Administration on Friday said that a pause on evictions and most related proceedings remains in place, perpetuating an uneasy status quo for tenants, landlords and their attorneys.

  • August 05, 2020

    Judge Blasts Qualified Immunity As He Reluctantly Grants It 

    A Mississippi federal judge has begrudgingly granted qualified immunity to a police officer accused of violating a Black motorist's civil rights during a traffic stop, saying the U.S. Supreme Court should reconsider the legal doctrine that serves as de facto absolute immunity for law enforcement.

  • July 31, 2020

    Judges Warn Partisan Attacks Undercut Their Independence

    Recent political attacks that have destabilized the Polish judiciary and democracy serve as a warning as the U.S. grapples with an uptick in partisan attacks that also threaten to undermine judicial independence, according to jurists on an American Bar Association panel.

  • July 31, 2020

    COVID-19 Threatens To Worsen US Legal Deserts

    Nearly half of the United States' counties have fewer than one attorney for every resident and the coronavirus pandemic threatens to intensify the rural area-centered problem of "legal deserts," according to panelists at a recent American Bar Association conference.

  • July 31, 2020

    Pa. Bail Reformers Look For Hope After High Court Loss

    A yearlong investigation into allegations of excessive bail practices by Philadelphia arraignment judges ended with a whimper last week as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected calls for wholesale reform, but advocates say they hope a series of recommendations will help protect criminal defendants from being jailed simply because they're poor.

  • July 31, 2020

    Sidley Austin Secures Ariz. Death Penalty Reforms

    The execution of Joseph Woods went terribly wrong, lasting nearly two hours and prompting officials to turn off the audio feed for observers. Sidley Austin's recent court win should help prevent a repeat scenario in Arizona.

  • July 31, 2020

    BigLaw Brings Brawn To Racial Justice Protest Suits

    Perkins Coie, Gibson Dunn and other BigLaw firms have jumped into racial justice battles in recent weeks, backing organizations and individuals who assert the Trump administration and local authorities are violating the U.S. Constitution in their response to protests over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • July 30, 2020

    Nonprofits Pushing For Family Release Can't Join Flores Case

    A California federal judge on Wednesday thwarted nonprofits' attempt to join a long-running class action defending the rights of detained migrant children, finding that the children's current attorney has offered "more than adequate representation" despite the nonprofits' claims.

  • July 28, 2020

    DOI Opens Cold Case Office For Murdered Native Americans

    The first of seven offices focused on solving cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives recently opened in Minnesota during a visit by Ivanka Trump to promote a newly established presidential task force that targets the crisis.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • 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.

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