Access to Justice

  • September 22, 2019

    Vets' Win In Landmark Suit Could Force VA To Spend Billions

    For the second time in three years, a court has told the federal government to stop denying emergency medical care reimbursements solely because a veteran had private insurance pay part of the cost. Thanks to rare class action status, up to $6.5 billion could be paid out to over half a million veterans — if the VA complies.

  • September 22, 2019

    Clifford Chance Helps Fight Anti-LGBT Stunt In Poland

    When Clifford Chance learned that a Polish newspaper was preparing to distribute anti-gay stickers declaring “LGBT-free zone,” attorneys with the firm swung into action and helped put a dent in those plans.

  • September 22, 2019

    Failures Of Justice In Central Park 5 Case Resonate In Philly

    After spending more than a dozen years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, Hassan Bennett didn’t need to watch Netflix’s recent miniseries on the Central Park Five case to understand the challenges black and brown communities face when forced to go toe-to-toe with the criminal justice system.

  • September 22, 2019

    Legal Aid Groups Shouldn't Wait For A Disaster To Act

    Legal aid groups should already be forging relationships with disaster-relief agencies and community groups, as well as educating the public and training volunteers to recognize legal problems, so that when a disaster strikes, they will be poised to start helping right away, according to a new report.

  • September 20, 2019

    Family Separation At Border Is 'Child Abuse,' ACLU Tells Court

    The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday urged a California federal judge to rule that U.S. immigration officials are illegally separating parents from their children based on criminal histories instead of separating families only when a parent is deemed unfit or a danger to their child, saying its present policy is tantamount to "child abuse."

  • September 15, 2019

    Reservation Residents Face Long Road To Justice

    Many cases from Native American reservations end up in federal court, which means indigenous victims, defendants and witnesses travel for hours to testify before jurors who have nothing to do with the community where a crime took place.

  • September 15, 2019

    The Court Cases Shaping The Future Of Tribal Jurisdiction

    Congress and the courts have not only chipped away at the judicial sovereignty rights of tribal governments, they've created a dizzying jurisdictional tangle. Cases now working their way up the courts could make it worse.

  • September 15, 2019

    NARF’s Echohawk On Protecting Tribal Rights

    Almost half a century after helping to found the Native American Rights Fund in 1971 as a young lawyer, John E. Echohawk is still working to advance the rights of Native Americans and Native tribes.

  • September 15, 2019

    Can Deputization Pacts Ease Tribes’ Jurisdiction Woes?

    Tribal communities looking to provide public safety despite a tangled jurisdictional framework have sometimes relied on cross-deputization agreements with county sheriffs, which experts say can be a big help. But they don’t work everywhere.

  • September 08, 2019

    5th Circ. Gives Fresh Momentum To Fine And Fee Reformers

    Recent decisions by the Fifth Circuit that aspects of the funding system for New Orleans criminal courts are unconstitutional represent major victories in the push to curb the use of fines and fees in the criminal justice system — and highlight how far court challenges to alleged abuses have come, advocates say.

  • September 08, 2019

    Challenge To NYPD’s Use Of Sealed Records Gets Go-Ahead

    A New York judge has certified a class of individuals who contend the New York City Police Department has unlawfully used information contained in their sealed arrest records when investigating other cases.

  • September 08, 2019

    Atty Funding Woes Key In Pa. Death Penalty Fight

    The lack of funding for court-appointed attorneys and public defenders is a familiar story across the United States, but it's an issue that experts say is particularly pronounced in Pennsylvania and is expected to factor prominently into arguments the state's Supreme Court is set to hear on Wednesday over whether the death penalty should be declared unconstitutional.

  • September 08, 2019

    Congress Pressed To Renew Funding For Rape Kit Testing

    With a law designed to combat rape kit backlogs set to expire at the end of the month, Debbie Smith, a survivor of sexual assault and the statute's namesake, joined advocates on Friday to urge Congress to renew the measure and continue a funding stream that has helped catch assailants.

  • September 08, 2019

    Are Prison Law Libraries Falling Short On Access Goals?

    While prison authorities often tout access as one goal of their law library programs, prisoners and their advocates say they don’t have enough resources, the resources aren’t timely enough and they are too restricted in their ability to use the facilities.

  • September 08, 2019

    Emily Bazelon On The Rise Of Progressive Prosecutors

    The author of “Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration” talks to Law360 about the rise of progressive prosecutors — and why recent comments by the U.S. attorney general don’t necessarily reflect the national pulse.

  • August 25, 2019

    Fried Frank Helps Free Asylum Seeker From Detention 'Prison'

    A 19-year-old refugee fleeing police beatings in Honduras was just one of many cases a Fried Frank attorney encountered when she went to the Texas border, where she said the need for legal representation is enormous beyond words.

  • August 25, 2019

    Tattoo Removal: Case Shines Light On Cop Photoshopping

    When a bank robbery suspect's face tattoos didn’t appear in eyewitness descriptions or security camera footage, police edited them out of his mugshot in a photo lineup. The case highlights a controversial practice that might be more common than people realize.

  • August 25, 2019

    Cleveland May Join Crusade To Increase Eviction Atty Access

    Cleveland is the latest in a series of municipalities across the country that are considering — or have already created — a right to counsel for certain individuals who face eviction, a move that advocates hope will prevent housing problems from spawning other economic and health woes for families.

  • August 25, 2019

    Does The Fed Bench Need More Ex-Public Defenders?

    As contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination talk criminal justice reform, the backgrounds of federal judges are getting fresh attention.

  • August 21, 2019

    Trump Rule To Detain Migrant Kids Unlikely To Survive Courts

    The Trump administration’s move to lift restrictions on the indefinite detention of immigrant families is unlikely to survive anticipated legal challenges, if courts agree with immigrant advocates that it violates a decades-old agreement, constitutional due process and administrative law.

  • August 18, 2019

    Ethics Case Against DA Keeps Spotlight On Victim Rights

    Following a public outcry and high-profile resignations over the treatment of victims in Jeffrey Epstein’s 2007 plea deal, a district attorney in North Carolina faces an ethics complaint for allegedly keeping a child rape victim in the dark. Is this a new era of prosecutor accountability for victims’ rights?

  • August 18, 2019

    Why Prosecutorial Overload Can Spark More Problems

    Prosecutors have huge power, and when they are overworked and dealing with high caseloads, those problems can have a ripple effect throughout the criminal justice system.

  • August 18, 2019

    As NY Child Abuse Suits Surge, Attys Prepare For Long Haul

    Hundreds of child abuse lawsuits poured into New York state courts last week as the Child Victims Act went into effect, but attorneys said they were also pacing themselves for a longer rollout as a one-year door opened for older people to file suits against their childhood abusers.

  • August 18, 2019

    Attys, Guards Win Green Light To Advance Sex Conduct Suits

    Two lawsuits that allege Chicago’s Cook County allows men in detention to sexually harass female attorneys and guards have reached a major milestone with possible ramifications for thousands of women working in the county's jail facilities.

  • August 18, 2019

    Fred Rooney On Closing The Justice Gap With Incubators

    Having spent time as a social worker and as a solo law practitioner, Fred Rooney has a handle on the world’s unmet legal needs. He believes helping young lawyers start community-based practices is a crucial step to increasing access to justice for all.

Expert Analysis

  • Bill Limiting Forced Arbitration Is Critical To Real Justice

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    Real justice means having access to fair and independent courts, but that will only be a reality when Congress bans predispute, forced arbitration under federal law with the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, which passed the House on Friday, says Patrice Simms at Earthjustice.

  • 3 Ways DOJ Is Working To Improve Justice In Indian Country

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    As both a federal prosecutor and a member of the Choctaw Nation, I am proud of the U.S. Department of Justice's current efforts to address crime in Indian Country while respecting tribal sovereignty, says Trent Shores, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

  • Rules Of Evidence Hinder #MeToo Claims In Court

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    If women and men who bring sexual harassment allegations in court will ever have a level playing field with their alleged harassers, the rules regarding what evidence is relevant in a sexual harassment trial must be changed, says John Winer at Winer Burritt.

  • Sealing Marijuana Convictions Is A Win For Justice System

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    As a result of a novel class action, hundreds of New Yorkers' old convictions for marijuana-related crimes are being sealed, an important step toward a more equal justice system where the needless collateral consequences of marijuana criminalization are eliminated, says Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.

  • DOJ's Latest Effort To Undermine Impartial Immigration Bench

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    The U.S. Department of Justice's recent petition to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges on the grounds that members are “management officials” and precluded from unionizing is part of a continuing effort to curb judicial independence in immigration court, says former immigration judge Jeffrey Chase.

  • Electronic Monitoring Technology Must Be Regulated

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    Based on my research into the electronic monitoring technologies that are increasingly becoming part of the criminal justice system, it is clear that they must be regulated, just as medical devices are, says Shubha Balasubramanyam of the Center for Court Innovation.

  • What You Should Know About Courtroom Closures

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    At attorney Greg Craig’s trial in D.C. federal court this week, the courtroom was cleared so prospective jurors could answer sensitive questions. Even seasoned litigators were left wondering about the nature of this subtle, yet significant, issue involving Sixth Amendment public trial rights, says Luke Cass at Quarles & Brady.

  • Addressing Health Care Liens In Sexual Assault Settlements

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    When litigating sexual assault cases that result in settlement, plaintiffs attorneys should thoroughly investigate how the plaintiff's medical bills were paid, and proactively prepare for insurers' potential health care liens, says Courtney Delaney of Epiq.

  • Death Penalty Return May Undermine Criminal Justice Reform

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    The last two years have been a watershed moment for bipartisan criminal justice reform, but with one swift edict — the July 25 announcement that federal executions will be reinstated after 16 years — the Trump administration risks throwing this forward momentum into reverse, says Laura Arnold of Arnold Ventures.

  • 2nd Circ.'s Approach To Bail Is Backward

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    The Second Circuit's decision in United States v. Boustani correctly identifies the dangers of a "two-tiered" bail system, but the proper solution is to make bail more accessible to everyone, not to fewer people, says Alexander Klein of Barket Epstein.

  • Secrecy Agreements And 1st Amendment: Finding A Balance

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    The divided decision by the Fourth Circuit issued earlier this month in Overbey v. Baltimore raises many concerning questions about the potential First Amendment implications of nondisparagement clauses in government settlement agreements, says Alan Morrison of George Washington University School of Law.

  • A High Court Win Will Not End Discriminatory Jury Selection

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    Although the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded Curtis Flowers' murder conviction in Flowers v. Mississippi, history may simply repeat itself once again unless the legal industry does more as a profession to combat discrimination and use ethics rules for their intended purpose, says Tyler Maulsby of Frankfurt Kurnit.

  • Risk Assessment Tools Are Not A Failed 'Minority Report'

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    Contrary to Wednesday's op-ed in the New York Times, which refers to pretrial risk assessment tools as "a real-world 'Minority Report'" that doesn't work, these tools and the promise they hold to improve judges’ and magistrates’ decision-making processes should not be dismissed simply because they aren’t yet perfect, say professors at North Carolina State University and Duke University.

  • Looted-Art Heirs May Find A Sympathetic Forum In NY Courts

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    The New York Appellate Division decision last week in Reif v. Nagy — in favor of the heirs in a Holocaust looted-art claim — is noteworthy because of the manner in which it rejected the defendant’s claim of laches, just a few weeks after the Second Circuit had dismissed a Holocaust looted-art claim on those very grounds, says Martin Bienstock of Bienstock.

  • Addressing Modern Slavery Inside And Outside The UK

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    As the problem of modern slavery persists, U.K. companies must take a broad approach when rooting out slave labor in their supply chains, and should not ignore the risk posed by suppliers within the U.K., says Maria Theodoulou of Stokoe.