The U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments on Monday will be asked to create a clearer path to punitive damages in certain cases involving state sponsors of terrorism. It’s just the latest chapter in a case that highlights the decadeslong legal battles that terrorist victims and their families often face in trying to recoup damages.
Medical debt collectors are increasingly using courts to arrest and even jail patients who owe hospitals and doctors money, some familiar with that collections process say. And though some states have tried to curtail the practice, they are few and far between, exposing cash-strapped patients to what critics call "a de facto debtors prison."
Twenty-seven times in 27 months, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have dissented from their peers’ refusal to take up an issue that’s divided appellate courts: Can career offenders use a 2016 ruling to challenge their extra-long sentences? For now, the answer depends on where they live.
To the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Derrell Key isn’t the dedicated father and business owner he’s come to define himself as after being released from prison on drug charges seven years ago — he’s just one of hundreds of thousands of people who could land behind bars because of a noncriminal, technical violation of parole or probation terms.
New York lawmakers are taking a closer look at doing away with driver’s license suspensions based on debt, which a New York Law School report this month determined disproportionately impacts minority motorists.
As the rise of school shootings spurs an increase in spending on school police officers, experts at a recent conference said students need more due process protections when those officers handle routine disciplinary matters: Police involvement, they said, should mean attorney involvement too.
As the director of legal services for LA-based Homeboy Industries, Donna Harati helps former gang members and convicted felons rejoin society by working with them on expungements, custody disputes and more. Here, Harati discusses traffic fines, trauma and finding reasons to smile during tough situations.
Most of the algorithms used to assess someone's risk of recidivism before they are released on bail are correct about 60 and 70% of the time — better than a coin flip, but still prone to misclassification, especially in cases that involve people of color. The tools’ potential for error has left stakeholders clashing over their use.
Former felons in the Sunshine State who are fighting a requirement that they pay all outstanding fines and fees before being able to vote may have scored a recent win at the Eleventh Circuit, but with just eight months to go before the general election and the state vowing to battle on, time may be running out for them to cast a ballot in 2020.
The passage of a revised American Bar Association resolution intended to encourage a new look at legal industry regulation and increase access to justice represents a major step forward, even in the absence of any recommended changes on nonlawyer participation in the market, some experts say.
For many survivors of domestic violence, trying to leave an abusive situation presents an array of legal issues, but affordable legal help can be hard to come by. The state of Arizona is hoping to fill that need with a new type of legal adviser.
In Florida, a perennial political battleground, efforts to reenfranchise those with felony convictions have been stymied by requirements that they pay off legal debts before voting. Individual confusion over what people owe and uneven court efforts to help them find out could lead to echoes of the contested 2000 election.
Backers of a New York commission for policing prosecutors are facing hard choices after a court found the watchdog to be in conflict with the state constitution, including whether to erase the group’s authority to hand out punishments altogether.
Last month, an app that allows users to “sue anyone at the press of a button” won recognition for its contribution to legal access from the American Bar Association. Law360 caught up with its creator, 23-year-old Joshua Browder, to learn more about his “robot lawyer.”
A newly signed law in New Jersey allowing victims of violent crime to receive greater compensation for legal fees represents a critical milestone in the Garden State’s efforts to financially support that vulnerable population, who can face mounting costs in the wake of a tragedy, advocates say.
The New Jersey attorney general's recent decision to ban law enforcement in the state from using a controversial facial recognition technology should encourage other governments to pump the brakes and take a harder look at police use of such software, some lawyers say.
Recently released from prison, Demond Weston says life on the outside can make him feel like “a 46-year-old baby learning to walk.” Still, it’s a challenge he welcomes after serving nearly 30 years behind bars for a murder he says he didn’t commit.
Illinois should eliminate cash bail as a step along the "long path toward a fairer criminal justice system," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in his state of the state address, calling for lawmakers to act on the idea in the spring session.
In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial discrimination in jury selection was unconstitutional, and ever since, prosecutors and defense attorneys have been required to provide a “race-neutral” reason when accused of striking jurors unfairly.
In courts where an enormous number of litigants do not have legal counsel, “everything takes dramatically longer,” but some are hopeful that a number of new initiatives approved by the New Mexico Supreme Court will mitigate some of the challenges rural counties face in order to help people access justice in a way that is useful to them and which will lead to a more effective and efficient court system.
A new survey of legal needs in England and Wales found that although a majority of citizens has dealt with a legal issue in the past four years, many people are still uncertain about how to get legal help and many did not get the help they needed, issues that also common in other countries, including the United States.
In “Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System,” Civil Rights Corps founder Alec Karakatsanis argues that “rule of law” is neither objective nor neutral. He spoke with Law360 about the need for radical transformation in the legal industry.
A sharply worded sanction warning by a Fifth Circuit judge about “disorderly” filings in death penalty cases could discourage lawyers from pursuing every legitimate appeal in the court before a client’s execution, experts said.
Kim Gardner, St. Louis’ first black top state prosecutor, has accused the city and its police union of a racist conspiracy to undermine her. Critics say it’s a ploy to distract from a special prosecutor investigation against her office, but experts agree she’s faced an unusual level of scrutiny — and threats.
The long-serving president of the Legal Services Corporation, who recently announced that he is leaving his post atop the country’s largest funder of legal aid, will be remembered for fostering innovation and for increasing LSC’s funding despite calls from the Trump administration to defund it entirely, those in the legal aid community say.
Most attorneys that work specifically to protect children work through nonprofits or legal aid groups, but Florida-based firm Kelley Kronenberg is cutting a different path.
For defense attorneys, talking privately with federally incarcerated clients requires either an in-person visit or a specially requested unmonitored phone call. But a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House aims to increase access by affording attorney client privilege to a more convenient forum: prison emails.
Simpson Thacher attorneys helped win a landmark consent decree to end long-standing discriminatory policing practices in Mississippi’s highly segregated Madison County, where black residents said they were subjected to warrantless searches and targeted roadblocks.
Mississippi prosecutor Doug Evans, who tried defendant Curtis Flowers six times for the same crime, has taken the rare step of recusing himself from the case. With a new attorney general possibly taking over prosecution, and a motion to dismiss pending, Flowers may have “a moment of hope.”
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.
In her new book, "Guilty People," Abbe Smith successfully conveys that seeing ourselves in people who commit crime may be the first step to exacting change in our justice system, says U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa of the District of Arizona.
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.
On topics ranging from public trial rights to electronic monitoring technology to the rules of evidence in the context of sexual harassment trials, 2019 brought a wide array of compelling commentary from the access to justice community.
Raquel Wilson, director of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Office of Education and Sentencing Practice, discusses this year's developments in federal sentencing, including new legislation in the Senate and U.S. Supreme Court cases invalidating certain statutes.
In Odonnell v. Harris County, a Texas federal court ordered that misdemeanor offenders could be released without bail, marking a fundamental deterioration of the Texas criminal justice system, says attorney Randy Adler.
Although they may mean well, federal judges should stop attempting to help criminal defendants get into drug rehabilitation programs by unlawfully sending them to prison for longer than their recommended sentences, says GianCarlo Canaparo at The Heritage Foundation.
In North Carolina, one in seven adults has a suspended driver’s license, but our research suggests that many of them never received actual notice of their license suspension, or of the court proceeding that led to it, making this a fundamentally unfair sanction, say Brandon Garrett, Karima Modjadidi and William Crozier at Duke University.
Dawn Freeman of The Securus Foundation discusses why humanizing the language used to discuss justice-involved individuals is a key aspect of reform and how the foundation’s upcoming campaign will implement this change in mainstream publications and on social media.
If the U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari in Asaro v. U.S. and rules that sentencing judges cannot consider uncharged, dismissed and acquitted conduct, a peculiar and troubling oddity of criminal and constitutional law will finally be rectified, say criminal defense attorney Alan Ellis and sentencing consultant Mark Allenbaugh.