Access to Justice

  • 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.

  • June 23, 2023

    New Maine Law Protects Atty-Client Privilege In Jail Calls

    The Maine Legislature approved a bill this week that seeks to protect attorney-client privilege for incarcerated people using jail phones. The legislation came in response to outrage over recent revelations that authorities had eavesdropped on confidential calls at several jails in the state.

  • June 23, 2023

    How Simpson Thacher Beat Kansas Vote-By-Mail Restrictions

    When Kansas lawmakers enacted legislation that made it a crime for out-of-state groups to send mail-in ballot applications to voters, attorneys with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP sprang into action and recently notched a major First Amendment victory in challenging the law.

  • June 23, 2023

    Minnesota Joins Prosecutor-Led Resentencing Law Movement

    Joining a growing number of states beginning with California in 2018, a newly adopted law in Minnesota is set to give prosecutors a chance to ask courts to resentence convicted criminals who have shown rehabilitation during their time in prison.

  • June 23, 2023

    DC Circ. Judge Tatel To Join Hogan Lovells' Litigation Practice

    After serving for 29 years, Senior D.C. Circuit Judge David S. Tatel will step down from the bench in August to join Hogan Lovells' litigation practice in Washington, where he'll focus on pro bono work.

  • June 23, 2023

    Justices Side With Gov't Over Use Of Redacted Confessions

    The Supreme Court ruled in a split decision Friday that a criminal defendant's constitutional rights were not violated when the trial judge allowed prosecutors to admit into evidence the confession of a non-testifying codefendant, since the defendant's name was redacted and jurors were given limiting instructions.

  • June 22, 2023

    5th Circ. Axes Challenge To Louisiana Bail System

    The Fifth Circuit has sent a Louisiana lawsuit that challenged bail practices in the state back to district court for dismissal, ruling that because relevant challenges were still possible on the state level, the lower federal court had moved too fast when it denied relief.

  • June 22, 2023

    Justices Say No Habeas For Retroactively Innocent Inmates

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that federal prisoners are barred from petitioning federal courts to get their sentences overturned after new case law makes them retroactively innocent, dealing the latest blow to a legal process known as habeas corpus.

  • June 20, 2023

    Young Thug Trial Illustrates System's Strain On Jurors

    Prospective juror No. 1,616 sits in the witness box of the downtown Atlanta courtroom and tells the judge he has three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, making it especially difficult for him to serve in what is expected to be Georgia's longest trial.

  • June 16, 2023

    Justices Say Gun Crime Sentences Can Run Parallel To Others

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled that criminal defendants convicted of certain federal gun crimes could be allowed to serve concurrent sentences if they were also convicted of other crimes, rebuking the government's view that sentences must run consecutively.

  • June 15, 2023

    Wash. High Court Asks If Police Evictions Trigger AG Scrutiny

    Washington Supreme Court justices asked Thursday how far-reaching local civil rights violations needed to be before the state attorney general could get involved, as they considered the state's claims that a small city police force had a practice of illegally evicting residents.

  • June 15, 2023

    Arizona Releases Man Who Spent 29 Years On Death Row

    An Arizona man who spent 29 years on death row for the murder of a little girl he said he didn't commit was freed on Thursday after the state admitted that he was never given a fair trial.

  • June 13, 2023

    Conn. AG Talks Unregulated Cannabis 'Danger,' Abortion

    Explaining that unlicensed and unregulated THC products pose a "danger" because they could subject consumers, especially youths, to medically unsafe doses, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said during a wide-ranging interview with Law360 that his office would continue to target cannabis sellers who try to skirt his state's recreational marijuana laws.  

  • June 08, 2023

    Businesses Sue Seattle Over 2020 Protest Response

    A Seattle-based ice cream chain and a property owner sued the city in federal court this week, accusing officials of encouraging and condoning a protest zone in 2020 that shut down parts of the business's neighborhood, which they say resulted in lost revenue and an illegal taking by the local government.

  • June 07, 2023

    Homeowners Say NY Courts Defy Law On Foreclosure Aid

    Two Brooklyn homeowners accused New York's court administrators and justices of the state's Supreme Court in Brooklyn of failing to implement a state law requiring courts to assess if homeowners who are facing foreclosure and cannot afford an attorney should be given free legal representation, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

  • June 06, 2023

    Legal Ethicists Back Inmate's Innocence Case At High Court

    A group of renowned legal ethics scholars has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of an Oklahoma death row inmate whose murder conviction has been deemed by the state's attorney general to be plagued by errors and possible prosecutorial misconduct, court filings show.

Expert Analysis

  • Legal Aid Needs Law Firm Support Now More Than Ever

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    With the need for pro bono services expected at unprecedented levels in the wake of the pandemic, and funding sources for legal aid organizations under severe stress, law firm leaders need to take measures to fill the gap, says Jeffrey Stone, chairman emeritus at McDermott.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: Cleveland Legal Aid's Colleen Cotter

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    As society continues to adapt to COVID-19, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Colleen Cotter, executive director at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

  • Problems With Tolling The Speedy Trial Act During Pandemic

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    A plethora of federal courts have responded to social distancing requirements by entering blanket orders tolling compliance with Speedy Trial Act deadlines, but because there is no case-by-case analysis of their need and other factors, the orders raise questions about whether such tolling efforts are valid, say attorneys at Winston & Strawn.

  • Guantanamo 9/11 Trial Is A Failure

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    The Guantanamo military commissions — seemingly a contrived attempt to avoid federal criminal court and thereby insulate the CIA from the legal implications of its torture program — appear fatally flawed, so Congress should have the 9/11 defendants tried in civilian criminal court, says Patrick Doherty at Ropes & Gray.

  • Data Is Key To Stopping COVID-19 Spread In Prisons

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    There is an urgent need for state and county officials to publicly share accurate data about COVID-19 testing, infections and deaths in jails and prisons, so that effective, life-saving changes can be made to the criminal justice system, say criminologists Oren Gur, Jacob Kaplan and Aaron Littman.

  • A Proposal For Efficient Post-Pandemic Justice In New York

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    The litigation backlog in state courts due to COVID-19 will make swift, orderly and fair resolution of disputes almost certainly impossible, but thankfully in New York, there are three nontraditional avenues to justice that can inform a post-pandemic emergency tribunal, says Joseph Gallagher at Harris St. Laurent.

  • Downturn An Opportunity For Law Firms To Boost Pro Bono

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    While now hardly seems like the time for law firms to be volunteering their attorneys’ services, it is the right thing to do and a sensible investment that would likely not be made at any other time, says Martin Pritikin, dean of Concord Law School.

  • Inmate Release Exhaustion Rule Should Be Waived For COVID

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    The issue at the forefront of many compassionate release applications during the pandemic has been whether federal courts must wait 30 days before they can rule on them due to the statutory administrative exhaustion requirement, and those 30 days could become a matter of life or death, says Jolene LaVigne-Albert at Schlam Stone.

  • COVID-19 Highlights Access Injustice In Personal Bankruptcy

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    In the age of enforced social distancing, the limits on access to electronic filing means bankruptcy is paradoxically only available to those individuals who can afford it, says Rohan Pavuluri at Upsolve.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: Pine Tree's Nan Heald

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    With distancing and isolation the new norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Maine-based Nan Heald, executive director at Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

  • Social Distancing And Right To Jury Trial Must Be Reconciled

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    It would seem almost obvious to conclude that the internet and proposed e-courtroom venues may be best suited to promote social distancing while ensuring the uninterrupted constitutional right to a trial by jury, but numerous questions exist, say Justin Sarno and Jayme Long at Dentons.

  • Tips For Prisoner Release Requests During Pandemic

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    The 70 compassionate release rulings issued by federal courts in the past three weeks suggest that the chances of securing release from prison premised on COVID-19 are boosted significantly where the defendant is able to accomplish one or more of three goals, say attorneys at Waller.

  • States Must Toll Court Deadlines To Ensure Access To Justice

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    There are several reasons why a state should consider temporarily lifting statutes of limitations during this pandemic, including protecting the rights of litigants who are vulnerable, say Adam Mendel and Rayna Kessler at Robins Kaplan.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: ASU's Rebecca Sandefur

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    With self-isolation and social distancing now the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Rebecca Sandefur, a professor at Arizona State University and faculty fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

  • Coronavirus Crisis Shows Need For Permanent Bail Reform

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    All states should follow Florida's lead and reduce the number of people held in jails unnecessarily during the pandemic, and use this tragic time as a catalyst to make lasting, long overdue changes in our criminal justice system, says Matt Morgan at Morgan & Morgan.

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