Access to Justice

  • April 26, 2023

    Okla. Parole Board Denies Clemency For Death Row Inmate

    The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Wednesday declined to recommend clemency for Richard Glossip, a death row inmate whose murder conviction has been criticized by legal experts — and the state's top prosecutor — as tainted by errors and constitutional violations.

  • April 24, 2023

    3 Justices Protest Court's Snub Of Death Row Inmate's Appeal

    Three U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday called "disheartening" their colleagues' decision not to hear the case of a Tennessee death row inmate whose murder sentence has been clouded by claims of ineffective counsel.

  • April 24, 2023

    NAACP Sues Over Miss. GOP's Foray Into Capital City Courts

    The NAACP and other organizations are pushing back against the Republican-controlled Mississippi state government over its recent moves that give white state officials greater power over Jackson, the state's majority-Black capital city.

  • April 21, 2023

    $2M False Arrest Win May Spawn New Legal Fights For NYPD

    When Jawaun Fraser was charged for robbery in October 2014, the New York Police Department and Manhattan prosecutors never told him that his arresting officers had been targeted in dozens of civil lawsuits over alleged evidence fabrication, abuse of power and other misconduct. Now, after a $2 million civil rights verdict last month over the disclosure failures, Fraser's case could lead to new legal challenges for criminal cases in the city.

  • April 21, 2023

    Major Payout Likely In Tyre Nichols Beating Case, Experts Say

    It's hard to sue the police and win, but the fatal beating of motorist Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police in January was so egregious and highly publicized that experts say the city is likely facing a big settlement.

  • April 21, 2023

    Justices To Hear Whether Post-Seizure Hearings Are Required

    Every year, law enforcement agencies across the U.S. confiscate billions of dollars worth of assets, including cash, cars, weapons and real estate, from people they arrest and prosecute. The process, called civil forfeiture, is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, which this week agreed to hear a case centering on when people are entitled to court hearings where they can ask for their property back.

  • April 21, 2023

    After High Court Win, O'Melveny Clears La. Man Of Murder

    Although his lawyers notched a landmark victory at the U.S. Supreme Court three years ago when the justices declared nonunanimous criminal verdicts unconstitutional, Evangelisto Ramos remained stuck behind bars on a murder conviction until a team from O'Melveny & Myers LLP finally secured his acquittal at a retrial last month.

  • April 21, 2023

    Growing US Senior Population Faces Unmet Legal Needs

    As the U.S. population ages, more Americans need the services of attorneys who specialize in helping seniors and people with disabilities. But the number of lawyers trained in this subspecialty is small, and the number of elder law attorneys who offer services to low-income people is even smaller.

  • April 20, 2023

    NY High Court Skeptical On Murder Trial Courtroom Closure

    New York's highest court suggested on Thursday that a state trial judge may have violated a murder suspect's constitutional right to a public trial when she closed her courtroom to the public halfway through an eight-day criminal proceeding because of what she called "very intimidating" behavior on the part of spectators.

  • April 20, 2023

    How One State Is Using Automated Forms To Boost Justice

    The New York state court system has created several document automation programs that make it easier for self-represented litigants to create legally acceptable court documents, demonstrating how simple technology can be used to close the access-to-justice gap.

  • April 19, 2023

    Justices Back Longer Clock For Post-Conviction DNA Tests

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that state prisoners requesting post-conviction DNA testing have until after all state appeals finish before a clock for federal relief starts ticking, ending a stricter time limit the NAACP called "illogical" and race-biased.

  • April 17, 2023

    Justices Struggle To Navigate Odyssey Of Obstruction Case

    Several Supreme Court justices struggled Monday to define when obstruction of justice becomes a deportable offense, with Justice Clarence Thomas invoking mythical sea monsters to suggest the court must choose the lesser of two evils.

  • April 14, 2023

    Calif. Court OKs Challenge To 'Spit And Acquit' DNA Collection

     A California state appellate court has found that a lower court wrongly dismissed parts of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a controversial DNA collection program operated by the Orange County District Attorney's Office, ordering the case to proceed to discovery.

  • April 11, 2023

    NYC Can't Dodge Suit Over NYPD Arrests Of Floyd Protesters

    A New York state trial judge has ruled that the city of New York cannot escape a lawsuit brought by five people alleging they were unlawfully arrested, detained and injured by police during the 2020 demonstrations following George Floyd's killing.

  • April 07, 2023

    6th Circ. Says Exonerated Ohio Man Can't Sue Prosecutor

    A Cleveland man who spent 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit cannot pursue charges against a Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor who redacted key evidence from the man's investigative file in response to a public records request in 2016, the Sixth Circuit has ruled.

  • April 11, 2023

    Afghans' American Dream Clashes With Housing Crisis: Part 2

    When Shir Agha Safi landed in Iowa in early October 2021 after being evacuated from Afghanistan, he was carrying little more than the clothes on his back as he was driven by a Catholic Charities caseworker to an Extended Stay America in Urbandale, Iowa, right off Interstate 80. Yet, he and the other refugees staying at the motel were initially given little food or supplies.

  • April 07, 2023

    DC Courts' First Pro Bono Leader Looks To Expand Services

    The District of Columbia courts system announced the hiring of its first-ever pro bono program manager two weeks ago, welcoming an attorney with more than two decades of pro bono experience who will help shape the role and expand the availability of pro bono and affordable legal services to D.C. litigants.

  • April 07, 2023

    Family's 10-Year Eviction Saga Highlights NYC Housing Crisis

    When the Solis family was suddenly evicted from an illegal Brooklyn sublease nearly a decade ago, they relied on the kindness — and ultimately the legal acumen — of a neighbor, who recently helped them secure a $275,000 settlement from their former landlord. Their case demonstrates the importance of legal representation in housing matters, and the continuing severity of the city’s housing crisis.

  • April 07, 2023

    NY Top Court To Weigh Courtroom Closure's Constitutionality

    New York’s highest court is set to hear arguments later this month over whether a Manhattan judge violated a murder suspect’s constitutional right to a public trial by ordering her courtroom to be sealed in response to what she called “intimidating” behavior by audience members observing the case.

  • April 06, 2023

    DOJ Says No Right To Counsel In Immigrant Bond Hearings

    The Biden administration told a D.C. federal judge that no constitutional right to counsel exists for detained immigrants in bond proceedings as it tries to undercut what remains of a lawsuit alleging several immigration detention centers are hindering attorney access.

  • April 05, 2023

    'Extortionate' LA Jail Service Fees Enrich PE Firms, Suit Says

    A former inmate and local resident hit Los Angeles County with a proposed class action in California state court, alleging its exclusive commissions-based contracts with private equity-owned vendors amount to illegal taxes that charge inmates and their families "extortionate" fees for jail services in violation of the Golden State's constitution.

  • April 05, 2023

    DC Circ. Orders Due Process Analysis For Gitmo Detainee

    The full D.C. Circuit has reversed part of a 2020 panel ruling that a Guantánamo Bay military prisoner, who is being detained indefinitely for supporting al-Qaida, lacks any constitutional due process rights, and ordered a lower court to revisit his substantive due process challenge to his ongoing imprisonment.

  • April 04, 2023

    Mich. Justice Suggests Pro Bono Fee Awards Go To State Bar

    A Michigan Supreme Court justice on Tuesday floated a rule that would send fee awards in pro bono cases to the state bar association instead of the lawyers involved, as Honigman LLP asked the court to find that its fee award should not have been decimated because it represented a pair of journalists for free.

  • April 03, 2023

    Ark. Jail's 'Postcard-Only' Policy Axed As Unconstitutional

    An Arkansas federal judge struck down as unconstitutional a county jail's policy allowing inmates to only receive information from the outside world by means of 3-by-5-inch postcards while banning books and magazines.

  • April 03, 2023

    Justices' Dissent Rips La. Brady Ruling In Death Penalty Case

    U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said Monday they would have voted to review the case of Louisiana death row inmate David Brown, who was convicted of killing a prison guard in a case where prosecutors failed to disclose a potentially exculpatory confession from another convict until after sentencing.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • Constitutional Lessons For Prisons Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

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    With the coronavirus already infiltrating certain prison populations, jail officials must look to cases stemming from the 2009 swine flu epidemic for guidance on their legal obligations under the Eighth Amendment, say attorneys at Bradley Arant.

  • Weinstein's Survivors Got Justice, But Reform Is Still Needed

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    While the conviction and sentencing of Harvey Weinstein was a watershed moment, and vindication for the women that he abused, the scales of justice remain tipped against women in cases of sexual assault and harassment in the U.S. and around the world, say Jennifer Klein at Time's Up and Rachel Vogelstein at the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • Keep Your Client Out Of The Courtroom During Voir Dire

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    With Harvey Weinstein's defense team raising allegations of undisclosed bias among the jurors who convicted him, it's a good time to examine why it may be best if your client is not present during the jury selection process, says Christina Marinakis at Litigation Insights.

  • Justices' Border Patrol Ruling Could Extend To US Citizens

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hernandez v. Mesa, barring a Mexican family’s remedies for the fatal cross-border shooting of their son by a federal agent, sweeps broadly toward curtailing constitutional remedies for similarly aggrieved U.S. citizens, says Cori Alonso-Yoder at American University Washington College of Law.

  • Weinstein Verdict May Signal Big Step Forward For #MeToo

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    That a New York state jury convicted Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and rape — in the absence of substantial corroborating evidence and despite challenges to the accusers' credibility — suggests that society has turned a corner, says professor Stephen Gillers at NYU School of Law.

  • Justice Denied For A NY Domestic Violence Survivor

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    New York's Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act was enacted to reduce sentences for people like Nicole Addimando, who was just given 19 years to life in prison for killing her sadistically abusive partner, so the court’s failure to apply it here raises the question of whether it will be applied at all, say Ross Kramer and Nicole Fidler at Sanctuary for Families.

  • Arbitration Is A Flawed Forum That Needs Repair

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    While arbitration is a good vehicle for ensuring timely dispute resolution, the existing system lacks protections for workers and consumers, and legislative efforts to outlaw forced arbitration prove it’s time to finally fix it, says Gerald Sauer at Sauer & Wagner.

  • Sentencing Insights From A Chat With Judge Nancy Gertner

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    While many judges say there isn’t much criminal defense attorneys can do at sentencing hearings, retired U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner — an outspoken critic of the federal sentencing guidelines — disagrees, says criminal defense attorney Alan Ellis.

  • Rigged Forfeiture Law Seizes Property In 4 Steps

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    Nationwide, law enforcement agencies rely on a four-pronged attack to generate billions of dollars in civil forfeiture revenue to use for police perks, depriving defendants of property without due process of law, says Daryl James of the Institute for Justice.

  • To Honor The Promise Of Liberty, Reform Pretrial Detention

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    As criminal justice reform advocates focus on the critical need to reduce unjust pretrial detention, jurisdictions must commit to a range of policy changes that include, but also go beyond, risk assessments, says former Wisconsin Judge Jeffrey Kremers.

  • USCIS Work Proposals Add To LGBTQ Asylum Seekers' Risks

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    Pending U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposals to prolong employment ineligibility and charge for employment authorization documents would be particularly detrimental to already-vulnerable LGBTQ asylum seekers, says Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

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