Access to Justice

  • September 20, 2020

    Americans' Civics Knowledge Up In 2020

    Turns out there may be a plus side after all to a long period of impeachment brawls, contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominee fights and numerous investigations and scandals: More Americans are up on their civics knowledge.

  • September 20, 2020

    Amid Virus, Disaster Attys Struggle To Reach Survivors

    Between wildfires in the West and storms in the South, 2020 is already shaping up to be a tough year for natural disasters. And for the legal aid attorneys on the front lines, the coronavirus is eating up resources and blocking access to survivors.

  • September 20, 2020

    Why The Risks Of 'YouTube Trials' May Outweigh The Benefits

    COVID-19 has forced courts to find creative ways to keep operating, but a Philadelphia policy to put criminal trials and other proceedings "live" on YouTube isn't worth the privacy risks, according to victims' advocates and other critics. That policy is in limbo for now, but the controversy may serve as a warning to other jurisdictions considering similar steps.

  • September 20, 2020

    Farella Braun Secures New Trial In 40-Year Murder Case

    Marvin "Shaka" Walker has spent decades behind bars after he was convicted of fatally shooting a boy during a 1979 liquor store robbery in California. Through the work of Farella Braun & Martel LLP, he now has the opportunity either for a new trial or to walk free.

  • September 20, 2020

    Financial Aid For Attys Could Help Close Rural Justice Gap

    Financial incentives and highlighting the benefits of small-town life could help draw young attorneys to practice in small, tribal and rural areas, said panelists at a conference addressing access to justice in these communities.

  • September 13, 2020

    Flowers Case Shows How AGs Are Stepping Into The Spotlight

    The Mississippi attorney general's dismissal of case against Curtis Flowers, a Black man who stood trial six times for the same murders, marks the latest example of an attorney general swooping into the spotlight and taking over controversial prosecutions. It's a trend that could continue as long as racial justice issues garner national attention.

  • September 13, 2020

    Online Court Pilot Gets Low Marks Ahead Of Wider Launch

    Utah's online dispute resolution pilot program, which is aimed at increasing access to justice, has serious design problems with its online platform, according to an outside evaluator, which recommended that the state work to make the platform more user-friendly.

  • September 13, 2020

    Bill Would Loosen Pretrial Detention For Some Drug Charges

    A bipartisan bill recently unveiled in the U.S. Senate would eliminate the presumption that those facing federal drug charges must be detained before their trials start, with sponsors contending the measure would empower judges and prevent unnecessary incarcerations.

  • September 13, 2020

    LWV's Celina Stewart Talks Access To Justice Via Voting

    As the League of Women Voters' senior director of advocacy and litigation, Celina Stewart oversees a national case portfolio that has tripled in size during the pandemic. She spoke with Law360 about the intersection of access to justice and this year's election.

  • August 30, 2020

    MoFo Helps Reverse 1994 Calif. Murder Conviction

    Police who buried evidence, a grossly unprepared defense attorney, and prosecutors who let officers lie under oath — for Arturo Jimenez, it all added up to 25 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Earlier this month, a Morrison & Foerster pro bono team helped clear his name.

  • August 30, 2020

    New Orleans Threatens To Defund Court Over Fines And Fees

    Every year, the 390,000 residents of New Orleans pay an estimated $1.9 million in criminal fines and fees. But the City Council has passed a novel resolution threatening to choke off money to the courts if criminal fines continued to be levied.

  • August 30, 2020

    Rape Kit Backlogs Continue To Delay Justice For Victims

    The state of Virginia recently become the sixth state to clear its rape kit backlog. With thousands of untested kits in other states, sexual assault cases remain unprosecuted despite growing efforts to get through the mountains of DNA evidence. The brutal case of one victim in New York shows why such testing can be critical.

  • August 28, 2020

    Chicago Bracing For Post-Pandemic Foreclosure Surge

    As the Circuit Court of Cook County stares down an influx of eviction, foreclosure and other debt collection cases, the local legal community is using the calm before the storm to help Chicago residents mitigate their pandemic-era financial crises and potentially save their homes.

  • August 26, 2020

    Navajo Man Executed Despite Tribe's Calls For Clemency

    Navajo citizen Lezmond Mitchell was executed at an Indiana federal prison Wednesday for a 2001 double murder, a sentence carried out over the objections of many tribal advocates and the Navajo Nation itself, which opposes the death penalty.

  • August 23, 2020

    Top NJ Court Handcuffs Police Oversight Board's Powers

    New Jersey's highest court has defanged the powers of a civilian board meant to oversee police actions in the state's largest city, barring it from investigating alleged police misconduct at the same time that internal investigators are probing a matter.

  • August 23, 2020

    3 Death Penalty Cases Knocking On The High Court's Door

    A trio of petitions served up to the U.S. Supreme Court this month take aim at three distinct elements of the capital punishment process: conviction, sentencing and the execution itself.

  • August 23, 2020

    Liyah Brown On The Push For Radical Reform In Texas

    Since starting as legal director of the Texas Civil Rights Project's Criminal Injustice Reform division in March, Liyah Brown has been leading the organization's effort to combat racism in the state's criminal justice system and pursue systemic change in policing, incarceration, the money bail system and more.

  • August 21, 2020

    Arbitration Could Resolve 'Disaster' Of Human Rights At Sea

    Could international arbitration provide a way for victims of human rights abuses at sea to finally seek redress after years of falling under the radar? A new initiative is betting that the answer to that question is yes.

  • August 18, 2020

    Why Trump's Sentencing Panel Picks Worry Reform Boosters

    President Donald Trump has tapped five people for the influential commission that sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, but advocates for change on both the left and right are calling the slate "antithetical to reform" and urging senators not to confirm the picks.

  • August 16, 2020

    Public Defender System In Nevada Poised For Reforms

    Attorneys at O'Melveny & Myers LLP helped the ACLU secure an agreement they hope will would result in real change for low-income defendants in Nevada seeking access to meaningful legal representation.

  • August 16, 2020

    Virus Lights Fire Under Eviction Right To Counsel Movement

    The ongoing pandemic has put new urgency behind a nascent movement pushing to give tenants facing eviction a right to counsel, advocates say.

  • August 16, 2020

    Paul Weiss Wins Housing Changes For Disabled NYC Tenants

    Advocating for a mobility-impaired veteran's access to his New York City Housing Authority apartment building, a team of lawyers recently secured a victory for the 63-year-old tenant that has lasting implications for other similarly situated residents.

  • August 14, 2020

    Masks, Cleaning Rules Vary As Immigration Courts Reopen

    Immigration lawyer Eileen Blessinger gave her client, an asylum-seeker with severe past trauma, a homemade mask with green clovers on it to wear during his immigration court hearing on Tuesday, to give him the "luck of the Irish," she said.

  • August 14, 2020

    Utah High Court OKs Experiment To Test New Law Models

    Utah will try out new law practice business models that allow for more participation by nonlawyers after the state Supreme Court unanimously OK'd a standing order that goes into effect Friday authorizing a pilot program aimed at improving access to justice in the state.

  • August 09, 2020

    High Court Clash Shines Light On Virus's Threat To Prisoners

    A U.S. Supreme Court decision that frees a California jail from implementing stricter health measures amid the coronavirus pandemic comes as advocates and health experts warn that such facilities are a "powder keg" for COVID-19 and that authorities must do more to prevent outbreaks.

Expert Analysis

  • 11th Circ. Ruling Doesn't Lower Qualified Immunity Bar

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    While a video recording in Cantu v. City of Dothan — a recent Eleventh Circuit case involving a fatal shooting by a police officer — allowed the plaintiffs to clear the difficult qualified immunity hurdle, the court's ruling does not make it easier for most victims to surmount the defense, says Adriana Collado-Hudak at Greenspoon Marder.

  • Reforming Public Defense Is Crucial For Criminal Justice

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    By resisting investment in public defender offices, states and counties are overlooking the best opportunity to ensure justice for vulnerable criminal defendants and ferret out police, prosecutors and judges who cut corners — but there is some movement on the ground that warrants cautious optimism, says Jonathan Rapping at Atlanta's John Marshall Law School.

  • COVID-19 Crisis Should Steer NY Toward Better Court System

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    Over the last six months, it has become clear that many New York court proceedings can happen remotely, and we can use these new technological capabilities to create a more humane, efficient and economically responsible court system, says Joseph Frumin at The Legal Aid Society.

  • Pretrial Risk Assessment Is Biased And Indefensible

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    The Conference of Chief Justices' continuing support for the use of problematic pretrial risk assessment algorithms designed to predict criminal behavior has exacerbated disparities in the justice system and has likely increased incarceration across the U.S., says Jeffrey Clayton at the American Bail Coalition.

  • To Eliminate Food Inequality, We Must Confront The Past

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    To tackle low-income communities' decadeslong struggle with access to healthy food, which the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated, we must first understand how food deserts are a product of policies that perpetuate racial segregation, says Jessica Giesen at Kelley Kronenberg.

  • Cincinnati's Progress Can Be A Model For 2020 Police Reform

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    Cincinnati has come a long way since the 2001 unrest following the police killings of two unarmed Black men, and the city's comprehensive revision of police practices can inform local and state policymakers seeking a way forward from the current turmoil, says former Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken now at Calfee Halter.

  • Legal Deserts Threaten Justice In Rural America

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    Many small towns and rural counties have few lawyers or none at all, which threatens the notion of justice for all Americans and demands creative solutions from legislators, bar associations and law schools, says Patricia Refo, president of the American Bar Association.

  • Uncertainties In Gerrymandering Jurisprudence Are Unfair

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    With the decennial census underway and the corresponding redistricting cycle closely approaching, it is critical that we examine the current state of gerrymandering jurisprudence and how those challenging a redistricting plan as racially motivated have very little recourse, says Tal Aburos at Levine Kellogg.

  • Minn. Should Consider Another Charge In George Floyd Case

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    The Minnesota prosecutors who have charged Derek Chauvin with felony murder for the death of George Floyd are running the risk that the case will be dismissed on solid but esoteric grounds — while ignoring a different murder charge that would stand up to legal scrutiny, says Kyron Huigens at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

  • How We Can Equip Our Future Lawyers To Confront Injustice

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    Law professors must fill gaps in the U.S. legal curriculum by teaching cases and legal theories that can help students understand how the legal system and institutional structures perpetuate inequalities, says Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

  • US Has A Legal Obligation To Provide Reparations For Slavery

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    The United States can no longer foreclose the possibility of recompense for African American victims of its legacy of racism while maintaining its international leadership on such issues as human rights and respect for the rule of law, say Arif Ali and David Attanasio at Dechert and Camilo Sanchez at the University of Virginia School of Law.

  • NY Ethics Rule Change Is Good News For Public Interest Attys

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    Lawyers have always bumped up against a professional conduct rule that prevents them from providing financial help to low-income clients, but New York's pandemic-prompted exception to the rule is a positive step toward mitigating the many hidden expenses that separate rich and poor litigants, say Sateesh Nori and Anita Desai at the Legal Aid Society.

  • History Tells Us Black Americans Need Better Legal Protection

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    Eliminating the legacy of slavery will not be the work of a day or a year, but there are concrete measures Congress can and should take immediately to extend the protection of the law to all Americans, says Jeff Powell at Duke University School of Law.

  • Okla. Offers Glimpse Of Eviction Challenges Amid Pandemic

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    Even in a small state such as Oklahoma, one of the first to reopen amid the pandemic, courthouses are facing the herculean challenge of conducting an escalating number of eviction cases under great restrictions — and it will be worse in larger states, says Keri Norris at LegalShield.

  • How Attys Can Help As Addiction Cases Rise Post-Pandemic

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    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.

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