Access to Justice

  • June 16, 2021

    Ex-Orrick Atty Now 'Supreme Court Director' At Georgetown

    Georgetown Law's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection has named former Orrick partner Kelsi Brown Corkran as its first U.S. Supreme Court director, a role in which she will manage the group's litigation strategy for civil rights and criminal justice in the nation's top court.

  • June 14, 2021

    Justices Say Appeals Courts Can Look Outside Trial Record

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that an appeals court reviewing a case for plain error based on an intervening high court decision can reach outside the trial record and look to the entire record in a case.

  • June 10, 2021

    Justices Say Intent Matters For Crimes To Trigger ACCA

    The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that reckless criminal conduct doesn't qualify as a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act, a federal law that mandates longer sentences for firearms possession convictions if a person has previously been convicted of three violent crimes.

  • June 06, 2021

    Hogan Lovells Helps Falsely Sentenced Men Win $75M

    Hogan Lovells partner E. Desmond "Des" Hogan recently led a team that helped two North Carolina men, who suffered trauma after their 1983 wrongful conviction, win historic restitution. Here, he and his colleague discuss the long legal road that led to the $75 million award.

  • June 04, 2021

    How NY Cannabis Law Could Redefine Policing

    Before March 31, this was a common scenario in New York's poorer neighborhoods: Police officers approach a group of young men, one says he smells marijuana, so he and his colleagues frisk everybody present. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act has upended that scenario completely.

  • June 06, 2021

    Court Rulings Could Chill Video Recording Of Police

    Video of George Floyd's death led to nationwide protests and the conviction of a police officer for his murder, but free speech experts worry that two recent court decisions could mean that no one records the next George Floyd — or that they may end up in jail if they do.

  • June 04, 2021

    Policy Swap Bungles Tool For NYC Renters Suing For Repairs

    New York City courts have reinstated pre-pandemic policies that are upending a website that thousands of unrepresented tenants have used to sue for apartment repairs since the coronavirus forced matters online, according to the nonprofit that developed the site.

  • May 27, 2021

    After 'Dragging Their Feet,' Bronx DA To Drop Pot Charges

    The Bronx district attorney's office recently came under fire for not dismissing open low-level marijuana cases tied to behaviors that are no longer illegal, but a tentative deal is in the works that could see the prosecutor's office start dropping cases, sources told Law360 on Thursday.

  • May 17, 2021

    Justices Limit New Trials For Non-Unanimous Convictions

    The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that defendants whose appeals have run out cannot take advantage of last term's ruling that convictions by non-unanimous juries are unconstitutional, denying automatic new trials for potentially thousands of prisoners in Louisiana and Oregon convicted under what the justices said were racist schemes.

  • May 16, 2021

    Ariz. U's Butler On Tackling Medical Debt Without Lawyers

    Stacy Butler can list several numbers tied to the legal troubles Americans face each year because of their medical debt. Here, the director of University of Arizona’s Innovation for Justice program discusses why the innovation lab decided to focus on the issue with pilot projects in Utah.

  • May 16, 2021

    For Justice Tech Entrepreneurs, It's Deeply Personal

    Justice tech is often fueled by entrepreneurs with personal experiences shaped by the legal system, but capital funding can be lacking.

  • May 16, 2021

    Sheppard Mullin Helps Secure Win For Voters With Disabilities

    Virginia election officials have agreed to provide electronic absentee ballots to people with visual impairments during June’s primaries, marking the latest triumph for a Sheppard Mullin partner supporting legal efforts to expand voting rights for Americans with disabilities.

  • May 16, 2021

    Resentencing Laws To Cut Terms Gain Momentum Across US

    More lawmakers and prosecutors are considering resentencing laws to decrease mass incarceration and address the over imprisonment of people of color, recognizing that extremely long sentences don't deter crime and disproportionately target minorities, according to a recent report.

  • May 14, 2021

    Conn. Lawmaker Vows Late-Session Push On 'Clean Slate' Bill

    A Connecticut lawmaker told advocates that a bill allowing for some convictions to be erased from criminal records will soon be raised in the state Senate with less than a month left of the current legislative session to go.

  • May 13, 2021

    Chauvin Prosecutor On Fighting For A Guilty Verdict

    Jerry Blackwell describes himself as "the oddest duck" on the prosecution team that won the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last month for the murder of George Floyd. Here, Blackwell speaks with Law360 about navigating the larger significance of the case and his strategy at trial.

  • May 07, 2021

    Chauvin, Ex-Officers Face Civil Rights Charges Over Floyd

    A Minnesota federal grand jury has indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers with civil rights violations for their lethal arrest of George Floyd, which sparked a nationwide racial justice movement, according to documents unsealed Friday.

  • May 04, 2021

    Justices Press DOJ Over 180 In Crack Case

    The Biden administration's 180-degree turn in a case about crack sentencing disparities appears to have caught several U.S. Supreme Court justices off guard, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett pressing a government attorney during oral arguments Tuesday to explain the Department of Justice's process for changing positions.

  • May 02, 2021

    State Lawmakers Tackle Qualified Immunity Defense

    New Mexico is the latest state to enact legislation seeking to curtail a judicial doctrine that many say has effectively barred police officers from facing liability for many types of constitutional violations. The move signals a state-led front in a growing movement.

  • May 02, 2021

    Jones Marks Shift In High Court's Juvenile Justice Rulings

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that juveniles convicted of murder can be sentenced to life in prison without parole without being found "permanently incorrigible" is a marked reversal for the justices, who had been limiting harsher penalties for minors in recent years, attorneys say.

  • May 02, 2021

    The Vera Institute's Jamila Hodge On Reshaping Prosecution

    People working to end anti-Black racism in the United States' criminal justice system recognize that the struggle does not end with addressing officers' use of force. For Jamila "Jami" Hodge, it also requires tackling prosecutorial biases in tandem with both the government and the Black and brown communities most devastated by state violence.

  • May 02, 2021

    Advocates Decry Prosecution Of Refugees In Greece

    The prosecution of a refugee father over his son’s death on their journey to Europe is part of a larger effort to criminalize migration in the area, which is raising alarms for human rights groups.

  • April 27, 2021

    Justices Question Broadening Reentry Paths For Deportees

    Several U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday seemed opposed to widening the path to reentry for immigrants who were previously deported for a crime that would no longer merit deportation.

  • April 22, 2021

    Justices Refuse To Limit Life Sentences For Minors

    Juveniles convicted of murder can be sentenced to life in prison without parole without being found to be "permanently incorrigible" by a judge, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

  • April 20, 2021

    Chauvin Convicted Of All Charges In Floyd Slaying

    After less than 12 hours of deliberation, a Minnesota state jury on Tuesday found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd.

  • April 20, 2021

    Justices Mull If Appeals Courts Can Look Outside Trial Record

    The U.S. Supreme Court appeared unconvinced on Tuesday that an appeals court reviewing a case for plain error based on an intervening high court decision should not be allowed to reach outside the trial record.

Expert Analysis

  • NY Courts Should Protect Housing Rights Of All Tenants

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    New York courts should adopt a construction of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act that expands on the rights of tenants without a traditional landlord-tenant relationship, in order to not only promote justice, but also adhere to the law as written, say law student Giannina Crosby, and professors Sateesh Nori and Julia McNally, at NYU Law.

  • Legally Recognizing Coercive Control Can Help Abuse Victims

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    The ongoing expansion of state laws to establish coercive control as a form of domestic violence will encourage victims to seek help, and require law enforcement and the judiciary to learn about the complexities surrounding emotional abuse, say attorneys Allison Mahoney and Lindsay Lieberman.

  • High Court Gun Case Has Implications For Police Violence

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    A U.S. Supreme Court decision to weaken gun regulations in the pending New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett could mix with the court's existing precedents regarding police use of force to form a particularly lethal cocktail for police violence against Black people, says Christopher Wright Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • Justices' Life Sentence Ruling Is A Step Back For Youth Rights

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's recent refusal to limit juvenile life-without-parole sentences in Jones v. Mississippi is a break from a line of cases that cut back on harsh punishments for children and reflects a court that is comfortable with casual treatment of minors' constitutional rights, says Brandon Garrett at Duke University School of Law.

  • States Must Factor Race In COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization

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    In order to ensure equity and efficiency in controlling the pandemic, states should use race as a factor in vaccine prioritization — and U.S. Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action and racial integration offers some guidance on how such policies might hold up in court, say law professors Maya Manian and Seema Mohapatra.

  • Chauvin May Walk, But Calls For Police Reform Must Continue

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    As the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd nears closing arguments, the prosecution still faces an uphill battle, but what sets this case apart is its potential to change the discourse on racial justice and policing, says Christopher Brown at The Brown Firm.

  • A Criminal Justice Reform Premise That Is Statistically Flawed

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    Underlying calls for defunding the police and numerous other proposals for criminal justice reform is the belief that generally reducing adverse outcomes will tend to reduce racial disparities, but statistical analysis shows the opposite is true, says attorney James Scanlan.

  • Improving Protections For Immigrant Domestic Abuse Victims

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    With the slow crawl of federal immigration reform, people vulnerable to immigration status threats from domestic abusers continue to feel the effects of hostile Trump administration policies, but 2019 amendments to the D.C. blackmail statute reveal the ways state laws can provide more effective relief, say Ashley Carter and Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

  • Tougher Petition Drive Laws Would Constrict Key Citizen Right

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    Several states' proposed revisions to petition drive rules would make ballot initiatives harder to pass and rein in citizens' right to enact important policy changes, says Melanie Wilson Rughani at Crowe & Dunlevy.

  • Garland Alone Cannot Transform Our Criminal Legal System

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    Attorney general nominee Merrick Garland is an encouraging choice for criminal justice reform advocates, but the work of transforming our racially fraught institutions falls largely on prosecutors and defenders, say former prosecutor Derick Dailey, now at Davis & Gilbert, and public defender Brandon Ruben.

  • DOJ Charging Memo Rescission Aids Prosecutorial Discretion

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    The U.S. Department of Justice's recent rescission of a 2017 memo that required prosecutors to charge federal defendants with the offenses that would carry the most severe penalties should be welcomed by prosecutors associations as supporting prosecutorial discretion, even when the new policy may lead to leniency, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • A Critical Step Toward Eliminating Profit Motive From Prisons

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    President Joe Biden's recent executive order to phase out the federal government's use of private prisons is a welcome start to what needs to be a broad reform of the prison system — where profit-based incentives to incarcerate run deep, says Jeffrey Bornstein at Rosen Bien.

  • Judges On Race

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    On the heels of nationwide calls to address systemic racism and inequality, five sitting state and federal judges shed light on the disparities that exist in the justice system and how to guard against bias in this series of Law360 guest articles.

  • Judges On Race: Lack Of Data Deters Criminal Justice Reform

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    Many state courts' failure to gather basic data on sentencing and other important criminal justice metrics frustrates efforts to keep checks on judges’ implicit biases and reduce racial disparities, say Justice Michael Donnelly at the Ohio Supreme Court and Judge Pierre Bergeron at the Ohio First District Court of Appeals.

  • Judges On Race: The Power Of Discretion In Criminal Justice

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    Judges should take into consideration the several points of law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion — from traffic stops to charging decisions and sentencing recommendations — that often lead to race-based disparate treatment before a criminal defendant even reaches the courthouse, say Judge Juan Villaseñor and Laurel Quinto at Colorado's Eighth Judicial District Court.

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