Access to Justice

  • July 18, 2023

    Illinois High Court OKs 1st Law In Nation Abolishing Cash Bail

    The Illinois Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a 2021 state law eliminating cash bail and strictly limiting pretrial incarceration in the state is constitutional, overturning a lower court's decision that had put the legislation in limbo.

  • July 17, 2023

    Mich. Justices Say Peremptory Strike Errors Warrant New Trial

    A divided Michigan Supreme Court held for the first time that erroneous denial of a criminal defendant's peremptory strikes during jury selection is a flaw serious enough to automatically require a new trial.

  • July 17, 2023

    Mich. Chief Justice Pushes For Diminished Capacity Defense

    The Michigan Supreme Court's chief justice said the state's ban on using a diminished mental capacity defense was misguided and urged the state Legislature to rethink an "all-or-nothing approach" that recognizes only legal insanity as a defense to criminal responsibility.

  • July 11, 2023

    New Program To Help Noncitizen Soldiers Become Naturalized

    Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP has launched a new fellowship to guide highly skilled noncitizen soldiers and veterans through the naturalization process and usher them across the finish line, after the firm won litigation ensuring the soldiers and vets can apply for citizenship that was promised in exchange for their service.

  • July 10, 2023

    Wash. To Pay $100M For Pretrial Mental Health Exam Delays

    A Seattle federal judge has slammed a state agency for committing "inexcusable" constitutional rights violations by letting people with mental illness languish in local jails while awaiting trial, ordering the state to pay $100 million for violating a class action settlement over delays in court-ordered competency services. 

  • July 10, 2023

    'Patently Unsafe': Latest Report Details Violence At NYC Jails

    A video showing confrontational officers played at a new recruit ceremony and posted publicly on May 19. (Court Documents)

  • July 07, 2023

    'The Wire' Creator Urges Leniency In Actor's Fentanyl Death

    The co-creator behind the HBO drama series "The Wire" urged a New York federal judge to show compassion to one of the men who pled guilty in the overdose death of Michael K. Williams, saying the actor's own stance against mass incarceration and the drug war spurred his letter.

  • July 07, 2023

    From Felon To Firm Owner, Mass. Atty Aids Inmate IP Pursuits

    After opening up about his own criminal background and his unconventional path into the legal industry, intellectual property lawyer Keegan Caldwell is now helping incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people file patent applications.

  • July 07, 2023

    Justices Eye Intersection Of Domestic Violence, Gun Rights

    In the fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case centering on the intersection of gun rights and domestic violence. Legal experts say it could be one of several cases involving the Second Amendment the court will be called to decide following its landmark ruling on gun rights last year.

  • July 07, 2023

    As States Purge Medicaid Rolls, Legal Aid Groups Step Up

    With millions of Americans expected to lose Medicaid coverage as states review benefit eligibility following the end of COVID-19 pandemic-related protections, legal aid organizations are working to raise awareness, help people appeal terminations of coverage and educate beneficiaries about their rights.

  • July 07, 2023

    Sheppard Mullin Helps Afghans Put Down New Roots In Calif.

    Attorneys at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP are helping Afghan refugees who have supported U.S. interests in Afghanistan and resettled in the San Diego area win asylum so they can stay in the United States permanently. Here, Law360 speaks with Sheppard Mullin partner Elizabeth S. Balfour and associate Matthew Rebelo about the firm's ongoing efforts.

  • July 07, 2023

    BigLaw Attorneys On Navigating LGBTQ Asylum Cases

    Taking on asylum cases for LGBTQ immigrants can truly be life-or-death in many cases, with asylees facing persecution, criminalization and even death as a result of their sexual orientation and gender identity in their home countries.

  • July 07, 2023

    Sick Prisoner Claiming Inadequate Care Seeks Release

    A man serving 18 years in prison after collecting more than $9 million from Medicare and Medicaid while banned for fraud urged a New Jersey federal judge to release him early, claiming the U.S. prison system can't manage his severe medical needs.

  • July 07, 2023

    Latham Partners Help Legal Aid DC Launch Endowment

    A new $5 million endowment established by Legal Aid DC, with the help of supporters including Latham & Watkins LLP, will boost efforts to provide services to low-income residents, in a move that aims to ensure long-term financial stability in times of uncertainty.

  • July 06, 2023

    Probe Finds Failure To Punish 'Torture,' Racism In Ill. Prison

    The Federal Bureau of Prisons has failed to punish administrators of a high-security federal penitentiary in Illinois for what have been described as acts of torture and a culture of "rampant racism," according to a report released Thursday by advocates for inmate rights.

  • July 03, 2023

    Law360 Podcasts Untangle A Week Of Blockbuster Rulings

    The U.S. Supreme Court wrapped up its term last week with a series of blockbuster rulings striking down affirmative action and the government's ambitious plan to eliminate billions of dollars in federal student loan debt, and siding with a website designer opposed to same-sex weddings and a religious former postal worker seeking workplace accommodations.

  • July 03, 2023

    NJ Gets Rid Of Public Defender Fees With New Law

    New Jersey residents will no longer have to pay fees, liens and warrants issued for public defender services in the state, thanks to a bill newly signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.

  • June 30, 2023

    Justices Pass On Acquitted Conduct Review — For Now

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday declined to take up several cases challenging the practice of acquitted conduct sentencing as the U.S. Sentencing Commission reassesses the controversial practice, but multiple justices made it clear that future high court review may be in the cards.

  • June 30, 2023

    High Court To Look At Gun Rights In Domestic Violence Cases

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it will rule on whether a federal law forbidding people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms violates the Constitution, one year after issuing a landmark decision that expanded gun rights.

  • June 29, 2023

    6th Circ. Says Private Juvenile Lockup Must Face Death Suit

    A split panel of the Sixth Circuit has reversed a Michigan federal judge's dismissal of a civil rights case brought against a private juvenile detention center operator, with the majority ruling that the complaint over a teenage detainee's suicide sufficiently alleged that the company is a state actor.

  • June 28, 2023

    Are Attys Being Held Accountable For Client Sexual Contact?

    When the Missouri Supreme Court recently declined to disbar an attorney accused of sexually assaulting his clients, it was not an anomaly. A Law360 investigation of attorney discipline records found that of more than 100 attorneys disciplined for having sexual contact with clients, the vast majority were allowed to keep their law licenses.

  • June 28, 2023

    ACLU Wants NJ To Push Forward On Incarceration Reforms

    The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey urged state officials on Wednesday to continue efforts to decrease incarceration by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, expanding clemency and compassionate release, and decriminalizing drug offenses.

  • June 28, 2023

    NJ Judge Forced To Quit For Airing Bias Concerns, Suit Says

    A New Jersey municipal judge suffered retaliation in the form of lost disability accommodation and was forced to resign after he made widely publicized allegations that local courts discriminated against Hispanic defendants, the jurist alleges in a new lawsuit.

  • June 23, 2023

    Atty Bias Eyed As New Path For Mass. Conviction Challenges

    A recent Massachusetts high court decision to toss a Black Muslim man's conviction based on his defense attorney's racist and xenophobic online posts is being hailed as a win for racial justice, and advocates say it could lead to other cases being challenged on grounds of bias by appointed counsel.

  • June 23, 2023

    More Cases Involving Convicted Ex-Cops Axed In Manhattan

    While the Manhattan District Attorney's Office announced this month that it would throw out over 300 mostly misdemeanor convictions tied to discredited New York City cops, information gathered by local advocates suggests prosecutors have a long road ahead of them in accounting for damage done by police officers they no longer trust.

Expert Analysis

  • Remote Court Procedures Can Help Domestic Abuse Victims

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    Courts have recently adopted remote procedures to make domestic violence victims feel safer during the COVID-19 crisis, but they should consider preserving these trauma-sensitive adaptations post-pandemic as well, say Ashley Carter and Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

  • Law Commission's New Idea For Confiscation Orders Is Unfair

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    The recent proposal by the Law Commission of England and Wales to recall prisoners who fail to settle their confiscation orders when they have already served a sentence for nonpayment would, in effect, punish them twice for the same act, says Brian Swan at Stokoe Partnership.

  • Barrett Should Be Questioned On Children's Access To Courts

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    At a time when children's lives are so threatened by avoidable climate change chaos, understanding U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's views on what standing future generations have to seek declaratory relief in Article III courts should be an essential part of her confirmation hearings, says Julia Olson at Our Children's Trust.

  • A Smarter Approach To Measuring Prosecutorial Success

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    To improve their ability to dispense justice, prosecutors should measure the efficacy of their work based on metrics such as caseload distribution, timely case handling and racial disparity trends — instead of the traditionally used conviction rates and number of trials, say Anthony Thompson at the New York University School of Law and Miriam Krinsky at Fair and Just Prosecution.

  • States Shouldn't Hinder Local Gov'ts In COVID-19 Tenant Aid

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    In the face of increasing state preemption and absent other government intervention, states should explicitly allow city and county policymakers to help renters in order to avoid a pandemic-prompted eviction crisis, say Emily Benfer at Wake Forest University School of Law and Nestor Davidson at Fordham University School of Law.

  • An Abuse Of Prosecutorial Discretion In Breonna Taylor Case

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    The prosecution's decision in the Breonna Taylor grand jury proceedings to present a crucial, disputed fact — whether the officers knocked and announced themselves when they arrived at Taylor's apartment — as a settled question represents the partiality police officers often enjoy from prosecutors, says attorney Geoffrey D. Kearney.

  • Immigration Appeals Proposal Would Erode Due Process

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    A recent Trump administration proposal to limit appellate review of immigration cases would eviscerate the few existing legal protections for immigrants and asylum seekers at a time when they are already routinely denied due process in court, says Lynn Pearson at the Tahirih Justice Center.

  • 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.

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