President Joe Biden’s first 100 days have been filled with pressing issues demanding his attention, including the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. Here’s a look at what progress he has made on the criminal justice reform front.
Criminal justice reform has gained momentum in the U.S. with state and federal lawmakers pushing for new legislation that would reduce incarceration, but some lawmakers and advocates argue that crime victims are being forgotten in these reforms.
A Minnesota state court is doing everything it can to protect the privacy of the jurors who will decide the fate of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd. But their answers to questions in jury selection provided a glimpse into who they are.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of the criminal justice system, leading to some positive changes, some missed opportunities and several lessons to be learned, according to criminal justice experts. Here is how it affected law enforcement and incarceration.
A Minnesota federal grand jury has indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers with civil rights violations for their lethal arrest of George Floyd, which sparked a nationwide racial justice movement, according to documents unsealed Friday.
The Biden administration's 180-degree turn in a case about crack sentencing disparities appears to have caught several U.S. Supreme Court justices off guard, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett pressing a government attorney during oral arguments Tuesday to explain the Department of Justice's process for changing positions.
New Mexico is the latest state to enact legislation seeking to curtail a judicial doctrine that many say has effectively barred police officers from facing liability for many types of constitutional violations. The move signals a state-led front in a growing movement.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that juveniles convicted of murder can be sentenced to life in prison without parole without being found "permanently incorrigible" is a marked reversal for the justices, who had been limiting harsher penalties for minors in recent years, attorneys say.
People working to end anti-Black racism in the United States' criminal justice system recognize that the struggle does not end with addressing officers' use of force. For Jamila "Jami" Hodge, it also requires tackling prosecutorial biases in tandem with both the government and the Black and brown communities most devastated by state violence.
The prosecution of a refugee father over his son’s death on their journey to Europe is part of a larger effort to criminalize migration in the area, which is raising alarms for human rights groups.
Several U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday seemed opposed to widening the path to reentry for immigrants who were previously deported for a crime that would no longer merit deportation.
Juveniles convicted of murder can be sentenced to life in prison without parole without being found to be "permanently incorrigible" by a judge, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
After less than 12 hours of deliberation, a Minnesota state jury on Tuesday found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd.
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared unconvinced on Tuesday that an appeals court reviewing a case for plain error based on an intervening high court decision should not be allowed to reach outside the trial record.
Jurors deciding the fate of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, have plenty of evidence to sift through, including videos of Floyd's death and testimony from more than 40 witnesses. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Chauvin's trial.
David Alan Sklansky’s career as a labor attorney, federal prosecutor and, now, law school professor showed him that violence is inconsistently defined and applied by U.S. courts and law enforcement. In his latest book, he investigates what led to flimsy definitions of violent crime, as well as the injustices that stem from them.
President Joe Biden declared April "Second Chance Month" acknowledging that incarcerated people deserve second chances, but he hasn't given second chances to 100 incarcerated women by granting them clemency, according to former criminal defense attorney turned activist Andrea James.
The city of New York on April 5 committed to providing all family shelters in the five boroughs with wireless internet to allow students housed in the shelter systems access to remote education during the pandemic, following a settlement obtained by attorneys from Milbank LLP and the Legal Aid Society.
New Jersey's attorney general announced the creation of an online database this month that tracks how often police officers are using force, but some experts say the state is still lagging behind many others when it comes to police accountability.
Female attorneys and judges in criminal justice face sexism and discrimination similar to that faced by women throughout the legal industry, but the nature of their work intensifies these issues, a panel of women said at an American Bar Association webinar.
A case involving a Brooklyn man who sued the New York Police Department on misconduct allegations, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, has the potential for restricting — or broadening — access to malicious prosecutions actions around the country for the foreseeable future.
A new academic paper finds electing not to prosecute nonviolent misdemeanor defendants may reduce the likelihood of their subsequent criminal activity, a conclusion that comes as a wave of progressive prosecutors push for new approaches to handling low-level offenses.
Joe Ligon was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole at the age of 15, in 1953. By the time he got out 68 years later, he was the longest-serving incarcerated person to ever be convicted as a minor.
A criminal defense lawyers group in New York says that "coercive" prosecution tactics pushing criminal defendants to plead guilty are largely responsible for killing jury trials, hurting the constitutional rights of defendants.
A group of attorneys from Wiley, Pillsbury and the ACLU of Maryland recently secured a settlement bringing a host of reforms to the Maryland parole system and how it considers parole for inmates serving life sentences for crimes committed as juveniles.
JusticeText co-founder Devshi Mehrotra started building software to support public defenders' work when she was a senior in college. In an interview with Law360, she explains the origin story behind JusticeText and how technology can support criminal defense.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday asked Adam Mortara, one of the lead lawyers in the anti-affirmative action lawsuit against Harvard, to step in as amicus counsel in a case over sentence reductions for offenses involving crack — his third time filling such a role at the court.
Law360 is pleased to announce the formation of its 2021 Access to Justice Editorial Advisory Board.
Here, Law360 takes a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected courts and communities.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision to weaken gun regulations in the pending New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett could mix with the court's existing precedents regarding police use of force to form a particularly lethal cocktail for police violence against Black people, says Christopher Wright Durocher at the American Constitution Society.
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent refusal to limit juvenile life-without-parole sentences in Jones v. Mississippi is a break from a line of cases that cut back on harsh punishments for children and reflects a court that is comfortable with casual treatment of minors' constitutional rights, says Brandon Garrett at Duke University School of Law.
In order to ensure equity and efficiency in controlling the pandemic, states should use race as a factor in vaccine prioritization — and U.S. Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action and racial integration offers some guidance on how such policies might hold up in court, say law professors Maya Manian and Seema Mohapatra.
As the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd nears closing arguments, the prosecution still faces an uphill battle, but what sets this case apart is its potential to change the discourse on racial justice and policing, says Christopher Brown at The Brown Firm.
Underlying calls for defunding the police and numerous other proposals for criminal justice reform is the belief that generally reducing adverse outcomes will tend to reduce racial disparities, but statistical analysis shows the opposite is true, says attorney James Scanlan.
With the slow crawl of federal immigration reform, people vulnerable to immigration status threats from domestic abusers continue to feel the effects of hostile Trump administration policies, but 2019 amendments to the D.C. blackmail statute reveal the ways state laws can provide more effective relief, say Ashley Carter and Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Several states' proposed revisions to petition drive rules would make ballot initiatives harder to pass and rein in citizens' right to enact important policy changes, says Melanie Wilson Rughani at Crowe & Dunlevy.
Attorney general nominee Merrick Garland is an encouraging choice for criminal justice reform advocates, but the work of transforming our racially fraught institutions falls largely on prosecutors and defenders, say former prosecutor Derick Dailey, now at Davis & Gilbert, and public defender Brandon Ruben.
The U.S. Department of Justice's recent rescission of a 2017 memo that required prosecutors to charge federal defendants with the offenses that would carry the most severe penalties should be welcomed by prosecutors associations as supporting prosecutorial discretion, even when the new policy may lead to leniency, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.
President Joe Biden's recent executive order to phase out the federal government's use of private prisons is a welcome start to what needs to be a broad reform of the prison system — where profit-based incentives to incarcerate run deep, says Jeffrey Bornstein at Rosen Bien.
On the heels of nationwide calls to address systemic racism and inequality, five sitting state and federal judges shed light on the disparities that exist in the justice system and how to guard against bias in this series of Law360 guest articles.
Many state courts' failure to gather basic data on sentencing and other important criminal justice metrics frustrates efforts to keep checks on judges’ implicit biases and reduce racial disparities, say Justice Michael Donnelly at the Ohio Supreme Court and Judge Pierre Bergeron at the Ohio First District Court of Appeals.
Judges should take into consideration the several points of law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion — from traffic stops to charging decisions and sentencing recommendations — that often lead to race-based disparate treatment before a criminal defendant even reaches the courthouse, say Judge Juan Villaseñor and Laurel Quinto at Colorado's Eighth Judicial District Court.
To close the diversity gap between the judiciary and the litigants that regularly appear in criminal courts, institutions including police departments, prosecutor offices and defense law firms must be committed to advancing Black and Latino men, says New York Supreme Court Justice Erika Edwards.
The U.S. Supreme Court must be careful not to undo 15 years of Eighth Amendment case law and expose young adults to unconstitutional life without parole sentences in its upcoming decision in Jones v. Mississippi, says Marsha Levick at the Juvenile Law Center.