Roughly 300 million Americans have been urged to stay home to stem the spread of COVID-19. But staying home amidst a historic economic downturn has experts fearing an increase in domestic violence — at a time when access to justice is harder than ever.
The coronavirus pandemic could trigger a surge in attorney volunteerism, but social distancing has created a unique challenge for pro bono efforts: How can lawyers provide free legal services remotely?
Federal judges nationwide are balancing access to justice with public health concerns as COVID-19 spreads. Halting hearings and trials will create a pile-up, particularly in already overburdened courts, and could mean defendants will sit in jail indefinitely. That caseload crisis could outlive the pandemic.
As the entire legal industry continues reacting to the spread of COVID-19, the legal aid community is bracing for its expected impact on their services for underserved communities. And in some parts of the country, providers are already weathering the effects.
When attorneys felt Los Angeles’ courthouses were slow to respond to the coronavirus threat, a set of frequent adversaries reached across the aisle. The public defenders’ and district attorneys’ unions jointly asked that courthouses shutter, saying they’d endangered lawyers and their clients.
Just three months after historic bail reforms took effect in New York, the state Legislature agreed last week to roll back some of the changes in an effort to placate fierce opposition from law enforcement and conservatives. But while many reform advocates aren’t pleased with the results, law enforcement isn’t cheering either.
A court decision blocking the New York field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from using its so-called “no release” policy for certain people detained before a hearing is being hailed by immigrant advocates as a key victory that could set an important standard for other parts of the country.
Up to the moment last month when a judge told him he was a free man, Jeremy Puckett refused to believe freedom was a real possibility.
A Brooklyn federal judge on Friday chastised the Federal Bureau of Prisons for failing to provide New York City inmates adequate access to their attorneys during the coronavirus pandemic, giving the agency until Monday to explain why it wasn’t allowing more phone calls.
A Florida federal judge is planning to press forward in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic with a bench trial in a battle over a requirement that ex-felons pay all fines and fees before being able to vote, despite concerns from the state about the video conference format.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons alarmed inmates’ counsel when it revealed to a New York federal judge on Wednesday that a Brooklyn federal prison had tested only two additional inmates — out of 1,700 — after five staff members and one prisoner were found to be infected with the coronavirus.
As cases of COVID-19 explode across the country, law firms are mobilizing to provide more pro bono support to legal aid groups and nonprofit organizations. Rebecca Greenhalgh and Steve Schulman, co-presidents of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, spoke with Law360 about key steps to take when responding to the pandemic.
Even as the potential spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails sets off alarm bells, New York advocates are hopeful that involvement by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch will lead to a quick resolution for people in detention at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center in a suit over attorney access.
New York state court judges ordered the immediate release of 122 inmates detained in New York City jails on Thursday and Friday, finding it was a violation of those vulnerable individuals' rights to lock them up during the coronavirus outbreak, which had infected 183 individuals in the jails as of Friday afternoon.
As part of a $2 trillion relief package, Congress allocated $50 million to the Legal Services Corporation to help meet an explosion in legal needs stemming from the pandemic. The LSC, America’s largest single funder of civil legal aid, had requested double that amount, but its chief says that money will still make a difference.
The Trump administration’s latest border restrictions, handed down under a rarely used public health statute to combat the coronavirus pandemic, likely flout U.S. obligations to not return people to countries where they will be persecuted.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan aligned with her conservative colleagues Monday to uphold Kansas’ narrow insanity defense, a ruling her fellow liberals say rips out “the core of a defense that has existed for centuries."
As COVID-19 ravages communities across the country, the world’s most incarceration-heavy criminal justice system is slowing down. Police are releasing arrestees; prosecutors are dropping low-level charges; parole officials are loosening rules. Could this pandemic change the way law is enforced going forward?
Blacks and Latinos in New York state are supervised under parole, jailed before parole violation hearings and incarcerated for parole violations at disproportionate rates compared with whites, according to a recent report by Columbia University’s Justice Lab.
Across the country, tenants and their advocates are demanding a moratorium on evictions for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, adjusting their tactics on a daily basis to stop visits to crowded courthouses and prevent homelessness.
Jim Sandman, who recently stepped down from his nine-year post as president of the Legal Services Corp., America’s largest legal aid funder, is heading up an American Bar Association task force on the coronavirus outbreak. He told Law360 the pandemic could fundamentally change the way legal services are delivered in the future.
The Federal Defenders of New York made progress in its fight for consistent access to clients in detention on Friday when the Second Circuit ruled that a mediator should be quickly appointed to help craft new protocols amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
New York landlords can file eviction and nonpayment cases this week despite a statewide eviction moratorium that took effect Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the court confirmed, raising concerns about close human contact and tenant anxiety in a health crisis.
Law360 is pleased to announce the formation of its 2020 Access to Justice Editorial Advisory Board.
Across the country, an estimated 60% of state court litigants have no lawyer to help them. One way to close the justice gap is unbundled services, a form of limited legal representation, but cultural barriers and a lack of understanding have prevented widespread use of the concept.
Less than two weeks after a new Virginia law led to the premature dismissal of Lee Boyd Malvo’s U.S. Supreme Court petition challenging juvenile life without parole sentences, the justices have selected a replacement case that could answer long-standing questions about cruel and unusual punishment.
An obscure California statute and social media connections led to the arrest of two men who found themselves facing potential lifetime prison sentences until a pro bono team from Morrison & Foerster stepped in.
The rule of law is declining more than it is advancing in a majority of the countries examined by the World Justice Project, with Iran and Cameroon seeing the largest drops, the organization has found in an annual report.
Debt collection suits, evictions, insurance and government benefits claims — legal problems like these are always challenging, especially for low-income people who often lack legal counsel.
With self-isolation and social distancing now the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Rebecca Sandefur, a professor at Arizona State University and faculty fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
There are several reasons why a state should consider temporarily lifting statutes of limitations during this pandemic, including protecting the rights of litigants who are vulnerable, say Adam Mendel and Rayna Kessler at Robins Kaplan.
All states should follow Florida's lead and reduce the number of people held in jails unnecessarily during the pandemic, and use this tragic time as a catalyst to make lasting, long overdue changes in our criminal justice system, says Matt Morgan at Morgan & Morgan.
With the coronavirus already infiltrating certain prison populations, jail officials must look to cases stemming from the 2009 swine flu epidemic for guidance on their legal obligations under the Eighth Amendment, say attorneys at Bradley Arant.
While the conviction and sentencing of Harvey Weinstein was a watershed moment, and vindication for the women that he abused, the scales of justice remain tipped against women in cases of sexual assault and harassment in the U.S. and around the world, say Jennifer Klein at Time's Up and Rachel Vogelstein at the Council on Foreign Relations.
With Harvey Weinstein's defense team raising allegations of undisclosed bias among the jurors who convicted him, it's a good time to examine why it may be best if your client is not present during the jury selection process, says Christina Marinakis at Litigation Insights.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hernandez v. Mesa, barring a Mexican family’s remedies for the fatal cross-border shooting of their son by a federal agent, sweeps broadly toward curtailing constitutional remedies for similarly aggrieved U.S. citizens, says Cori Alonso-Yoder at American University Washington College of Law.
That a New York state jury convicted Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and rape — in the absence of substantial corroborating evidence and despite challenges to the accusers' credibility — suggests that society has turned a corner, says professor Stephen Gillers at NYU School of Law.
New York's Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act was enacted to reduce sentences for people like Nicole Addimando, who was just given 19 years to life in prison for killing her sadistically abusive partner, so the court’s failure to apply it here raises the question of whether it will be applied at all, say Ross Kramer and Nicole Fidler at Sanctuary for Families.
While arbitration is a good vehicle for ensuring timely dispute resolution, the existing system lacks protections for workers and consumers, and legislative efforts to outlaw forced arbitration prove it’s time to finally fix it, says Gerald Sauer at Sauer & Wagner.
While many judges say there isn’t much criminal defense attorneys can do at sentencing hearings, retired U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner — an outspoken critic of the federal sentencing guidelines — disagrees, says criminal defense attorney Alan Ellis.
Nationwide, law enforcement agencies rely on a four-pronged attack to generate billions of dollars in civil forfeiture revenue to use for police perks, depriving defendants of property without due process of law, says Daryl James of the Institute for Justice.
As criminal justice reform advocates focus on the critical need to reduce unjust pretrial detention, jurisdictions must commit to a range of policy changes that include, but also go beyond, risk assessments, says former Wisconsin Judge Jeffrey Kremers.
Pending U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposals to prolong employment ineligibility and charge for employment authorization documents would be particularly detrimental to already-vulnerable LGBTQ asylum seekers, says Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.
A hearing in the Jeffrey Epstein case featuring victim impact statements and a White House meeting between a hit-and-run driver and the victim's parents have been described as restorative justice, but the reality is more complex, says Natalie Gordon of DOAR.