Access to Justice

  • July 21, 2019

    Do Atty Hopefuls With Criminal Records Get A Fair Shake?

    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.

  • July 21, 2019

    Jails Filled With Women Who Can’t Make Bail, Lawmakers Told

    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.

  • July 21, 2019

    In First Step’s Wake, States Tinker With Mandatory Minimums

    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.

  • July 21, 2019

    Mayer Brown Wins End To Man's Life Sentence For Joyriding

    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.

  • July 21, 2019

    Gag Orders In Cop Settlements Hit 4th Circ. Barricade

    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.

  • July 19, 2019

    Courts Bolster Compassionate Release Under First Step

    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.

  • July 14, 2019

    Legal Groups Call For Independent Immigration Courts

    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.

  • July 14, 2019

    Pa. High Court Stokes Bail Reform Hopes In Philly

    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.

  • July 14, 2019

    Amanda Kool On Solving America’s Rural Justice Gap

    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.

  • July 14, 2019

    Why An Attorney May Not Be Enough In Child Welfare Cases

    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.

  • July 14, 2019

    NY’s High Rate Of Locking Up Parolees Gets Fresh Look

    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.

  • July 7, 2019

    To The Victors Go Few, If Any, Spoils In Wage And Hour Suits

    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.

  • July 7, 2019

    Kansas' Take On Insanity Defense To Face High Court Test

    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.

  • July 7, 2019

    Are Hours The Best Way To Measure Pro Bono Success?

    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?

  • July 7, 2019

    Haynes And Boone Helps Reunite Detained Salvadoran Family

    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.

  • June 30, 2019

    Jo-Ann Wallace On The 'Tipping Point' For Civil Justice Reform

    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.

  • June 30, 2019

    Why Aiding Prisoner Reentry Demands 'A Bigger Effort'

    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.

  • June 30, 2019

    Legal Funder Eyes Senate After House Backs Budget Increase

    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.

  • June 30, 2019

    Civilian Board Wins Back Muscle To Probe Police Misconduct

    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.

  • June 27, 2019

    Cops Can Draw Blood From Inert Suspects, Justices 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.

  • June 23, 2019

    High Court Ruling May Spark More Piggyback Prosecutions

    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.

  • June 23, 2019

    For NYC Defenders, Pay Promise Is Vague But Encouraging

    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.

  • June 23, 2019

    Kirkland Helps Change Tune In Opera Singer's Clash With City

    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.

  • June 21, 2019

    Justices Nix Conviction For 'Relentless' Black Juror Exclusion

    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.

  • June 20, 2019

    Justices Take Pragmatic Tack On Narrow Civil Rights Issue

    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.

Expert Analysis

  • Risk Assessment Tools Are Not A Failed 'Minority Report'

    Author Photo

    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.

  • Looted-Art Heirs May Find A Sympathetic Forum In NY Courts

    Author Photo

    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.

  • Addressing Modern Slavery Inside And Outside The UK

    Author Photo

    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.

  • High Court's Juror Exclusion Ruling Does Not Do Enough

    Author Photo

    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.

  • Artisanal Miners' Roadblocks To Justice: Is A Path Clearing?

    Author Photo

    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.

  • High Court Ruling Highlights Double Jeopardy Complications

    Author Photo

    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.

  • High Court's 'Separate Sovereigns' Ruling Is Good For Tribes

    Author Photo

    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.

  • Border Phone Search Questions Continue In Federal Court

    Author Photo

    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.

  • US Misdemeanor System Should Honor Principles Of Justice

    Author Photo

    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.

  • Does Multidistrict Litigation Deny Plaintiffs Due Process?

    Author Photo

    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.

  • NLRB Case Hinders Workers' Path To Justice

    Author Photo

    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.

  • Immigration Enforcement Under Trump Neglects Rule Of Law

    Author Photo

    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.

  • Calif. Lawmakers Should Stay Out Of USC Sex Abuse Case

    Author Photo

    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.

  • Utah's Online Dispute Platform Is Streamlining Small Claims

    Author Photo

    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.

  • The First Step Act Is A Major Step For Sentencing Reform

    Author Photo

    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.