Access to Justice

  • 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.

  • April 18, 2021

    Chauvin Jurors Will Grapple With Videos, Expert Opinions

    Jurors deciding the fate of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, have plenty of evidence to sift through, including videos of Floyd's death and testimony from more than 40 witnesses. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Chauvin's trial.

  • April 18, 2021

    Stanford Prof's Book Explores US Violence And The Law

    David Alan Sklansky’s career as a labor attorney, federal prosecutor and, now, law school professor showed him that violence is inconsistently defined and applied by U.S. courts and law enforcement. In his latest book, he investigates what led to flimsy definitions of violent crime, as well as the injustices that stem from them.

  • April 18, 2021

    Andrea James On Second Chances For Incarcerated Women

    President Joe Biden declared April "Second Chance Month" acknowledging that incarcerated people deserve second chances, but he hasn't given second chances to 100 incarcerated women by granting them clemency, according to former criminal defense attorney turned activist Andrea James.

  • April 18, 2021

    Milbank Secures Wi-Fi Settlement For NYC Homeless Shelters

    The city of New York on April 5 committed to providing all family shelters in the five boroughs with wireless internet to allow students housed in the shelter systems access to remote education during the pandemic, following a settlement obtained by attorneys from Milbank LLP and the Legal Aid Society.

  • April 18, 2021

    NJ's Police Use-Of-Force Database Falls Short, Experts Say

    New Jersey's attorney general announced the creation of an online database this month that tracks how often police officers are using force, but some experts say the state is still lagging behind many others when it comes to police accountability.

  • April 14, 2021

    Legal Industry's Gender Woes Worse In Criminal Justice Field

    Female attorneys and judges in criminal justice face sexism and discrimination similar to that faced by women throughout the legal industry, but the nature of their work intensifies these issues, a panel of women said at an American Bar Association webinar.

  • April 04, 2021

    How This High Court Case Could Affect Police Abuse Suits

    A case involving a Brooklyn man who sued the New York Police Department on misconduct allegations, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, has the potential for restricting — or broadening — access to malicious prosecutions actions around the country for the foreseeable future.

  • April 04, 2021

    Study Links Not Prosecuting Misdemeanors To Lower Crime

    A new academic paper finds electing not to prosecute nonviolent misdemeanor defendants may reduce the likelihood of their subsequent criminal activity, a conclusion that comes as a wave of progressive prosecutors push for new approaches to handling low-level offenses.

  • April 04, 2021

    The Legal Journey For The Longest-Serving Juvenile Inmate

    Joe Ligon was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole at the age of 15, in 1953. By the time he got out 68 years later, he was the longest-serving incarcerated person to ever be convicted as a minor.

  • March 30, 2021

    'Coercive' Prosecution Drives Trial Penalty, Defense Attys Say

    A criminal defense lawyers group in New York says that "coercive" prosecution tactics pushing criminal defendants to plead guilty are largely responsible for killing jury trials, hurting the constitutional rights of defendants.

  • March 21, 2021

    Wiley Helps Win Reforms To Md. Parole For Juvenile Lifers

    A group of attorneys from Wiley, Pillsbury and the ACLU of Maryland recently secured a settlement bringing a host of reforms to the Maryland parole system and how it considers parole for inmates serving life sentences for crimes committed as juveniles.

  • March 21, 2021

    JusticeText Co-Founder On Building Tech For Public Defense

    JusticeText co-founder Devshi Mehrotra started building software to support public defenders' work when she was a senior in college. In an interview with Law360, she explains the origin story behind JusticeText and how technology can support criminal defense.

  • March 19, 2021

    Justices Tap Atty Suing Harvard As Amicus In Criminal Case

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday asked Adam Mortara, one of the lead lawyers in the anti-affirmative action lawsuit against Harvard, to step in as amicus counsel in a case over sentence reductions for offenses involving crack — his third time filling such a role at the court.

  • March 19, 2021

    Law360's 2021 Access To Justice Editorial Advisory Board

    Law360 is pleased to announce the formation of its 2021 Access to Justice Editorial Advisory Board.

  • March 12, 2021

    How COVID Impacted Criminal Courts, Communities

    Here, Law360 takes a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected courts and communities.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • Judges On Race: The Path To A More Diverse Bench

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    To close the diversity gap between the judiciary and the litigants that regularly appear in criminal courts, institutions including police departments, prosecutor offices and defense law firms must be committed to advancing Black and Latino men, says New York Supreme Court Justice Erika Edwards.

  • High Court Must Preserve Youth Rights In Sentencing Case

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    The U.S. Supreme Court must be careful not to undo 15 years of Eighth Amendment case law and expose young adults to unconstitutional life without parole sentences in its upcoming decision in Jones v. Mississippi, says Marsha Levick at the Juvenile Law Center.

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