Access to Justice

  • March 29, 2023

    Justices Eye Fix To Co-Defendant Confession Rule

    Some U.S. Supreme Court justices suggested Wednesday that courts should consider a trial's broader context when deciding whether jurors can see a co-defendant's redacted confession, suggesting a bright-line approach leads to nonsensical results.

  • March 28, 2023

    Justices Doubtful On Tying Judges' Hands In Gun Sentencing

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared skeptical about the government's view that criminal defendants convicted under a particular provision of the federal firearms statute must receive consecutive sentences when also convicted of other crimes.

  • 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

    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

    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

    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.

  • February 03, 2023

    House Task Force Aims To Help Ex-Cons Thrive After Prison

    More than two dozen members of Congress have banded together to create a new bipartisan task force focused on aiding former inmates' reentry into society.

  • February 03, 2023

    Md. Court Watchers Push For Permanent Remote Access

    Singer-songwriter Fiona Apple added another skill to her repertoire during the pandemic by becoming a citizen court-watcher, remotely observing hearings in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, and now she is part of a coalition advocating for a bill that would make it easier for the public to access court proceedings.

Expert Analysis

  • Eviction Cases Need Tiered Legal Help, Not Unlimited Counsel

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    The concept of right to counsel in civil cases, particularly in the context of evictions, is hotly debated, but rather than giving every tenant full representation regardless of the merits of their case, we should be focused on ensuring that everyone has the right amount of legal help, says Bob Glaves at the Chicago Bar Foundation.

  • US Self-Defense Law Is Neither Overly Harsh Nor Disappearing

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    The inaccurate caricatures of U.S. self-defense law distract us from engaging in a more fully informed debate about the appropriate role of, and justification for, self-defense in a modern, pluralistic society, says Markus Funk at Perkins Coie.

  • High Court Death Penalty Ruling Presents A Troubling Future

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    While the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Cruz v. Arizona — which said the Arizona high court misinterpreted state criminal procedure and warranted federal review was — came as a pleasant surprise in its prioritization of due process, the 5-4 ruling also portends poorly for the future with a low bar in death penalty cases, says Christopher Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • What Landmark Ruling Means For Civil Rights Suits In Nevada

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    The Nevada Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Mack v. Williams ends the use of qualified immunity in the state, and though the defense will likely be revived by the Legislature, the decision provides a framework for litigants to hold state actors accountable for violations of state constitutional protections, says Austin Barnum at Clark Hill.

  • We Can Ensure Public Safety And Still Reduce Incarceration

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    Recent progress toward reducing jail and prison populations remains fragile as tough-on-crime policies reemerge, but American history shows that we don’t have to choose between less violence and lower incarceration rates — we can have both, says Jeffrey Bellin at William & Mary Law School.

  • War On Drugs Is Cautionary Tale For Abortion Prosecution

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    As state abortion bans proliferate, prosecutors have an obligation to learn from the devastating lessons of the war on drugs — which disproportionately affected communities of color — and vow not to prosecute individuals’ reproductive health care-related decisions, says Dekalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston.

  • The Most-Read Access To Justice Law360 Guest Articles Of 2022

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    Law360 guest experts weighed in on a broad slate of emerging access to justice issues last year, ranging from evidence of ineffective counsel to opportunities for nonlawyers to provide legal help and the presumption of innocence.

  • Understanding Illinois' First-Of-Its-Kind Law Nixing Cash Bail

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    A new law taking effect Jan. 1 that makes Illinois the first state to eliminate cash bail has been amended to correct some of the many concerns of those who opposed the original, flawed piece of legislation that was rushed through, and will make sweeping changes to how criminal justice operates in Illinois, say Joe Tabor and Perry Zhao at the Illinois Policy Institute.

  • Defense Attorneys Can Help Limit Electronic Monitor Overuse

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    Though electronic monitoring is increasingly promoted as an alternative to incarceration for people awaiting trial, on probation or parole, or undergoing immigration proceedings, its effectiveness is unsupported by evidence and it results in clear harms, so defense attorneys should consider several strategies to challenge its overuse, say experts at the ACLU.

  • DOJ Can't Justify Its Failure To Get Data On Deaths In Custody

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    The U.S. Department of Justice incorrectly claims that a law requiring it to collect meaningful data on how many people die in government custody has somehow limited its ability to do just that — and every failure to study these deaths is a missed opportunity to prevent others, says David Janovsky at the Project On Government Oversight.

  • How Civilian Attorneys Can Help Veterans

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    With legal aid topping the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' annual list of unmet needs of veterans facing housing insecurity, nonmilitary volunteer attorneys can provide some of the most effective legal services to military and veteran clients, say Anna Richardson at Veterans Legal Services and Nicholas Hasenfus at Holland & Knight.

  • Prison Abuse Victims May Get Justice In NY Look-Back Term

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    As New York opens a one-year window for survivors of adulthood sexual abuse to bring otherwise time-barred claims, incarcerated individuals who were abused by prison staff have an opportunity to seek redress, and can rely on a recent federal court decision to assess potential remedies, says Jaehyun Oh at the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm.

  • As 4th Circ. Reminds, Carrying Cash Is Not A Crime

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    The Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in U.S. v. McClellan makes clear that unwillingness or inability to use a bank account does not necessarily make someone a criminal, and that the government needs evidence of wrongdoing before seizing and keeping assets, say Robert Johnson and Caroline Grace Brothers at Institute for Justice.

  • Algorithms Have Potential To Reduce Sentencing Disparities

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    Criminal legal system algorithms have mostly been used to assess the risk posed by defendants in settings like pretrial release, bail determinations, sentencing and parole supervision, but predictable modeling can also be used to reduce sentencing disparities and overly punitive outcomes, say ACLU researchers and collaborators.

  • 2 Legislative Reforms Would Address Many Immigration Woes

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    Congress should pass currently pending legislation to create an Article I immigration court and update the registry process — reforms that would shield immigration courts from political pressure, enable many longtime residents to cure their immigration status, and alleviate case backlogs, says retired immigration judge Dana Leigh Marks.

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