Access to Justice

  • 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.

  • June 05, 2023

    Davis Wright Among ABA's 2023 Pro Bono Honorees

    Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and four individuals are set to receive honors from the American Bar Association later this year for their pro bono efforts in areas such as gender-based violence and Social Security disability fraud, the ABA announced Monday.

  • June 02, 2023

    Venable Wins Resentencing For Last Md. Death Row Inmate

    The last Maryland resident on federal death row is now awaiting resentencing for the fatal 2002 kidnapping of a Washington, D.C., police officer's son after a Venable LLP team recently helped persuade a judge to vacate his death sentence and three firearms convictions.

  • June 02, 2023

    More States Turn To Paraprofessionals To Fill Justice Gap

    The number of states implementing programs to license paraprofessionals to practice law has swiftly multiplied over the last three years, growing from two states to six and counting as courts seek ways to meet the legal needs of low- and moderate-income residents.

  • June 02, 2023

    COVID Bottleneck Continues To Delay Federal Courts

    Though new filings fell dramatically over the course of the pandemic, the length of time it took cases to resolve rose, a sign that though the public health emergency has ended, COVID’s effects are still being felt in federal courts, raising access to justice concerns for both litigants and criminal defendants.

  • June 01, 2023

    NY Legal Aid Orgs. Cheer New Law Ditching Civil Notarization

    New York could soon become the latest state to eliminate the process of requiring documents to be notarized in civil matters, a move that civil legal aid organizations say will improve people's access to the state's court system.

  • June 01, 2023

    40 DC Firms Honored In Effort To Improve Access To Justice

    Forty law firms in Washington, D.C., have qualified for an annual campaign recognizing those that donate a certain percentage of their revenue to local legal services organizations, the D.C. Access to Justice Commission announced Thursday.

  • May 30, 2023

    Ariz., Utah OK Nonlawyer Program For Housing Advice

    A new legal service model that aims to keep more low-income families in their homes has received approval from the Arizona and Utah supreme courts — which have waived restrictions on the unauthorized practice of law.

  • May 25, 2023

    Texas Man Exonerated Of Sex Assault After 26 Years in Prison

    Tyrone Day inside Dallas County Criminal Court on May 24, 2023 after a judge exonerated him from sexual assault charges for which he spent 26 years in prison. (Montinique Monroe/Innocence Project)

  • May 22, 2023

    Civil Rights Suit Against NYC Cop Tossed After High Court Win

    A New York federal judge dismissed a civil rights suit against a New York City Police Department officer brought by a Brooklyn man who won the right to present his claims last year by the U.S. Supreme Court, ending a nearly decade-long legal battle, attorneys confirmed on Monday.

  • May 19, 2023

    Debt Firm's Flameout A Cautionary Tale For Consumers

    The collapse of a California debt resolution law firm has impacted tens of thousands of consumers across the country, leaving many deeper in debt and with ruined credit. It’s an extreme example of predatory behavior across an industry where marketing companies and law firms urge vulnerable debtors to pay big money for services that advocates say have little to no real value.

Expert Analysis

  • Minn. Should Consider Another Charge In George Floyd Case

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    The Minnesota prosecutors who have charged Derek Chauvin with felony murder for the death of George Floyd are running the risk that the case will be dismissed on solid but esoteric grounds — while ignoring a different murder charge that would stand up to legal scrutiny, says Kyron Huigens at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

  • US Has A Legal Obligation To Provide Reparations For Slavery

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    The United States can no longer foreclose the possibility of recompense for African American victims of its legacy of racism while maintaining its international leadership on such issues as human rights and respect for the rule of law, say Arif Ali and David Attanasio at Dechert and Camilo Sanchez at the University of Virginia School of Law.

  • How We Can Equip Our Future Lawyers To Confront Injustice

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    Law professors must fill gaps in the U.S. legal curriculum by teaching cases and legal theories that can help students understand how the legal system and institutional structures perpetuate inequalities, says Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

  • NY Ethics Rule Change Is Good News For Public Interest Attys

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    Lawyers have always bumped up against a professional conduct rule that prevents them from providing financial help to low-income clients, but New York's pandemic-prompted exception to the rule is a positive step toward mitigating the many hidden expenses that separate rich and poor litigants, say Sateesh Nori and Anita Desai at the Legal Aid Society.

  • History Tells Us Black Americans Need Better Legal Protection

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    Eliminating the legacy of slavery will not be the work of a day or a year, but there are concrete measures Congress can and should take immediately to extend the protection of the law to all Americans, says Jeff Powell at Duke University School of Law.

  • Okla. Offers Glimpse Of Eviction Challenges Amid Pandemic

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    Even in a small state such as Oklahoma, one of the first to reopen amid the pandemic, courthouses are facing the herculean challenge of conducting an escalating number of eviction cases under great restrictions — and it will be worse in larger states, says Keri Norris at LegalShield.

  • Police Reform Should Curtail, Not Codify, Qualified Immunity

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    The Justice in Policing Act passed by the House last week and intended to roll back qualified immunity protections for police officers is not perfect, but it is progress compared to the failed Reforming Qualified Immunity Act that would have clandestinely strengthened the barriers shielding officers from liability, says Edward Ibeh at Akerman.

  • How Attys Can Help As Addiction Cases Rise Post-Pandemic

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    The increase in alcohol and drug consumption during the pandemic is predicted to result in an influx of legal cases, but attorneys can establish a solid defense by ensuring their clients begin the journey to recovery, says Sue Bright at New Directions for Women.

  • We Must Do Better Than Hasty Police Reforms

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    Lawmakers are racing to enact police legislation in response to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but this once-in-a-generation opportunity cannot be squandered by hastily drafted bills and rushed changes, says Marisa Darden at Squire Patton.

  • Unfairness In Prisoner Litigation Is Baked Into Statute

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    Inmate litigants have a new hurdle to clear because of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this month in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez, but the court merely did as Congress said in the Prison Litigation Reform Act, says David Shapiro at the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.

  • Police Reform Must Also Address Federal Law Enforcement

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    The recently introduced Justice in Policing Act is an important step against police brutality, but without express accountability for federal agents, the bill fails to address a gaping hole in the law, says Cori Alonso-Yoder at the American University Washington College of Law.

  • Extended State Foster Care Is A Necessity During COVID-19

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    Foster children turning 18 in the midst of the pandemic are extremely vulnerable to homelessness and exploitation, so states have an obligation to issue moratoriums on discharging young adults from their care, says Alexandra Dufresne at Zurich University.

  • 'Unauthorized Practice Of Law' Rules Promote Racial Injustice

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    By prohibiting nonlawyer professionals from providing meaningful legal assistance, state rules on unauthorized practice of law guarantee that black Americans don't have equal opportunities and rights under the law, and every state supreme court and bar association has the duty to reform them, says Rohan Pavuluri at Upsolve.

  • COVID-19 Crisis Brings Opportunity To Improve Legal Aid

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    The legal community must figure out how to use the adaptations necessitated by the pandemic to permanently improve the legal services delivery model and narrow the justice gap, says Rebecca Rapp at Ascendium Education Group.

  • Illinois Must Do More To Protect Consumers In Debt

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    A recent Illinois Supreme Court order limiting debt collectors' ability to freeze personal bank accounts during the pandemic is progress, but it does not solve the underlying issue that debt courts are rigged against low-income people, says Ashlee Highland at CARPLS Legal Aid.

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