Access to Justice

  • June 27, 2022

    Justices Say Courts Must Consider Rehab In Resentencing

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that district courts must look at defendants' rehabilitation and updated sentencing guidelines when considering a reduction of their sentences. 

  • June 23, 2022

    Justices Give Inmates Path To Swap Execution Methods

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state death row inmates can ask to be executed in a method not approved in their states by filing a civil rights suit, reversing a ruling by the Eleventh Circuit that compelled the prisoners to file habeas corpus petitions instead.

  • June 17, 2022

    What San Francisco DA's Recall Could Mean For Reformers

    The widely publicized and successful recall campaign of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has been described by some as a warning call for progressive prosecutors and rehabilitative justice advocates nationwide.

  • June 17, 2022

    What States Can Learn From Illinois To End Rape Kit Backlogs

    After years of reform, Illinois earlier this month became the 17th state to clear its backlog of nearly 2,000 untested rape kits. Here is what states can learn from Illinois to end their own rape kit backlogs.

  • June 17, 2022

    Legal System Ill-Equipped For Handling Dementia

    The criminal legal system is largely not prepared to handle individuals with dementia who either age into the disease while incarcerated or face criminal charges as their mental capacity diminishes, according to a report released this week by an American Bar Association commission.

  • June 17, 2022

    Jones Walker Partner Talks Police Liabilities After Uvalde

    As questions remain unanswered about the response by police in Uvalde, Texas, to the elementary school mass shooting that left 21 dead, Jones Walker LLP partner David S. Weinstein talks to Law360 about potential liability protection for officers who responded to the scene.

  • June 17, 2022

    Fla. Firm Seeks Restart Of Fee Suit Despite Atty's Misconduct

    A Florida law firm that represented two wrongfully convicted men before one of its lawyers was caught defrauding them is continuing its fight for fees after a jury awarded the pair $75 million in a civil rights lawsuit.

  • June 17, 2022

    DA Dodges NAACP's Jury Race Bias Suit In 5th Circ.

    The NAACP and four African American citizens cannot sue a controversial Mississippi prosecutor, best known for his repeated murder prosecutions of Curtis Flowers, over his alleged policy of striking jurors based on race because the chances that any of them will actually be kept off a jury are too small, according to the Fifth Circuit.

  • June 17, 2022

    Attorneys Worked Fewer Pro Bono Hours In 2021

    Attorneys nationwide did 14% less pro bono work last year than they did in 2020, according to a study released Thursday by the Pro Bono Institute.

  • June 15, 2022

    High Court Says Child's Safety Is Priority In Repatriation

    Federal district courts are not obligated to develop more acceptable conditions that could reduce the risk of harm to children as part of determining whether minors who were wrongfully removed from a country should be sent back, the U.S. Supreme Court held Wednesday.

  • June 15, 2022

    3rd Circ. Says Inmates Have Right To Access Legal Materials

    Prisoners may bring claims alleging they were denied access to legal materials while they were pursuing civil rights cases from behind bars, the Third Circuit said Wednesday in a precedential opinion setting forth that right to access the courts.

  • June 13, 2022

    High Court Ignores Death Row Inmate's Poor Counsel Case

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to reconsider a Texas inmate's contention that he received inadequate counsel before being sentenced to death, about two years after the high court had sent the case back to the Lone Star State for another look.

  • June 09, 2022

    Atty Access Failures Plague ICE Detention System, ACLU Says

    The U.S immigration detention system suffers from a host of systemic failures that create "monumental barriers" for detained immigrants seeking legal representation, rendering their right to counsel "essentially meaningless," the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report released Thursday.

  • June 03, 2022

    Fla. Bar Skeptical Of Legal Services Expansion Proposals

    The Florida Supreme Court amended the Florida Bar rules Thursday to allow nonlawyers to help govern nonprofit legal service providers, but it's just one of many recommendations from a committee at odds with the Florida Bar over how to improve access to legal services and adapt to changing technology.

  • June 03, 2022

    LGBTQ Legal Groups Gear Up For More Battles Post-Dobbs

    When a draft decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization was leaked, reproductive rights advocates leapt into action, while civil rights advocates began ringing alarm bells over the future of their movements as legal experts examined how the drafted decision could ripple far beyond the topic of abortion.

  • June 03, 2022

    Why Funding Is Top Priority For Legal Aid Society's New Head

    When she assumes leadership of the nation's largest legal aid provider in August, Twyla Carter, a former public defender and civil rights attorney and newly appointed leader of The Legal Aid Society, will make funding a priority, she told Law360.

  • June 03, 2022

    How Baker McKenzie Attys Helped Ukraine Apply To Join EU

    Baker McKenzie LLP attorneys based in Ukraine helped prepare the war-torn country's application to join the European Union, which was submitted last month during the ongoing Russian invasion.

  • June 03, 2022

    Port Authority Settles Civil Rights Suit Over Bathroom Patrols

    Winston & Strawn LLP attorneys and The Legal Aid Society secured a settlement ending the Port Authority Police Department’s bathroom patrols practice that appeared to target members of the LGBTQ community. The settlement will have a far-reaching impact, attorneys say.

  • June 01, 2022

    ABA Lauds 3 Firms, 2 Texas Attys As Pro Bono Standouts

    The American Bar Association this August will honor a lawyer from Baker Botts LLP, a partner from Holland & Knight LLP and the law firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC for pro bono work ranging from tenant advocacy to refugee assistance, the organization announced Wednesday.

  • May 23, 2022

    NY Lawmakers Grant 1-Year Grace Period For Sex Abuse Suits

    The New York Assembly on Monday passed the Adult Survivors Act, which, if signed by the governor, would open up sexual assault and abuse litigation by creating a one-year window for adult survivors whose claims are otherwise time-barred.

  • May 23, 2022

    Justices Shut Door On Inmates Claiming Ineffective Counsel

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said two Arizona death row inmates could not present evidence in federal court they said proved they were provided with ineffective trial counsel, narrowing the options the prisoners and others convicted in state court have to escape the death penalty.

  • May 20, 2022

    Push For Gov't-Funded Deportation Defense Gains Steam

    Programs that provide government-funded attorneys to noncitizens facing deportation are becoming more common in cities and states across the country, and immigration advocates hope to harness that momentum to scale up those initiatives to the federal level.

  • May 20, 2022

    Sanctions On Russia Raise Complex Ethical Questions

    The sanctions regime imposed on Russia for its war on Ukraine is the most extensive in history, dwarfing all sanctions previously imposed on other countries combined.

  • May 20, 2022

    Calif. 'CARE Courts' Spark Concerns Over Forced Treatment

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom is pioneering a court model that he claims is supportive and empowering to people who have severe mental illnesses, but civil rights advocates oppose the plan, arguing it subjects individuals to involuntary mental health treatment.

  • May 20, 2022

    DOJ Picks Ex-Public Defender To Head Access To Justice Unit

    The U.S. Department of Justice has picked a deputy associate attorney general who previously served as a Los Angeles public defender to lead its revamped Office for Access to Justice that was shuttered under the Trump administration.

Expert Analysis

  • Justices Leave Many With No Court To Hear Innocence Claims

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    While bad lawyering is an all too common cause of wrongful convictions, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Shinn v. Ramirez closes the federal courthouse doors to evidence of ineffective counsel, leaving many without a meaningful opportunity to prove their innocence, says Christina Swarns at the Innocence Project.

  • Nonprofit Ruling Is An Important Step For Nonlawyer Practice

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    A New York federal judge’s recent ruling that will allow nonprofit Upsolve to give legal advice to low-income debtors without a license is a positive development for nonlawyer practice, but presents questions about how to ensure similar programs can exist without fighting dodgy constitutional battles, says Ronald Minkoff at Frankfurt Kurnit.

  • DOJ's Cautious Return To Supplemental Enviro Projects

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    While the U.S. Department of Justice has ended the Trump-era ban on negotiating supplemental environment projects as part of civil and criminal environmental settlements, the process and delay around this change suggest that SEPs may be more limited under the Biden administration than in the past, say attorneys at Sidley.

  • Justices' Ruling Makes Some Progress On Cop Accountability

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Thompson v. Clark removes a roadblock that stymied malicious prosecution lawsuits, and could have positive impacts beyond the Fourth Amendment — but suits seeking accountability for police misconduct still face numerous challenges, says Brian Frazelle at the Constitutional Accountability Center.

  • We Can't Rely On Lawyers For Every Justice Need

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    The Southern District of New York, which recently heard arguments in Upsolve and John Udo-Okon v. New York, has the opportunity to increase access to justice by allowing nonlawyers to provide legal help, shifting the focus from credentials to substantive outcomes, says Rebecca Sandefur at Arizona State University.

  • Reinvigorated DOJ Is Strong Incentive For Police Reforms

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    The U.S. Department of Justice is fully back in the business of investigating law enforcement agencies as part of the Biden administration's prioritization of racial equity, criminal justice reform and prosecution of hate crimes, so police departments have strong incentive to be proactive in their reforms, say attorneys at McGuireWoods.

  • Habeas Ruling Shows Justices' Growing Hostility Toward Writ

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Brown v. Davenport, upholding the murder conviction of a man who was shackled at trial in view of the jury, makes an unjust federal review law more potent, and points to the conservative supermajority’s increasing antagonism toward writs of habeas corpus, says Christopher Wright Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • Time To Fix Legal Industry's Environmental Pro Bono Problem

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    As we observe Earth Month, it's sobering to note that pro bono environmental law work lags behind other practice areas — but the good news is that there are numerous organizations that can help lawyers get connected with environment-related pro bono projects, says Matthew Karmel at Riker Danzig.

  • How Prosecutors Can End Cycle Of Intimate Partner Violence

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    With 10 million people in the U.S. reporting that they experience intimate partner violence each year, it’s clear that traditional forms of prosecution are falling short, especially in small and rural communities, but prosecutors can explore new ways to support survivors and prevent violence, say Alissa Marque Heydari at John Jay College and David Sullivan, a district attorney.

  • DOJ's Boeing Immunity Deal Violated Crime Victims' Rights

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    The Northern District of Texas should support the arguments of 737 Max plane crash victims’ families, and hold that the U.S. Department of Justice violated the families' ability to provide input under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act when it secretly entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing, says Meg Garvin at the National Crime Victims Law Institute.

  • Jackson Confirmation Hearings Should Examine Due Process

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    In the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings, senators should assess Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s approach to holding government actors accountable in the areas of qualified immunity and forfeiture, as revisiting shaky precedents on these topics could help guarantee due process for all, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • ABA's New Anti-Bias Curriculum Rule Is Insufficient

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    The American Bar Association's recently approved requirement that law schools educate students on bias, cross-cultural competency and racism, while a step in the right direction, fails to publicly acknowledge and commit to eradicating the systemic racial inequality in our legal system, says criminal defense attorney Donna Mulvihill Fehrmann.

  • Justice Reforms Call For Quick Action To Fill US Atty Spots

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    U.S. attorneys play an important role in transforming the criminal legal system for several reasons, and they can restore integrity and independence to the U.S. Department of Justice, so President Joe Biden and Congress must move quickly to fill the remaining two-thirds of the top prosecutor seats, says Derick Dailey at Davis + Gilbert.

  • Judge's Veto Of Arbery Hate Crime Plea Deal Is Not Unusual

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    Contrary to media commentary, a Georgia federal judge’s rejection of the plea agreement between prosecutors and a defendant charged with hate crimes in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery is not actually surprising — it simply indicates the judge’s desire to retain discretion and allow all parties to be heard before making a just sentencing decision, says Dominick Gerace at Taft Stettinius.

  • Indefinite Migrant Detention Without Review Is Kafkaesque

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    In two recently argued U.S. Supreme Court cases, the government's position that detained migrants can't demand an immigration judge review their confinement, but can instead file a habeas petition in federal court, reads like a work of Kafka, offering only the illusion of access to a hearing before a neutral fact-finder, says César García Hernández at Ohio State University.

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