Access to Justice

  • July 21, 2023

    'Paper Abuse': How Family Courts Feed Coercive Control

    Survivors' rights activists say that abusers use the courts to harass and exert control over their former partners. Some states have sought to pass laws curbing the practice. But the lines are tricky to draw, as they pit concerns about weaponizing litigation against due process rights.

  • July 21, 2023

    Section 8 Tenants Are Using New Laws To Fight Housing Bias

    States and cities are increasingly passing laws barring discrimination against tenants who rely on housing assistance vouchers. Now tenants and their advocates are launching a growing number of lawsuits to enforce them.

  • July 21, 2023

    Justice Sotomayor Slams Decision To Execute Ala. Prisoner

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor blasted her colleagues early Friday for allowing Alabama to use a death row inmate as a guinea pig following the state's "tortuous attempts" to execute other prisoners by lethal injection.

  • July 21, 2023

    ACLU Says NJ Judge Safety Law Is Used To Chill Free Speech

    Days after he questioned the absenteeism of the Police Department director during a City Council meeting, Charlie Kratovil, a seasoned local journalist and self-described advocate in New Brunswick, a city in central New Jersey, received a cease-and-desist letter.

  • July 21, 2023

    Judge Tatel On Returning To His Pro Bono Roots

    Senior D.C. Circuit Judge David S. Tatel grew up wanting to become a scientist like his father was, but the 1960s "changed everything," he recently told Law360 as he prepares to retire from the bench.

  • July 21, 2023

    Jersey City Advocates Leave Mark On Right To Counsel Laws

    At eviction hearings nationwide, where a tenant's ability to stay in their home is at stake, an average of 97% of tenants come to court with a handicap — they don't have an attorney.

  • 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.

Expert Analysis

  • High Court Gun Case Has Implications For Police Violence

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    A U.S. Supreme Court decision to weaken gun regulations in the pending New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett could mix with the court's existing precedents regarding police use of force to form a particularly lethal cocktail for police violence against Black people, says Christopher Wright Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • Justices' Life Sentence Ruling Is A Step Back For Youth Rights

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    The U.S. Supreme Court's recent refusal to limit juvenile life-without-parole sentences in Jones v. Mississippi is a break from a line of cases that cut back on harsh punishments for children and reflects a court that is comfortable with casual treatment of minors' constitutional rights, says Brandon Garrett at Duke University School of Law.

  • States Must Factor Race In COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization

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    In order to ensure equity and efficiency in controlling the pandemic, states should use race as a factor in vaccine prioritization — and U.S. Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action and racial integration offers some guidance on how such policies might hold up in court, say law professors Maya Manian and Seema Mohapatra.

  • Chauvin May Walk, But Calls For Police Reform Must Continue

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    As the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd nears closing arguments, the prosecution still faces an uphill battle, but what sets this case apart is its potential to change the discourse on racial justice and policing, says Christopher Brown at The Brown Firm.

  • A Criminal Justice Reform Premise That Is Statistically Flawed

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    Underlying calls for defunding the police and numerous other proposals for criminal justice reform is the belief that generally reducing adverse outcomes will tend to reduce racial disparities, but statistical analysis shows the opposite is true, says attorney James Scanlan.

  • Improving Protections For Immigrant Domestic Abuse Victims

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    With the slow crawl of federal immigration reform, people vulnerable to immigration status threats from domestic abusers continue to feel the effects of hostile Trump administration policies, but 2019 amendments to the D.C. blackmail statute reveal the ways state laws can provide more effective relief, say Ashley Carter and Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

  • Tougher Petition Drive Laws Would Constrict Key Citizen Right

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    Several states' proposed revisions to petition drive rules would make ballot initiatives harder to pass and rein in citizens' right to enact important policy changes, says Melanie Wilson Rughani at Crowe & Dunlevy.

  • Garland Alone Cannot Transform Our Criminal Legal System

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    Attorney general nominee Merrick Garland is an encouraging choice for criminal justice reform advocates, but the work of transforming our racially fraught institutions falls largely on prosecutors and defenders, say former prosecutor Derick Dailey, now at Davis & Gilbert, and public defender Brandon Ruben.

  • DOJ Charging Memo Rescission Aids Prosecutorial Discretion

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    The U.S. Department of Justice's recent rescission of a 2017 memo that required prosecutors to charge federal defendants with the offenses that would carry the most severe penalties should be welcomed by prosecutors associations as supporting prosecutorial discretion, even when the new policy may lead to leniency, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • A Critical Step Toward Eliminating Profit Motive From Prisons

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    President Joe Biden's recent executive order to phase out the federal government's use of private prisons is a welcome start to what needs to be a broad reform of the prison system — where profit-based incentives to incarcerate run deep, says Jeffrey Bornstein at Rosen Bien.

  • Judges On Race

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    On the heels of nationwide calls to address systemic racism and inequality, five sitting state and federal judges shed light on the disparities that exist in the justice system and how to guard against bias in this series of Law360 guest articles.

  • Judges On Race: Lack Of Data Deters Criminal Justice Reform

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    Many state courts' failure to gather basic data on sentencing and other important criminal justice metrics frustrates efforts to keep checks on judges’ implicit biases and reduce racial disparities, say Justice Michael Donnelly at the Ohio Supreme Court and Judge Pierre Bergeron at the Ohio First District Court of Appeals.

  • Judges On Race: The Power Of Discretion In Criminal Justice

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    Judges should take into consideration the several points of law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion — from traffic stops to charging decisions and sentencing recommendations — that often lead to race-based disparate treatment before a criminal defendant even reaches the courthouse, say Judge Juan Villaseñor and Laurel Quinto at Colorado's Eighth Judicial District Court.

  • Judges On Race: The Path To A More Diverse Bench

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    To close the diversity gap between the judiciary and the litigants that regularly appear in criminal courts, institutions including police departments, prosecutor offices and defense law firms must be committed to advancing Black and Latino men, says New York Supreme Court Justice Erika Edwards.

  • High Court Must Preserve Youth Rights In Sentencing Case

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    The U.S. Supreme Court must be careful not to undo 15 years of Eighth Amendment case law and expose young adults to unconstitutional life without parole sentences in its upcoming decision in Jones v. Mississippi, says Marsha Levick at the Juvenile Law Center.

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