Access to Justice

  • November 17, 2019

    As Legal Aid Attys See Pay Gains, Nonlawyer Peers Struggle

    New York City is facing calls to boost pay for nonlawyer advocates who help provide legal aid services but often need to find second jobs simply to make ends meet.

  • November 17, 2019

    Military Families March To Court Over Fort Meade's Housing

    Military families in a new suit are accusing a private company of lining its pockets by scaling back maintenance and repairs for properties at Fort Meade and subjecting them to substandard, mold-infested housing in the process.

  • November 17, 2019

    Bart Stichman On Making Sure Veterans Get Their Due

    The co-founder of the National Veterans Legal Services Program opens up about the reasons he’s devoted more than 40 years to fighting for veterans to have access to justice.

  • November 17, 2019

    How Medical Marijuana Can Threaten Access To Public Housing

    Despite the fact that marijuana has been legalized in some form in 22 states, the fact that it remains illegal at the federal level means that marijuana users can lose their place in public housing because of it, forcing some medical marijuana users to choose between their home and their medical treatment.

  • November 15, 2019

    High Court Border Death Case May Curb Suits Against Feds

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s skepticism aimed at a 15-year-old Mexican boy’s parents suing an American border agent for their son’s death could result in a ruling that restricts individuals’ ability to sue federal officers for violating their constitutional rights.

  • November 03, 2019

    DA Accused Of Playing Dirty In Fight Over Justice Reforms

    Did an Oklahoma district attorney abuse his power by trying to dig up dirt on a prominent criminal justice reform organization and its director?

  • November 03, 2019

    Historic Bail Reform Deal Nears OK As Fresh Test May Loom

    A landmark settlement memorializing cash bail reforms in Harris County, Texas, appears to have a clear path to final approval — a move that could inspire other jurisdictions to take up similar changes but also open the door to a new round of litigation, those who have been following the 3-year-old lawsuit say.

  • November 03, 2019

    BYU Law, Wilson Sonsini Join Forces To Aid Asylum-Seekers

    As immigration courts face an acute shortage of attorneys, Brigham Young University Law School will be teaming up with Wilson Sonsini and SixFifty, the firm’s technology subsidiary, to develop tools to help those applying for asylum without lawyers to navigate the process successfully.

  • November 03, 2019

    Why Partnerships Can Help Maximize In-House Pro Bono

    In-house lawyers at Chubb Ltd. were eager to tackle pro bono work but knew that going it alone could be a daunting challenge in terms of direction and logistics.

  • November 01, 2019

    Congress Eyes New Office For Veterans Courts

    Under a bipartisan bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week, specialized criminal courts for military veterans facing minor charges could get a dedicated office in the U.S. Department of Justice to coordinate grants, training and other assistance — with $25 million expected in new funding.

  • November 03, 2019

    Indiana Justices Start To Clarify When Forfeiture Goes Too Far

    In a civil forfeiture case over an Indiana resident’s Land Rover, the U.S. Supreme Court said in February that states can’t impose excessive fines. Last week, the Indiana Supreme Court outlined a test for determining excessiveness, siding with reformers who say the justice system’s revenue incentives must be reined in.

  • November 03, 2019

    David Brown On Fighting To End Transgender, Nonbinary Bias

    As the transgender community both gains more mainstream visibility and faces backlash, the new legal director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund says the organization is prepared to keep pushing for civil rights and educating the courts and the public.

  • November 01, 2019

    Missing Records Suggest Strained Immigration Courts

    A Syracuse University research center’s allegations that a U.S. Department of Justice agency deleted nearly 1 million immigration case records could signal an under-resourced immigration court system overwhelmed by a growing caseload.

  • November 01, 2019

    DOJ Accused Of Wiping Nearly 1 Million Immigration Records

    The U.S. Department of Justice agency that oversees immigration courts has quietly deleted almost a million immigration court records and refused to correct its data, a Syracuse University research center alleged in a Thursday report.

  • October 27, 2019

    Case Undercuts Fee-Based Hurdles To Restored Voting Rights

    A ruling by a Florida federal judge earlier this month spelled good news for those who’ve committed felonies and want their right to vote restored. What happens next could have major ramifications in other states grappling with the legacy of felony disenfranchisement.

  • October 27, 2019

    Reps Eye Ways To Create More Ex-Con CEOs

    Federal lawmakers crafting a bill to support ex-inmates starting their own small businesses heard last week from three former prisoners who touted self-employment as a weapon against recidivism, especially for drug offenders, and highlighted obstacles in pursuing education and seed funding.

  • October 27, 2019

    Are Decarceration Advocates Ignoring An Inconvenient Truth?

    Advocates for significantly reducing the nation’s prison populations are overlooking the negative impact that releasing large numbers of individuals incarcerated for violent offenses will have on the poor neighborhoods where the ex-convicts will likely live after their release, a fellow with a conservative think tank argued during a recent event in New York.

  • October 27, 2019

    Closing Rikers May Pave New Path For Mentally Ill Inmates

    New York City’s move to close the notorious prison Rikers Island could be an important step in making sure people suffering from mental illnesses, who make up half of America’s incarcerated population of 2.3 million, aren’t lost in the criminal justice system, according to speakers at an event on the problems of mass incarceration.

  • October 27, 2019

    Why A Post-Disaster Rule For Pro Bono Aid Isn't For Everyone

    Advocates have said more states should consider a change to lawyer regulations that would temporarily allow out-of-state attorneys to provide pro bono services to people affected by disaster, but not every jurisdiction is sold on the rule, or its usefulness.

  • October 27, 2019

    Labaton Wages Asylum Fight For Persecuted Ugandans

    Labaton Sucharow has stepped up to aid Ugandans who were driven from their country because of their sexual orientation and now face a new challenge — obtaining asylum in the United States during the Trump administration.

  • October 20, 2019

    Calif. May Help Move Needle On Jury Duty For Ex-Cons

    A new California law allowing those with felony convictions to serve on juries could serve as an inspiration for other states that are considering similar measures, several criminal justice reform advocates say.

  • October 20, 2019

    Kavanaugh Has Plenty To Say In DC Sniper Arguments

    At last week’s U.S. Supreme Court arguments over life without parole sentences for juveniles, Justice Brett Kavanaugh repeatedly questioned attorneys for both Virginia and Lee Boyd Malvo, the notorious “D.C. sniper” whose life sentence was up for debate. His vote could be the deciding one.

  • October 20, 2019

    Karen Lash On Finding Legal Aid Funding In High Places

    Karen Lash helped lead federal access to justice efforts by convincing government agencies to include civil legal aid in their programming. Now she’s taking the model to state and local governments around the country with the Justice in Government Project.

  • October 20, 2019

    What's Old Is New Again As NY Judges Battle Court Revamp

    The latest proposal to remake New York's byzantine court system is facing old-school pushback from an influential group of state Supreme Court judges, even as judicial and political leaders say the time has finally come to streamline the system.

  • October 20, 2019

    3 Ways Legal Aid Attys Are Using Tech To Boost Court Access

    In the world of legal aid, finite resources and staff often spur organizations to turn to advancing technology for solutions. Here, Law360 spotlights three ways legal aid organizations are planning to use grant money to kick-start technology projects that will help litigants in need.

Expert Analysis

  • High Court Should Affirm 3-Strikes Rule For Prisoner Pleading

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    The U.S. Supreme Court in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez should hold that any case dismissed for failure to state a claim should count as a strike for purposes of Section 1915(g), which allows incarcerated people to file three complaints free of charge, says GianCarlo Canaparo at The Heritage Foundation.

  • Acquitted Conduct Should Not Be Considered At Sentencing

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    Congress should advance the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act, which seeks to explicitly preclude federal judges from a practice that effectively eliminates the democratic role of the jury in the criminal justice system, says Robert Ehrlich, former governor of Maryland.

  • Thank A Female Veteran With Access To Legal Services

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    Women returning from military deployment often require more legal assistance than their male counterparts, and Congress can alleviate some of these burdens by passing the Improving Legal Services for Female Veterans Act, says Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa.

  • California Should Embrace Nonlawyer Providers

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    Despite criticisms from the legal profession, a California proposal to allow some legal service delivery by nonlawyers is a principled response to the reality that millions of Americans currently must face their legal problems without any help, says Chris Albin-Lackey, legal and policy director at the National Center for Access to Justice.

  • Calif. Law Offers New Hope For Child Sexual Abuse Victims

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    The recent passage of A.B. 218 in California — extending the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases — will pose challenges for the justice system, but some of the burdens posed by abuse will finally be shifted from survivors to accused abusers and the organizations that enabled them, says retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge Scott Gordon.

  • Core Rights Of Accused At Issue In High Court's New Term

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming decisions in several criminal cases this term will determine whether certain rights of the accused — some that many people would be surprised to learn are unsettled — are assured by the Constitution, say Harry Sandick and Jacob Newman at Patterson Belknap.

  • 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.