Access to Justice

  • 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.

  • January 19, 2024

    Ala. Inmate Tells Justices 2nd Execution Attempt Violates Rights

    An Alabama death row inmate asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his looming execution and decide whether the state, after previously failing to kill him via lethal injection, can try again with a new method, or if he is being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

  • January 19, 2024

    New Mexico Judiciary Establishes Rural Clerkship Program

    The New Mexico Judiciary is launching a Rural Justice Initiative Clerkship Program, which creates four paid clerk positions for attorneys who will work with state judicial district chief judges.

  • January 19, 2024

    Baker Donelson Reinvests In ABA's Free Legal Answers

    Baker Donelson announced on Friday a monetary and resource investment into the American Bar Association's Free Legal Answers clinic, which the law firm helped establish a decade ago.

  • January 19, 2024

    Texas Non-Atty Ownership Plan Fizzles As Justice Gap Fix

    As the legal industry struggles to find ways to bridge the wide gap between those who can afford civil legal services and those who cannot, a proposal in Texas to allow non-attorney ownership of firms providing low- or no-cost services faces an uncertain future following opposition from lawyers who say it would create an ethical quagmire.

  • January 18, 2024

    AI Tool Updated To Help Immigration Attys With Legal Tasks

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association and software platform Visalaw.ai released an updated version of an artificial intelligence legal research tool that now has an expanded library and a document upload feature.

  • January 17, 2024

    Big Law Leans Liberal In Pro Bono Amicus Briefs, Study Says

    BigLaw firms don't usually advertise their political and ideological leanings, but a new study examining amicus briefs filed by the largest U.S. law firms on behalf of likely pro bono clients before the U.S. Supreme Court may offer new insights into which direction BigLaw firms tilt.

  • January 11, 2024

    Mich. Attys Can Now Pay For Pro Bono Clients' Travel, Clothes

    Lawyers in Michigan can give impoverished pro bono clients certain kinds of financial aid under a revision to the state's professional conduct code adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court. 

  • January 11, 2024

    NJ Jail Hit With Civil Rights Suit Over Inmate's OD Death

    The mother of a 31-year-old New Jersey woman who died of a drug overdose while in custody at a Garden State county jail has sued the county and its sheriff's department, alleging it knew about her history of substance abuse but failed to place her in a protected setting and adequately monitor her or her cellmates.

  • January 10, 2024

    Justices Toy With New Testimony Rule In Ariz. Expert Dispute

    The U.S. Supreme Court seemed to agree Wednesday that Arizona prosecutors violated a criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses testifying against him by presenting a substitute expert witness at trial, and instead centered most of its questions on whether the court should revise its rule for identifying testimonial statements.

  • January 09, 2024

    NC Agency Sued Over Child Solitary Confinement Practice

    The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is violating the constitutional rights of children not convicted of crimes by locking them up alone every hour of the day with little to no relief from confinement, while breaking state law requiring education, according to a proposed class action filed in federal court Monday.

  • January 05, 2024

    The Issues Access To Justice Leaders Are Watching In 2024

    A surge in evictions, domestic violence and child poverty last year has heightened the demand for legal services to help low- and middle-income families, and worsened a shortage of attorneys to assist in matters ranging from housing to healthcare to benefits and beyond in 2024.

  • January 05, 2024

    Quinn Emanuel Aids 'Sewer Service' Debt Collection Fight

    Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP recently teamed up with two legal aid groups to notch a major win from a New York appeals court making it easier for consumers to challenge judgments they may have been hit with due to fraudulent service — or so-called sewer service — of debt collection complaints.

  • January 04, 2024

    5th Circ. Won't Block Miss. GOP Capital City Law Amid Appeal

    The Fifth Circuit on Thursday refused to temporarily block a controversial new Mississippi law that would give the majority-white state government greater control over the court system in the state's majority-Black capital city while the NAACP and other groups appeal, finding that they're not likely to succeed in their challenge.

  • January 04, 2024

    Nonprofit, Paralegals Sue To Take Down NC Legal Advice Law

    A North Carolina nonprofit is challenging a state law banning anyone but a fully licensed attorney from offering legal advice, saying in a federal lawsuit Thursday that the regulations amount to an unconstitutional restraint on free speech in violation of the First Amendment.

  • January 04, 2024

    Judge Lauds Trans Women Behind Colo. Prison Housing Deal

    A Colorado state judge on Thursday appeared inclined to approve $2.1 million in payouts for currently and formerly incarcerated transgender women and new housing options to settle their class action against state prison officials, with a named plaintiff calling the deal a "blueprint for other states."

  • December 22, 2023

    Biden Issues Pardons For Federal Marijuana Offenses

    President Joe Biden has announced unconditional pardons to anyone who has used, possessed or attempted to possess marijuana on federal lands, regardless of whether they have been convicted or charged.

Expert Analysis

  • Civil Legal Aid Cuts Are A Threat To Justice And Prosperity

    Author Photo

    The U.S. House of Representatives' budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 includes $71 million in cuts to civil legal aid, but the measure overlooks the economic benefits of access to justice and the many ways that opening the courts to more citizens can foster both basic human rights and economic growth, says David Carter at Calloquy.

  • 'True Threat' Ruling May Ensnare Kids' Online Speech

    Author Photo

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Counterman v. Colorado decision correctly held that a showing of intent is required to prosecute someone for true threats, but the amorphous standard adopted by the court risks overcriminalizing children’s use of social media and text-based communications, say Adam Pollet at Eversheds Sutherland and Suzanne La Pierre at Human Rights for Kids.

  • More States Should Join Effort To Close Legal Services Gap

    Author Photo

    Colorado is the most recent state to allow other types of legal providers, not just attorneys, to offer specific services in certain circumstances — and more states should rethink the century-old assumptions that shape our current regulatory rules, say Natalie Anne Knowlton and Janet Drobinske at the University of Denver.

  • The Pop Culture Docket: Judge Elrod On 'Jury Duty'

    Author Photo

    Though the mockumentary series “Jury Duty” features purposely outrageous characters, it offers a solemn lesson about the simple but brilliant design of the right to trial by jury, with an unwitting protagonist who even John Adams may have welcomed as an impartial foreperson, says Fifth Circuit Judge Jennifer Elrod.

  • A Judge's Pitch To Revive The Jury Trial

    Author Photo

    Ohio state Judge Pierre Bergeron explains how the decline of the jury trial threatens public confidence in the judiciary and even democracy as a whole, and he offers ideas to restore this sacred right.

  • People In Prison Should Have Access To Digital Technology

    Author Photo

    There are a number of reasons why people who are incarcerated should have access to digital communication technology — from facilitating reentry to saving lives in a future pandemic — but they need the means and the necessary legal protections to do so, say NYU Law student Suchy Kahlon and First Amendment attorney Dan Novack.

  • Mallory Gives Plaintiffs A Better Shot At Justice

    Author Photo

    Critics of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern claim it opens the door to litigation tourism, but the ruling simply gives plaintiffs more options — enabling them to seek justice against major corporations in the best possible court, say Rayna Kessler and Ethan Seidenberg at Robins Kaplan.

  • 5th Circ. Concurrence May Help Erode Qualified Immunity

    Author Photo

    A Fifth Circuit judge’s recent concurrence in Rogers v. Jarrett, highlighting new legal scholarship that questions the historical foundations of the qualified immunity doctrine, provides the basis for additional arguments for plaintiffs to secure legal recourse when government officials violate their rights, says Brian Collins at Van Naarden Spizer.

  • How Public Defenders Can Use Social Media To Drive Change

    Author Photo

    In addition to their courtroom advocacy, indigent defenders should strategically use social media to develop a public voice that can counter police and prosecutor narratives, call attention to injustices and inspire policy shifts, say Russell Gold at the University of Alabama and Kay Levine at Emory University.

  • Too Often, Use Of K-9 Units Is Cruel And Unusual Punishment

    Author Photo

    In too many instances, the use of police dogs as weapons violates the Eighth Amendment's protections against cruel and unusual punishment, but as a long line of cases demonstrates, courts have largely failed to acknowledge the unconstitutionality of K-9 unit attacks, says Patrick Buelna at Lawyers for the People.

  • Justices' Habeas Ruling Further Saps Writ Of Its Strength

    Author Photo

    After the U.S. Supreme Court dealt its latest blow to the Great Writ in Jones v. Hendrix, holding that a provision called the “saving clause” cannot be used to file successive habeas petitions after a retroactive change in statutory law, Congress may need to amend the underlying law to ensure a more open habeas process, says Daniel Medwed at Northeastern University.

  • Service Members Should Have Right To Unanimous Verdicts

    Author Photo

    As several recent cases exemplify, service members can be convicted of crimes by nonunanimous juries in military courts and cannot appeal such verdicts, despite Supreme Court precedent from recent years — a glaring constitutional error that Congress should rectify expeditiously, says Kevin Carroll at Hughes Hubbard.

  • Jail-Based Polling Places Are Key To Expanding Ballot Access

    Author Photo

    As the 2024 elections begin to take shape, jurisdictions should consider jail-based polling locations to ease voting obstacles faced by incarcerated people, say former advocacy director Naila Awan and communications strategist Wanda Bertram at Prison Policy Initiative.

  • A New HOPE For Expunging State-Level Cannabis Convictions

    Author Photo

    As states across the U.S. legalize cannabis, individuals with related convictions face hurdles to expunging their records due to outdated record-keeping systems — but the recently introduced HOPE Act would remedy this by providing grant funding to state and local governments, says Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Ohio.

  • Immigration Board Must Mend Choice Of Law Post-Garcia

    Author Photo

    The Board of Immigration Appeals must revisit the choice of law standard recently established in Matter of Garcia, which fails to establish predictability, upsets the settled expectations of parties' remanded cases and unfairly tips the scale in the government's favor, says Monica Mananzan at the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition.

Can't find the article you're looking for? Click here to search the Access to Justice archive.
Hello! I'm Law360's automated support bot.

How can I help you today?

For example, you can type:
  • I forgot my password
  • I took a free trial but didn't get a verification email
  • How do I sign up for a newsletter?
Ask a question!