With Georgia adopting a hate crime law following a thwarted church attack and the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, advocates are hoping to see similar action in the handful of other states that lack such statutes. But as the Peach State shows, these efforts are often fraught with difficulty.
Determining whether deadly force was legally justified requires asking what a "reasonable officer on the scene" would have done. Some critics, including House Democrats, say that standard, stemming from a 1989 Supreme Court decision, is due for an overhaul.
Last week, New York lawmakers repealed a law that prevented public access to police misconduct and disciplinary records. The reform and similar proposals in other states highlight how weeks of protests over racial injustice are inspiring new efforts to increase law enforcement transparency.
Before it was amended, the criminal complaint against Derek Chauvin built a weak case against the ex-police officer videotaped constricting George Floyd's neck until he died, criminal justice experts say. That could speak to wider problems in holding police accountable, including prosecutors' reluctance to go after the officers with whom they work.
Experts are expressing confidence that the civil unrest gripping the nation over racial tensions will refuel the push to make juries more diverse, a problem that has vexed the legal industry long before the killings of George Floyd and others by white police officers.
Fewer than 14% of detained youth in Louisiana have been tested for COVID-19, but more than 93% of that group has tested positive. A recent setback in litigation aimed at their release highlights the challenges facing advocates who are concerned that purportedly rehabilitative juvenile detention facilities aren't meeting the moment.
Andrew Swainson tries not to be bitter about having spent 31 years of his life behind bars for a murder conviction that a Pennsylvania judge vacated earlier this month.
Over the last five years, representation rates for immigrants in bond hearings have nearly doubled. But over the same time period, bond grant rates have dropped — and those granted bonds have been asked to pay increasingly higher amounts for freedom.
Just weeks after the First Circuit said denying Puerto Ricans Social Security disability benefits is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Guam came to a similar conclusion, signaling a potential sea change in how the courts view U.S. citizens in territories who have traditionally been excluded from a number of federal programs.
It's unconstitutional to prevent someone from serving on a jury based on their race, but a recent report examining jury selection in California found that Black and Latinx jurors are dramatically more likely to be struck from a jury by prosecutors.
Columbia University law professor Emily Benfer worked with Princeton University’s Eviction Lab to create a COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard that’s tracking eviction prevention policies across states. She told Law360 that the patchwork nature of the protections will leave many renters and landlords falling through the cracks.
While felony convictions have stripped more than 6 million Americans of their right to vote, about half a million people sitting in U.S. jails on any given day are eligible to cast a ballot, but they rarely can. Civil rights lawyers are trying to help.
Bail funds received more than $70 million in donations during the wave of protests and activism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. Spikes in funding and media attention have happened before, but advocates say this time, momentum is building for lasting changes to the pretrial justice system.
As the nation looks to address widespread calls for police reforms following the killing of a black man in police custody in Minnesota, legal advocates are also pushing for authorities to learn from how they handled the recent stretch of protests and, in some cases, looting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The end of a Washington state program that made legal advice accessible for people who could not afford attorneys has come at a time when other states are considering or launching similar programs. While some say that the end of the program won't have an impact, others worry that it might undo progress for an idea that can sometimes be a tough sell.
Prisoners who represent themselves in court have a new hurdle to clear because of the U.S. Supreme Court's holding that they will lose their fee-waiver status after three certain types of unsuccessful federal lawsuits, no matter if they weren't dismissed on the merits.
A putative class action on behalf of children in the Indiana foster care system has mostly survived the state's bid for a quick win thanks to a team of Kirkland & Ellis LLP attorneys and two nonprofit partners, though the government is still hoping to short-circuit the litigation.
The Fourth Circuit's recent decision to revive a police brutality suit has given civil rights attorneys hope that other courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, may be willing to take another look at so-called qualified immunity shielding police officers.
The Trump administration's proposed overhaul of the U.S. asylum process, calling for more power for immigration judges and asylum officers, could hinder migrants' access to counsel in an already fast-tracked immigration system.
Litigious prisoners who bring three or more unsuccessful lawsuits will generally have to pay their own filing fees for any new actions, regardless of whether they lost their prior lawsuits on the merits, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.
Jonathan Rapping, founder of the nonprofit public defender training organization Gideon’s Promise, speaks with Law360 about the launch of his new podcast and why public defenders are more important than ever amid a historic pandemic, police protests and surging interest in criminal justice reform.
For the second year in a row, the number of federal human trafficking cases being prosecuted has dropped after almost two decades of increases, according to a new report released by the Human Trafficking Institute.
For over a year, the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed taking up challenges to qualified immunity, a controversial doctrine it devised to protect law enforcement and other public officials from facing civil rights lawsuits. But after more than a week of widespread protests over police accountability, legislators are taking matters into their own hands.
The state organizations responsible for helping fund civil legal aid knew the coronavirus would take a bite out of their budgets, but a new survey shows just how large that bite may be, with the programs saying they expect a combined revenue decline of at least $157.4 million compared with last year.
Representing victims of police violence and those victims' families requires attorneys to tap into skills they never learned in law school and to serve roles beyond that of legal counsel, according to attorneys for George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter and her mother.
A bipartisan Senate quartet has proposed changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure access for small-business owners who currently can be blocked from the forgivable pandemic-relief loans because of criminal records ranging from any pending charges and past felony convictions to probation and pretrial diversion.
The New York City Police Department briefly detained at least 10 legal observers with the National Lawyers Guild during a peaceful protest in the Bronx on Thursday night amid ongoing demonstrations protesting the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
In New York City, the current epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, four out of five social distancing tickets have been issued to people of color. Attorneys from the city’s landmark stop-and-frisk litigation say the racial discrepancy merits court-appointed police oversight and an end to police public health enforcement.
Since the first case of the novel coronavirus was reported in March, thousands of New Yorkers have lost loved ones to COVID-19, leaving them not only to confront grief but also to navigate the often-unfamiliar and confusing legal process of dealing with a relative's estate.
The increase in alcohol and drug consumption during the pandemic is predicted to result in an influx of legal cases, but attorneys can establish a solid defense by ensuring their clients begin the journey to recovery, says Sue Bright at New Directions for Women.
The Justice in Policing Act passed by the House last week and intended to roll back qualified immunity protections for police officers is not perfect, but it is progress compared to the failed Reforming Qualified Immunity Act that would have clandestinely strengthened the barriers shielding officers from liability, says Edward Ibeh at Akerman.
Lawmakers are racing to enact police legislation in response to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but this once-in-a-generation opportunity cannot be squandered by hastily drafted bills and rushed changes, says Marisa Darden at Squire Patton.
Inmate litigants have a new hurdle to clear because of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this month in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez, but the court merely did as Congress said in the Prison Litigation Reform Act, says David Shapiro at the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.
The recently introduced Justice in Policing Act is an important step against police brutality, but without express accountability for federal agents, the bill fails to address a gaping hole in the law, says Cori Alonso-Yoder at the American University Washington College of Law.
Foster children turning 18 in the midst of the pandemic are extremely vulnerable to homelessness and exploitation, so states have an obligation to issue moratoriums on discharging young adults from their care, says Alexandra Dufresne at Zurich University.
By prohibiting nonlawyer professionals from providing meaningful legal assistance, state rules on unauthorized practice of law guarantee that black Americans don't have equal opportunities and rights under the law, and every state supreme court and bar association has the duty to reform them, says Rohan Pavuluri at Upsolve.
The legal community must figure out how to use the adaptations necessitated by the pandemic to permanently improve the legal services delivery model and narrow the justice gap, says Rebecca Rapp at Ascendium Education Group.
A recent Illinois Supreme Court order limiting debt collectors' ability to freeze personal bank accounts during the pandemic is progress, but it does not solve the underlying issue that debt courts are rigged against low-income people, says Ashlee Highland at CARPLS Legal Aid.
Prisons and corrections systems must ensure that medical isolation during the pandemic does not devolve into prolonged solitary confinement that unduly burdens the individual liberty of people behind bars, says Marc Levin at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
As society continues to adapt to COVID-19, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Newark-based Abdul Rehman Khan, pro bono fellow for the city of Newark at McCarter & English.
With the need for pro bono services expected at unprecedented levels in the wake of the pandemic, and funding sources for legal aid organizations under severe stress, law firm leaders need to take measures to fill the gap, says Jeffrey Stone, chairman emeritus at McDermott.
As society continues to adapt to COVID-19, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Colleen Cotter, executive director at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
A plethora of federal courts have responded to social distancing requirements by entering blanket orders tolling compliance with Speedy Trial Act deadlines, but because there is no case-by-case analysis of their need and other factors, the orders raise questions about whether such tolling efforts are valid, say attorneys at Winston & Strawn.
There is an urgent need for state and county officials to publicly share accurate data about COVID-19 testing, infections and deaths in jails and prisons, so that effective, life-saving changes can be made to the criminal justice system, say criminologists Oren Gur, Jacob Kaplan and Aaron Littman.