Access to Justice

  • February 16, 2024

    Inmate Suicides Linked To Federal Prison Bureau's Failures

    Federal prisons have for years been plagued by "a multitude of operational failures" that have resulted in inmates dying, many of them by suicide, a federal watchdog has found.

  • February 15, 2024

    What Rescheduling Pot Would Mean For Criminal Justice Reform

    While federal drug enforcers mull a recommendation from health regulators to loosen restrictions on marijuana, criminal justice reformers are warning that rescheduling the drug would not realize President Joe Biden's campaign promise to decriminalize marijuana.

  • February 14, 2024

    San Francisco's Ankle Monitor Rules Put On Hold

    A federal judge in California has halted the San Francisco Sheriff's Office from enforcing rules that forced criminal defendants released pretrial under electronic monitoring to agree to be subjected to warrantless and suspicionless searches at any time and allow their GPS data to be shared among law enforcement agencies, court documents show.

  • February 13, 2024

    Colo. Justices Struggle To Draw Lines On Jury Race Bias Rule

    Colorado Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that current rules allow prosecutors to improperly strike people of color from juries for reasons linked to their race, but they grappled with whether they could revise the standard without going too far.

  • February 13, 2024

    4th Circ. Won't Upend Life Sentence Over Trump Phone Call

    The Fourth Circuit refused Tuesday to disturb the life sentence of a man convicted of murder and drug trafficking, holding that even if former President Donald Trump said he intended to commute the sentence during a phone call, that intent isn't enough.

  • February 13, 2024

    Milbank, Perlmutter Center Pair Up To Fight Injustices In Court

    Milbank LLP has pledged $1 million to create an exoneration and resentencing review unit at Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law's Perlmutter Center for Legal Justice as part of an alliance aimed at fighting inequities in the criminal justice system, the firm said Tuesday.

  • February 12, 2024

    BigLaw Slams Hochul Plan To Divert Client Trust Interest Cash

    A long list of BigLaw attorneys, firm leaders and legal groups have urged New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to reconsider her plan to divert $100 million in interest earned on lawyer trust accounts that typically goes toward legal aid for low-income New Yorkers, calling the move "misguided" and cautioning that it could create "an existential threat" to civil legal services.

  • February 09, 2024

    New York Teacher Pays $75K For Mock Slave Auction Harm

    A northern New York teacher will pay $75,000 for holding a mock slave auction of Black students in her classroom, settling a federal suit over a lesson a 10-year-old student's mother said emotionally damaged her son.

  • February 08, 2024

    NYC Police Union Can't 'Veto' NYPD Protest Deal, Judge Says

    A federal judge on Wednesday shot down a bid by New York City's largest police union to block a sweeping reform of police protocols for handling protests, saying the union could not torpedo a settlement that ended a high-profile, sprawling legal case arising out of the 2020 demonstrations against police brutality.

  • February 07, 2024

    Fla. Courts' Fines And Fees Trap Poor In Debt, ABA Finds

    The public defense group of the American Bar Association on Wednesday released a comprehensive report lambasting the fines and fees system in Florida's county-level misdemeanor court system, recommending the courts eliminate so-called user fees and establish an "ability-to-pay standard."

  • February 06, 2024

    Electrocution, Firing Squad Aren't Cruel, SC High Court Told

    The government of South Carolina told the state's top court Tuesday that executing death row prisoners by electrocution or firing squad does not violate the state's constitution because there isn't sufficient evidence that those methods are either too painful, gruesome or out of step with what society at large accepts.

  • February 02, 2024

    How Court Fees Can Keep Poor NYers From Inheriting Homes

    Inheriting property in New York means going through the state surrogate’s court system, where filing fees can run more than $1,000. While state law allows low-income residents to have their fees waived, legal aid attorneys say that courts sometimes refuse to apply it.

  • February 02, 2024

    Birmingham, Ala., Hit with $4.5M Verdict Over Police Shooting

    An Alabama federal jury hit the city of Birmingham with a $4.5 million verdict over a fatal police shooting, finding that a city officer violated the constitutional rights of two people when he fired upon them while they were immobilized in a vehicle at the end of a car chase.

  • February 02, 2024

    Pushing To Make The Formerly Incarcerated A Protected Class

    After a pair of formerly incarcerated activists helped convince local leaders in Atlanta to extend anti-discrimination protections to people with criminal records by making them a legally protected class, they and others are now working to get more cities — and eventually maybe the federal government — to do the same.

  • February 02, 2024

    ACLU Atty On How To Protect Civil Liberties In The AI Era

    Because artificial intelligence and algorithmic systems often operate in the shadows, there's a new need for legislation, regulation and enforcement to ensure the technology doesn't undercut civil liberties by engaging in discrimination in housing, education or employment, according to Cody Venzke, senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • February 02, 2024

    3 BigLaw Firms Guide Trans Rights Groups In Pending Merger

    A trio of large law firms are providing pro bono representation to help two national transgender civil rights organizations navigate a planned merger that the groups' leaders say will amplify their voices as they advocate for trans people across the country.

  • February 02, 2024

    Law360 Seeks Members For Its 2024 Editorial Boards

    Law360 is looking for avid readers of its publications to serve as members of its 2024 editorial advisory boards.

  • January 25, 2024

    High Court Splits In Refusal To Stay Ala.'s Nitrogen Execution

    The U.S. Supreme Court declined Thursday night to intervene in Alabama's second attempt to execute an inmate who previously survived a botched lethal injection, with the court's three liberal justices saying they would have heard the man's claims that he was being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

  • January 25, 2024

    Seattle Settles BLM Protesters' Police Brutality Suit For $10M

    The city of Seattle has agreed to a $10 million settlement to end a lawsuit brought by more than 50 protesters who say they were brutalized by its police force during Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the summer of 2020.

  • January 24, 2024

    10th Circ. Rules Counsel Duped Client Into Guilty Plea

    In a precedential ruling, the Tenth Circuit has allowed a Black Oklahoma man to withdraw his guilty plea on felony possession of ammunition charges, determining that his court-appointed lawyer incorrectly told him he would not face an impartial jury of his peers, thus robbing him of his constitutional rights.

  • January 24, 2024

    Justices Won't Stop Ala.'s 2nd Attempt To Execute Prisoner

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to pause the looming execution of an Alabama prisoner who survived the state's previous attempt to kill him via injection, allowing Alabama to perform the nation's first execution using nitrogen gas.

  • January 23, 2024

    Full 5th Circ. Probes Ruling Against Miss. Lifelong Voting Ban

    The whole U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday aggressively questioned whether a three-judge panel of the same court was correct in finding in August that a Mississippi lifelong voting ban for people convicted of certain felonies violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "cruel and unusual" punishment.

  • January 22, 2024

    High Court Will Review Okla. Inmate's Innocence Claim

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the case of an Oklahoma death row inmate who defense attorneys and the state's attorney general agree was wrongfully convicted of the 1997 killing of an Oklahoma City man because prosecutors failed to turn over critical information about their key witness.

  • January 19, 2024

    For Immigrants, Gun Rights Debate Goes Beyond Firearms

    Last month, for the first time, a federal court found that a long-standing law banning gun possession by unauthorized immigrants violates the Second Amendment. As similar challenges play out around the country, the legal and political backdrop of the case has caught the attention of legal scholars, who see in the right to be armed a fundamental question about noncitizens’ belonging in the nation and their ability to exercise other constitutional rights.

  • January 19, 2024

    How Bass Berry Helped Free 3 Wrongfully Convicted Men

    Working alongside the Tennessee Innocence Project, Bass Berry & Sims PLC committed more than 4,000 hours of pro bono work to challenge the wrongful convictions of three Black men. Thanks to those efforts, Wayne Burgess, Artis Whitehead and Thomas Clardy all walked free last year after collectively spending 62 years behind bars.

Expert Analysis

  • Inside Immigration Court: Making The Case For Bond Release

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    Immigration Judge Samuel Cole offers a guide to help attorneys practicing in immigration court — against a backdrop of high stakes and fast-moving dockets — better prepare for bond hearings, so proceedings run more smoothly and with less delay.

  • LA County Should Loosen Strict Reentry Program Criteria

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    Los Angeles County’s recent fair chance ordinance proposal is an important step toward reducing recidivism, but the county should also make its reentry programs available to all formerly incarcerated individuals and focus on prerelease job training, say Sophia Lowe, Eleanor Pearson and Samuel Mistrano at USC.

  • Why Trump Sexual Abuse Verdict May Be Hard To Replicate

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    Survivors of sexual assault may be emboldened to file suit after writer E. Jean Carroll’s trial victory against former President Donald Trump, but before assigning too much significance to the verdict, it’s worth noting that the case’s unique constellation of factors may make it the exception rather than the rule, says Jessica Roth at Cardozo School of Law.

  • New Ideas For Using Litigation Finance To Close Justice Gap

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    Bob Koneck at Woodsford outlines new ways in which the growing litigation finance industry could work with foundations, law firms and schools to address the urgent access to justice crisis.

  • Meeting The Legal Aid Needs Of Human Trafficking Survivors

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    Human trafficking survivors have a wide range of unmet legal needs, but there are several ways law firms and attorneys can provide more comprehensive and trauma-informed support, say Sarah Dohoney Byrne at Moore & Van Allen and Renata Parras at Paul Hastings.

  • Broader Problems Remain After Justices' DNA Test Ruling

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week in Reed v. Goertz straightforwardly resolves a statute of limitations question on post-conviction DNA testing, but it does not address the underlying issue that judges remain hostile to granting access to new evidence of innocence, much less relief based on that new evidence, says Brandon Garrett at Duke University.

  • It's Time For Lawyers To Stand Up For Climate Justice

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    The anniversary this week of the Deepwater Horizon disaster offers an opportunity for attorneys to embrace the practice of just transition lawyering — leveraging our skills to support communities on the front lines of climate change and environmental catastrophe as they pursue rebuilding and transformation, says Amy Laura Cahn at Taproot Earth.

  • Lessons On Litigating Wrongful Death Cases Against The BOP

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    With the process of litigating wrongful death claims against the Federal Bureau of Prisons littered with roadblocks, attorneys at HWG share some key lessons for navigating these challenges to ensure families can pursue justice for loved ones who died in custody.

  • Eviction Cases Need Tiered Legal Help, Not Unlimited Counsel

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    The concept of right to counsel in civil cases, particularly in the context of evictions, is hotly debated, but rather than giving every tenant full representation regardless of the merits of their case, we should be focused on ensuring that everyone has the right amount of legal help, says Bob Glaves at the Chicago Bar Foundation.

  • US Self-Defense Law Is Neither Overly Harsh Nor Disappearing

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    The inaccurate caricatures of U.S. self-defense law distract us from engaging in a more fully informed debate about the appropriate role of, and justification for, self-defense in a modern, pluralistic society, says Markus Funk at Perkins Coie.

  • High Court Death Penalty Ruling Presents A Troubling Future

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    While the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Cruz v. Arizona — which said the Arizona high court misinterpreted state criminal procedure and warranted federal review was — came as a pleasant surprise in its prioritization of due process, the 5-4 ruling also portends poorly for the future with a low bar in death penalty cases, says Christopher Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • What Landmark Ruling Means For Civil Rights Suits In Nevada

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    The Nevada Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Mack v. Williams ends the use of qualified immunity in the state, and though the defense will likely be revived by the Legislature, the decision provides a framework for litigants to hold state actors accountable for violations of state constitutional protections, says Austin Barnum at Clark Hill.

  • We Can Ensure Public Safety And Still Reduce Incarceration

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    Recent progress toward reducing jail and prison populations remains fragile as tough-on-crime policies reemerge, but American history shows that we don’t have to choose between less violence and lower incarceration rates — we can have both, says Jeffrey Bellin at William & Mary Law School.

  • War On Drugs Is Cautionary Tale For Abortion Prosecution

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    As state abortion bans proliferate, prosecutors have an obligation to learn from the devastating lessons of the war on drugs — which disproportionately affected communities of color — and vow not to prosecute individuals’ reproductive health care-related decisions, says Dekalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston.

  • The Most-Read Access To Justice Law360 Guest Articles Of 2022

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    Law360 guest experts weighed in on a broad slate of emerging access to justice issues last year, ranging from evidence of ineffective counsel to opportunities for nonlawyers to provide legal help and the presumption of innocence.

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