Access to Justice

  • December 05, 2021

    Alston & Bird Help Toss Non-Unanimous Louisiana Conviction

    A Louisiana man spent nearly four decades in prison after a non-unanimous jury convicted him after 26-minute deliberations. When the Supreme Court ruled such verdicts were unconstitutional in 2019, Alston & Bird attorneys helped him get his conviction overturned.

  • December 05, 2021

    Biden's Inaction Keeps Justice Reform Group Sidelined

    President Joe Biden, almost one year in office, has yet to nominate new commissioners for the federal government's solo independent criminal justice agency — keeping a potentially key player in justice reform on the sidelines, according to legal experts.

  • December 05, 2021

    How Lawyers Are Mobilizing To Protect The Vote

    Law firm attorneys have come out in defense of voting rights like never before. Law360 takes a look at some of the cases they've gotten involved in.

  • December 03, 2021

    EOIR's Juvenile Stats Unusable, Immigration Data Center Says

    One of the country's most prominent data centers for collecting and analyzing immigration statistics will no longer track the number of minors with cases before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, saying the agency's data has too many deficiencies.

  • December 03, 2021

    Gerrymandering Suits Pile Up As States Finalize New Maps

    The decennial redrawing of congressional and legislative boundaries has all the signs of engendering a decade full of court battles that could help determine which party controls the House of Representatives and various statehouses, as well as how fairly represented certain communities may be in their respective states.

  • December 01, 2021

    Courts' COVID-Fueled Tech May Hinder Those Without Attys

    While courts' rapid adoption of new technology helped keep the civil legal system functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic, those tools sometimes made courts harder to navigate for those without attorneys, according to a study released Wednesday.

  • November 14, 2021

    COVID-19's Impact On Businesses Fuels ADA Reform Debate

    As business owners nationwide struggle to weather the pandemic, thousands have been hit with lawsuits alleging failure to comply with the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, prompting renewed calls for reforms to protect inadvertently noncompliant business owners from litigation.

  • November 14, 2021

    Military's Handling Of Sex Crimes Failed Victims, Report Finds

    The U.S. armed services failed to consistently assign certified lead investigators and special prosecutors to sexual assault and domestic violence cases for two years, according to a recent watchdog report released at a time when lawmakers are pushing to make significant changes to the military justice system.

  • November 14, 2021

    Competing Bills Seek To Decriminalize Sex Work In NY

    In New York, selling or buying sex is illegal. That might change in the near future. Two separate bills currently making their way through the state Legislature — the Stop the Violence in the Sex Trades Act and the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act — aim to decriminalize sex work, although with significant differences.

  • November 12, 2021

    NY Appellate Court Sets New Family Trial, Fees Standards

    A New York state appellate court set new precedents Tuesday with an opinion that is meant to cut down lengthy delays in family court and ensure low-income plaintiffs are provided early relief through attorney fees.

  • November 12, 2021

    NY To Curb Rent Relief Application Process As Funds Dwindle

    New York's pandemic rental assistance program will stop considering new applications across much of the state on Sunday night, a state agency said Friday, as it requests nearly $1 billion in additional federal funding to cover coronavirus arrears.

  • November 12, 2021

    O'Melveny Pro Bono Aid Helps Maintain Calif. Execution Ban

    By drilling down into the issue of standing, a team with O'Melveny & Myers LLP recently beat back a challenge to Gov. Gavin Newsom's moratorium on executions in the Golden State.

  • October 29, 2021

    Why State High Courts Unlikely To Act As Independent Force

    A new book from political scientists James Gibson and Michael Nelson says that state supreme courts largely reflect the dominant political coalitions of their states and are unlikely to serve as an independent force in matters around inequality. Here, the authors tell Law360 why state supreme courts deserve more attention and what questions are left unanswered by their research.

  • October 31, 2021

    What To Know About The Proposed Green Amendment In NY

    When New Yorkers head to the polls Tuesday, they will have a chance to add "a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment" to the state constitution. If approved, the amendment would provide New Yorkers with an additional legal tool to protect their communities.

  • October 31, 2021

    Varnum Attorneys Keep Disabled US Army Vet In Her Home

    A Varnum LLP team led by commercial litigator William Thompson helped a disabled U.S. Army veteran stay in her Michigan home after she was sued by a construction company for refusing to pay for dubious renovations.

  • October 29, 2021

    Tech Could Lead To Better Courtrooms And Improved Access

    Technology has helped keep the legal industry afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It also allowed Judge Jeanne Robison to hop in a kayak to serve justice.

  • October 29, 2021

    Garland To Reopen DOJ Office For Access To Justice

    The U.S. Department of Justice is reopening its Office for Access to Justice, which previously operated for eight years before being shuttered by the Trump administration, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday.

  • October 25, 2021

    NYC Court 'Scraps' Foreclosure Hearings Amid Scrutiny

    A Brooklyn judge's plan to delve into homeowners' financial hardship during the pandemic has been "scrapped," according to the state's Office of Court Administration, as legal service providers continue to challenge him in court.

  • October 22, 2021

    'Threatening' NYC Foreclosure Hearing Notice Prompts Outcry

    A notice directing certain homeowners facing foreclosure to appear before an administrative judge in Brooklyn with financial documents in hand has prompted outcry from legal service providers who say the "threatening" notice disregards state law.

  • October 18, 2021

    Supreme Court Bolsters Police Immunity In Face Of Criticism

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday granted qualified immunity to several police officers accused of civil rights violations, indicating that despite growing criticism, the qualified immunity doctrine is here to stay, an expert said.

  • October 17, 2021

    Wilson Sonsini Scores Win In Paramilitary Assassination Case

    Over two decades after a paramilitary group killed a local community leader in Colombia, attorneys with Wilson Sonsini and the Center for Justice & Accountability secured a "measure of justice" for the victim: a landmark ruling holding a paramilitary leader liable for his death. It was the first time a U.S. court acknowledged the support of the Colombian government for paramilitary groups that carried out human rights violations.

  • October 17, 2021

    Class Suit Involving NYPD Use Of Sealed Info Heats Up

    The New York Police Department has for decades used sealed arrest information — mugshots, arrest history, fingerprints and other identifying information — in active investigations. Public defenders and criminal defense attorneys have for just as long claimed that practice violates state law. A class action could now settle the matter.

  • October 17, 2021

    Low Pay A Deterrent To Would-Be Public Defenders

    The average starting salary attorneys can expect from public defender work remains low nationwide, according to new data, with experts noting that the lack of pay parity with competing law agencies and mounting law school student loan debt make the job a tough sell to new attorneys.

  • October 15, 2021

    Prosecutors Warn Calif. Court Order Is 'Dangerous Precedent'

    More than 70 current and former elected prosecutors on Friday urged a California appellate court to overturn a trial court's decision declining to allow the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office to withdraw previously requested sentencing enhancements, saying the ruling sets a "dangerous precedent."

  • October 12, 2021

    No Innocence Required In Suits Against Cops, Justices Told

    A former criminal defendant told the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday he has the right to sue his arresting officers for an alleged Fourth Amendment violation under a federal civil rights statute without first having to prove his innocence in his underlying case.

Expert Analysis

  • Addressing Prison Risk After CARES Act Home Confinement

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    Home confinement eligibility, which was expanded last year due to high rates of COVID-19 in penal institutions, may soon be tightened, so house-detained individuals at risk of returning to prison should understand their various avenues for relief, as well as the procedural obstacles they may face in mounting legal challenges, say Charles Burnham and Jonathan Knowles at Burnham & Gorokhov.

  • We Must Help Fix Justice Gap In Georgia's Legal Deserts

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    In much of rural Georgia, there are too few lawyers to meet residents’ urgent legal needs, forcing self-represented litigants to navigate an impenetrable system, but courts, law firms and nonlawyers can help address these legal deserts in various ways, says Lauren Sudeall at Georgia State University College of Law.

  • Reimagining Courthouse Design For Better Access To Justice

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    While courthouse design has historically been driven by tradition, it is time to shift from the classical courthouse to spaces that are accessible to those with mobility challenges, serve the needs of vulnerable litigants, and accommodate pandemic-era shifts toward remote and hybrid proceedings, says architect Clair Colburn at Finegold Alexander.

  • Why Law Schools Should Require Justice Reform Curriculum

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    Criminal defense attorney Donna Mulvihill Fehrmann argues that law schools have an obligation to address widespread racial and economic disparities in the U.S. legal system by mandating first-year coursework on criminal justice reform that educates on prosecutorial misconduct, wrongful convictions, defense 101 and more.

  • Attorneys, Fight For Enviro Justice With Both Law And Protest

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    In this moment of climate crisis, lawyers can and should use law and protest in tandem — from urging law firms to stop serving the fossil fuel industry to helping draft laws that accelerate the transition to a sustainable way of life, says Vivek Maru at Namati.

  • One-Subject Rule Strategy Can Defeat Dangerous State Laws

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    Attorneys at Ulmer & Berne explain how single-subject rule violation claims can thwart certain unconstitutional or controversial state statutes and protect civil rights in the face of state governments under one-party rule.

  • States Must Rethink Wrongful Conviction Compensation Laws

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    States, counties and municipalities have now paid over $3 billion in judgments or settlements to exonerees, while policymakers lack comprehensive data on official misconduct and financial costs — but rethinking state compensation statutes can curb the policies and practices that cause wrongful convictions in the first place, says Jeffrey Gutman at George Washington University.

  • Police And Voting Reform Need Federal Remedy, Not Takeover

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    The debate over what level of government should hold sway is central to today's impasse over voting rights and police reform legislation, but anchoring the conversation in the U.S. Constitution can create the common ground of tailored federal remediation that also preserves traditional state and local functions, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • 8th Circ. Ruling Further Narrows Qualified Immunity

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    The recent Eighth Circuit ruling in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA v. University of Iowa seems to align with a growing body of case law suggesting that government officials may have a harder time obtaining qualified immunity for their actions if they involve calculated choices to enforce unconstitutional policies, says Thomas Eastmond at Holland & Knight.

  • 6 Ways To Improve Veterans' Access To Civil Legal Aid

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    Veterans often lack adequate help when confronting civil legal issues such as evictions, foreclosures and child custody disputes, so legal aid organizations should collaborate with veteran-serving programs and state and local governments to offer former military members better access to legal resources, say Ronald Flagg at Legal Services Corp. and Isabelle Ord at DLA Piper.

  • Better Civil Legal Resources Are Key To Justice For All

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    Fulfilling the promise of equal justice requires disruptive change to the civil legal system, where millions of Americans lack adequate resources and information — and attorneys have many opportunities to help their states build the tools necessary to navigate civil disputes, say retired California Judge Laurie Zelon and Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

  • User Feedback Is Key To Running Virtual Diversion Programs

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    Judicially led diversion programs have adapted to the COVID-19 era by providing services online, but recent research points to a disconnect between practitioner and participant perspectives, showing that soliciting user input is crucial to success, says Tara Kunkel at Rulo Strategies. 

  • Justices Must Reject Police Shield Against Civil Rights Claims

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    The Institute for Justice’s Marie Miller lays out four reasons why, in deciding Thompson v. Clark, the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse an arcane circuit court rule that abandons the foundational presumption of innocence principle and ultimately provides a shield for police and other government officers who violate constitutional rights.

  • 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.

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