Access to Justice

  • February 13, 2024

    Milbank, Perlmutter Center Pair Up To Fight Injustices In Court

    Milbank LLP has pledged $1 million to create an exoneration and resentencing review unit at Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law's Perlmutter Center for Legal Justice as part of an alliance aimed at fighting inequities in the criminal justice system, the firm said Tuesday.

  • February 12, 2024

    BigLaw Slams Hochul Plan To Divert Client Trust Interest Cash

    A long list of BigLaw attorneys, firm leaders and legal groups have urged New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to reconsider her plan to divert $100 million in interest earned on lawyer trust accounts that typically goes toward legal aid for low-income New Yorkers, calling the move "misguided" and cautioning that it could create "an existential threat" to civil legal services.

  • February 09, 2024

    New York Teacher Pays $75K For Mock Slave Auction Harm

    A northern New York teacher will pay $75,000 for holding a mock slave auction of Black students in her classroom, settling a federal suit over a lesson a 10-year-old student's mother said emotionally damaged her son.

  • February 08, 2024

    NYC Police Union Can't 'Veto' NYPD Protest Deal, Judge Says

    A federal judge on Wednesday shot down a bid by New York City's largest police union to block a sweeping reform of police protocols for handling protests, saying the union could not torpedo a settlement that ended a high-profile, sprawling legal case arising out of the 2020 demonstrations against police brutality.

  • February 07, 2024

    Fla. Courts' Fines And Fees Trap Poor In Debt, ABA Finds

    The public defense group of the American Bar Association on Wednesday released a comprehensive report lambasting the fines and fees system in Florida's county-level misdemeanor court system, recommending the courts eliminate so-called user fees and establish an "ability-to-pay standard."

  • February 06, 2024

    Electrocution, Firing Squad Aren't Cruel, SC High Court Told

    The government of South Carolina told the state's top court Tuesday that executing death row prisoners by electrocution or firing squad does not violate the state's constitution because there isn't sufficient evidence that those methods are either too painful, gruesome or out of step with what society at large accepts.

  • February 02, 2024

    How Court Fees Can Keep Poor NYers From Inheriting Homes

    Inheriting property in New York means going through the state surrogate’s court system, where filing fees can run more than $1,000. While state law allows low-income residents to have their fees waived, legal aid attorneys say that courts sometimes refuse to apply it.

  • February 02, 2024

    Birmingham, Ala., Hit with $4.5M Verdict Over Police Shooting

    An Alabama federal jury hit the city of Birmingham with a $4.5 million verdict over a fatal police shooting, finding that a city officer violated the constitutional rights of two people when he fired upon them while they were immobilized in a vehicle at the end of a car chase.

  • February 02, 2024

    Pushing To Make The Formerly Incarcerated A Protected Class

    After a pair of formerly incarcerated activists helped convince local leaders in Atlanta to extend anti-discrimination protections to people with criminal records by making them a legally protected class, they and others are now working to get more cities — and eventually maybe the federal government — to do the same.

  • February 02, 2024

    ACLU Atty On How To Protect Civil Liberties In The AI Era

    Because artificial intelligence and algorithmic systems often operate in the shadows, there's a new need for legislation, regulation and enforcement to ensure the technology doesn't undercut civil liberties by engaging in discrimination in housing, education or employment, according to Cody Venzke, senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • February 02, 2024

    3 BigLaw Firms Guide Trans Rights Groups In Pending Merger

    A trio of large law firms are providing pro bono representation to help two national transgender civil rights organizations navigate a planned merger that the groups' leaders say will amplify their voices as they advocate for trans people across the country.

  • 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.

Expert Analysis

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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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.

  • Inside Immigration Court: The Pros, Cons Of Remote Hearings

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    Technology introduced during the pandemic has improved the quality and efficiency of virtual immigration court hearings, but concerns still linger over the court system's ability to provide full and complete simultaneous interpretation in these hearings, as well as its effect on due process, says Immigration Judge Mimi Tsankov.

  • How Attorneys Can Help Combat Anti-Asian Hate

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    Amid an exponential increase in violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, unique obstacles stand in the way of accountability and justice — but lawyers can effect powerful change by raising awareness, offering legal representation, advocating for victims’ rights and more, say attorneys at Gibson Dunn.

  • Well-Equipped Public Defenders Can Help Reduce Recidivism

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    Public defenders are uniquely positioned to connect clients with essential services that are proven to address the root drivers of crime, thus reducing recidivism and promoting public safety — but they need adequate resources to bring about this change, says Emily Galvin-Almanza at Partners for Justice.

  • Inside Immigration Court: Making The Case For Bond Release

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    Immigration Judge Samuel Cole offers a guide to help attorneys practicing in immigration court — against a backdrop of high stakes and fast-moving dockets — better prepare for bond hearings, so proceedings run more smoothly and with less delay.

  • LA County Should Loosen Strict Reentry Program Criteria

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    Los Angeles County’s recent fair chance ordinance proposal is an important step toward reducing recidivism, but the county should also make its reentry programs available to all formerly incarcerated individuals and focus on prerelease job training, say Sophia Lowe, Eleanor Pearson and Samuel Mistrano at USC.

  • Why Trump Sexual Abuse Verdict May Be Hard To Replicate

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    Survivors of sexual assault may be emboldened to file suit after writer E. Jean Carroll’s trial victory against former President Donald Trump, but before assigning too much significance to the verdict, it’s worth noting that the case’s unique constellation of factors may make it the exception rather than the rule, says Jessica Roth at Cardozo School of Law.

  • New Ideas For Using Litigation Finance To Close Justice Gap

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    Bob Koneck at Woodsford outlines new ways in which the growing litigation finance industry could work with foundations, law firms and schools to address the urgent access to justice crisis.

  • Meeting The Legal Aid Needs Of Human Trafficking Survivors

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    Human trafficking survivors have a wide range of unmet legal needs, but there are several ways law firms and attorneys can provide more comprehensive and trauma-informed support, say Sarah Dohoney Byrne at Moore & Van Allen and Renata Parras at Paul Hastings.

  • Broader Problems Remain After Justices' DNA Test Ruling

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week in Reed v. Goertz straightforwardly resolves a statute of limitations question on post-conviction DNA testing, but it does not address the underlying issue that judges remain hostile to granting access to new evidence of innocence, much less relief based on that new evidence, says Brandon Garrett at Duke University.

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