Access to Justice

  • July 25, 2021

    Advocates Frustrated By Biden's Silence On Justice Reform

    President Joe Biden has been mostly silent on criminal justice reform during his first six months in office, frustrating advocates for ending mass incarceration and mandatory minimum sentencing. Here, Law360 examines Biden’s progress on his justice reform campaign promises.

  • July 25, 2021

    Desire For Social Justice Fuels Young Attys' Career Paths

    Morgan Humphrey has worked in various capacities at the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, Drug Policy Alliance in Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union — and she only just graduated from Rutgers Law School this year.

  • July 25, 2021

    Stroock Pro Bono Head On Firms Confronting Legal Aid Crisis

    Kerry Cooperman, the new director of Stroock's Public Service Project, speaks with Law360 about how the legal industry's pro bono practices responded to COVID-19, as well as the initiatives his firm is focusing on in 2021.

  • July 20, 2021

    State AGs Call For Bipartisan Support For Legal Aid Funding

    Government agencies and legal providers must join forces across state and party lines to expand legal services across the U.S. amid the pandemic and other overlapping crises, five bipartisan state attorneys general said at a Tuesday access to justice forum hosted by the Legal Services Corporation.

  • July 19, 2021

    Congress Revives Push To Codify DOJ Access To Justice Unit

    A powerful, bipartisan group in Congress is reviving a proposal to permanently restore the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Access To Justice, in a bid to codify the unit dedicated to legal representation for the poor that was shuttered by the Trump administration.

  • July 11, 2021

    US Attorneys Prosecute Small Slice Of Hate Crime Probes

    U.S. attorneys led federal investigations of over 1,800 hate crime suspects between October 2004 and September 2019; however, they ultimately declined to prosecute the vast majority of them, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

  • July 11, 2021

    Immigrants Find Hurdles, Not Protection In Pot Legalization

    As marijuana legalization gains ground in the U.S., people in some states can now carry up to 3 ounces of marijuana, grow it at home, open cannabis businesses and see old convictions expunged. Immigrants across the nation, however, are being left out.

  • July 11, 2021

    New Wave Of Prosecutors Push For Resentencing Laws

    Washington county prosecutor Dan Satterberg knew when his state passed its three-strikes law in 1993 that the law's mandated life without parole sentences would one day need to be undone. Satterberg is now part of a movement of prosecutors pushing for new resentencing laws across the country.

  • July 11, 2021

    UC Irvine Profs Talk 'Rap On Trial,' Criminalization Of Black Art

    University of California, Irvine, professors Charis E. Kubrin and Jack I. Lerner recently published "Rap on Trial: A Legal Guide for Attorneys" for lawyers encountering the evidentiary use of rap lyrics in criminal prosecutions. Here, the authors speak to Law360 about the guide's creation, why rap gets treated differently than other genres, and the future of "Rap on Trial."

  • June 28, 2021

    Justices Nix Immunity For Cops Accused Of Suffocating Man

    The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that an appeals court was too quick to award immunity to police officers who allegedly suffocated a suspect to death through the use of a lengthy "prone restraint," a win for police misconduct plaintiffs in the wake of George Floyd's killing under similar circumstances.

  • June 21, 2021

    Manhattan DA Candidates Split Over Hate Crime Strategy

    The person who succeeds Cyrus R. Vance Jr. as the Manhattan district attorney on Jan. 1 will need to gain the trust of an Asian American community rocked by a surge in hate-motivated violence against its members and the perception that their trauma is not being recognized or addressed by law enforcement and the justice system.

  • June 20, 2021

    Report Urges Alternatives To Usual 'Hate Crime Legal Model'

    As public concern mounts over hate crimes in the U.S., driven recently by a surge in attacks targeting Asian-Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report is pushing more communities to look beyond the traditional law enforcement model and consider a fundamental shift in how they confront offenses inspired by prejudice.

  • June 20, 2021

    In Oversight Void, Ill. Public Defenders 'Beholden' To Courts

    Without any form of state oversight or basic information about its indigent defense system, Illinois criminal courts are rife with ethical and constitutional problems, and public defenders are "beholden" to local officials for their livelihoods, according to a report commissioned by the state Supreme Court.

  • June 20, 2021

    UK Legal Groups Rally For Legal Aid Walks This Summer

    Legal industry workers across England, Scotland and Wales will take to the streets throughout the summer, starting Monday, to raise money for specialized legal aid charities working to meet a skyrocketing need brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • June 20, 2021

    Winston & Strawn Aids UC Students In Test Score Case

    Last month, the University of California became the first public university system in the country to say it would stop considering SAT and ACT scores in its admissions and financial aid process. Here, Law360 looks at the litigation over the tests' discriminatory impacts that led to the deal and the Winston & Strawn attorney who helped guide the matter.

  • 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.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • 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.

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