During his more than 34 years on the bench, the late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens built a reputation as a defender of the rights of individuals caught in the criminal justice system and of access to the courts. Here, Law360 reviews five of his top opinions.
Four years have passed since an attorney’s unprecedented fraud led to the sudden suspension or reduction of disability benefits for thousands of people. But despite a massive pro bono effort, many are still fighting to convince the government they played no part in the scheme.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court term saw some of the court’s most conservative and progressive members seeing eye-to-eye on issues like civil forfeiture and jury selection. Here, Law360 highlights some of the biggest access to justice cases of the term.
For trans and nonbinary people, updating legal documents is a burdensome process that often requires court orders, proof of expensive surgeries and notarized affidavits — barriers that prevent most of them from having IDs that match who they really are.
Attorney hopefuls must undergo a “moral character” screening that is supposed to protect the public from unscrupulous lawyers, but a new report from Stanford has found that the way bar examiners evaluate criminal records often has little to do with that purpose.
More than a quarter of the women jailed in the United States haven’t been convicted of anything — they’re just too poor to be bailed or bonded out, trapped in jail until trial or until they can’t take it anymore and plea their way out, prisoner reform experts told federal lawmakers.
The First Step Act made modest adjustments to the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for nonviolent offenders in the federal criminal justice system. Some states are trying to follow suit, but opposition by local prosecutors is making reform hard to come by.
After serving more than 20 years in prison for a nonviolent crime, Kenneth Oliver was released earlier this month with the pro bono help of attorneys from Mayer Brown LLP. Experts say there are thousands of others like Oliver who are eligible for release in California, yet they remain in prison.
A recent Fourth Circuit decision that language in a police misconduct settlement intended to keep individuals quiet about the abuse violated the First Amendment may deter departments from insisting on similar provisions, which are rare but which advocates say improperly silence victims.
Among the thousands of inmates released because of reforms under the First Step Act, a small group of prisoners have been granted compassionate release this year, many of them taking advantage of a new provision letting them make their case for release in court.
Four prominent legal organizations are urging lawmakers to grant the immigration court system independence from the U.S. Department of Justice, citing growing dysfunction and serious due process concerns within the courts.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to investigate allegations of systemically excessive bail practices on the part of arraignment judges in Philadelphia, a move that gives hope to reformers following a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this year.
Amanda Kool had her dream job at Harvard Law School, working to provide business and financial legal services to people in need. Now she lives and works in Bracken County, a 202-square-mile stretch of Kentucky with just 8,000 residents. And she couldn’t be happier.
More and more states are considering multipronged approaches to child welfare cases that go beyond attorney representation to include social workers and other experts for parents, with one study linking such methods to less time in foster care for kids.
The New York State Bar Association is taking a hard look at the state’s parole system as lawmakers have so far fallen short on reforms to address the state’s high rate of revoking parole, keeping a fire under efforts to follow other jurisdictions that have slashed parole-related prison stints.
Workers who sue their employers for wage theft and win are supposed to get paid. But actually getting their due is often impossible because of legal loopholes for employers and a dearth of protections in many states against such tactics.
As the U.S. Supreme Court takes a breather following a bevy of important criminal justice rulings this term, big cases already loom for when the court resumes business in the fall, including a clash over whether Kansas has effectively blocked individuals from claiming insanity as a defense.
Lawyers contributed more than 5 million hours — or nearly 4% of total billings — to pro bono work in 2018, providing more free legal services to those with limited access to justice than ever before. But how well does using hours as a metric truly capture the success and efficiency of pro bono work?
A father was separated from his children and on the brink of deportation when Haynes and Boone attorneys stepped in to help him articulate his fear of returning to El Salvador, reunite his family and secure release from detention while he seeks asylum.
As president of the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, Jo-Ann Wallace has witnessed a growing interest in criminal justice reform. She spoke with Law360 about how that interest can help fuel a similarly rising tide of reform in civil justice.
People leaving prison need more than “$40 and a bus ticket,” and the legal community can help formerly incarcerated individuals overcome myriad challenges of reentry and stay on the right path, according to panelists at a recent event hosted by Proskauer Rose LLP in Manhattan.
The ball is now in the Senate’s court when it comes to how much the nations’ largest single funder of legal aid services will have in its coffers next fiscal year, with the House recently approving a budget allotment for the Legal Services Corporation that would be the biggest in its history.
A recent ruling that restored the investigative muscle of a board in Newark, New Jersey, to dig into police misconduct claims but limited the reach of any findings should still rekindle a powerful, civilian voice for police accountability at a time when such reform efforts are being challenged, supporters say.
Drawing blood from an unconscious drunk driving suspect does not amount to a warrantless search, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday, in a decision that put some criminal defense advocates on edge.
Double jeopardy is more than the name for the second round of a television game show. It’s also a central tenet of law in the United States: An individual may not be charged twice for the same alleged offense.
New York City officials recently announced a plan to establish pay parity for public defenders within the next four years. Though the promise lacks hard numbers, local and national defender groups said the development marks an important shift in value.
When Krista McClellan Clouse was arrested on a public sidewalk in Virginia in 2016, it wasn’t the kind of recognition that she usually gets for her singing.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday threw out the conviction of a Mississippi man sentenced to death because the local prosecutor, over the course of six separate trials, systematically excluded African Americans from serving on the jury, calling that history strong enough evidence of discriminatory intent.
In making clear that defendants should be able to bring civil rights claims against prosecutors after, and not during, their criminal cases, the U.S. Supreme Court took a practical approach that helps defendants while raising yet-unanswered questions, attorneys say.
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.
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.
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.
In Flowers v. Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court extended the rhetoric that exclusion of even one juror based on race is unconstitutional, but without further guidance, the principle the court seeks to uphold will continue to falter, says Kate Margolis of Bradley Arant.
Efforts to give small-scale gold miners, who face displacement, pollution and violence at sites around the world, access to fair and functioning justice systems have met with apathy from politicians and fierce resistance from powerful business lobbies, but there are signs that this may be changing, says Mark Pieth, president of the Basel Institute on Governance.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Gamble does not change the application of the double jeopardy clause as interpreted by federal courts, the decision reinforces the significant impact of dual prosecutions and the risks for corporate and individual defendants, say Laurel Gift and Randall Hsia of Schnader Harrison.
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gamble v. U.S. — reaffirming the so-called separate sovereigns doctrine — preserves tribal prosecutors' autonomy and ability to respond promptly to offenses without worrying about the legal repercussions on federal prosecutions, say Steven Gordon and Philip Baker-Shenk of Holland & Knight.
A Massachusetts federal court's eventual decision on cellphone searches at the U.S. border in Alasaad v. Nielsen will further illustrate the differences in how federal courts apply the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Riley v. California to the warrant-requirement exception for border searches, says Sharon Barney at Leech Tishman.
The U.S. misdemeanor system — which represents the vast majority of the country’s criminal system — is under-regulated, rarely scrutinized and rife with official rule-breaking. It's time we brought this enormous aspect of our democracy into the modern legal era, says Alexandra Natapoff of University of California, Irvine School of Law.
Judges in multidistrict litigation consistently appoint lead plaintiffs lawyers based on their experience, war chests and ability to get along with everyone. But evidence suggests that these repeat players often make deals riddled with self-interest and provisions that goad plaintiffs into settling, says Elizabeth Chamblee Burch of the University of Georgia School of Law.
A little-noticed National Labor Relations Board filing has taken the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 class action waiver decision and turned it into a justification for further limiting workers’ access to courts, says Sharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.
What President Donald Trump and his administration have described as a “humanitarian crisis” at the U.S. southern border is, in reality, a Trump-exacerbated crisis — which demands real solutions, not incendiary rhetoric, cruelty and lawlessness, says David Leopold of Ulmer & Berne.
A pending settlement between the University of Southern California and 17,000 former students would resolve claims over the actions of a sexually abusive gynecologist. But proposed state legislation could undermine the settlement, says Shook Hardy partner Phil Goldberg, director of the Progressive Policy Institute’s Center for Civil Justice.
By making small claims litigation cheaper, faster and more convenient, especially for those facing difficulty appearing in court due to work schedules or geographic distances, an online pilot program in Utah is resolving cases that would otherwise go unfiled — or defaulted upon, says Martin Pritikin, dean of Concord Law School at Purdue University Global.
While many have heralded the First Step Act as an example of bipartisan cooperation, the mainstream press has said surprisingly little about the law's specific sentencing improvements — many stemming from recommendations made by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, says Judge Patti Saris, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.