Access to Justice

  • September 13, 2023

    Prisons Bureau Chief Questioned On Reports Of Inmate Abuse

    The director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons faced questions from lawmakers on Wednesday about how the agency is working to address reports of sexual misconduct by inmates and employees following multiple investigations.

  • September 13, 2023

    Dem Sen. Peter Welch Blasts Possible Public Defender Cuts

    Years before coming to Congress, Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., was a public defender, and now he's raising the alarm about proposed cuts by the House and Senate to the federal public defender system, which he calls a "bedrock requirement" of the American judicial system.

  • September 12, 2023

    Rule Changes Could Slow Eviction Process In Michigan

    The Michigan court process for evictions is set to change in November, when several new and temporary tenant protections that could increase the amount of time it takes to evict a renter who is behind on bills will take permanent effect.

  • September 12, 2023

    Senate Bill Reintroduced To Address Judicial 'Emergencies'

    A bipartisan group of senators announced Tuesday they have reintroduced legislation to create 66 new district judgeships following the next two presidential elections in order to alleviate workloads on the courts.

  • September 12, 2023

    Public Defenders Are 'Dangerously' Overworked, Report Finds

    Public defenders face extremely heavy workloads that prevent them from providing effective legal representation to people accused of crimes, according to a new study published Tuesday.

  • September 11, 2023

    DOJ Awards $59 Million For Domestic Violence Programs

    The U.S. Department of Justice awarded nearly $58.9 million in grants to support survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, the agency announced.

  • September 08, 2023

    What A $1M Civil Rights Win Means For Police Accountability

    After helping win a $1.1 million verdict last month for a Staten Island man who said he was falsely arrested by three New York police officers, counsel on the case said the victory showed a growing receptiveness by jurors to give serious consideration to misconduct allegations.

  • September 08, 2023

    Clerical Snags Stymie Name Changes For Trans New Yorkers

    Despite a 2021 state law streamlining the legal process for changing names and genders in New York courts, advocates say clerical staff has created new obstacles for transgender people seeking to affirm their identities, even in a relatively progressive jurisdiction such as Manhattan.

  • September 08, 2023

    'Remarkable' 5th Circ. Ruling May Help End Felon Voting Bans

    After the Fifth Circuit recently labeled Mississippi's permanent disenfranchisement of felons an example of unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, advocates say the ruling could further efforts to end the practice elsewhere around the country, but critics counter that it conflicts with precedent and the U.S. Constitution.

  • September 08, 2023

    Morgan Lewis Helps Former Afghan Official, Family Flee To US

    Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP attorneys worked for nearly two years to help a former Afghan government official and his family navigate the visa process and relocate to the United States.

  • September 08, 2023

    Two Wrongfully Convicted Men Win $20.5M From Louisville

    Two men who each spent about 22 years in prison for a murder but were later exonerated through DNA evidence will share a $20.5 million settlement from Louisville's government, attorneys for the men announced Friday.

  • September 08, 2023

    Biden Admin Settles Suit Over Afghan Asylum App Delays

    President Joe Biden's administration has agreed to adjudicate at least half of the pending asylum bids filed by Afghan applicants by October as part of a settlement resolving a proposed class action that accused the government of failing to meet its own timetable for those fleeing renewed Taliban rule.

  • September 07, 2023

    Atty Wellness Among NJ High Court's Equal Justice Initiatives

    The New Jersey Supreme Court has outlined new initiatives to ensure access to justice for people of color and other historically marginalized groups, including expanding efforts to support wellness for law professionals and leveraging technology to improve notice of and access to court language services.

  • September 07, 2023

    Del. Court Declines To Force Grand Jury Testimony Recording

    A Delaware appellate judge has ruled that despite what he agreed was a "marked unfairness for criminal defendants," he would not disturb a set of conflicting procedural rules requiring that defendants be given access to recordings of grand jury testimony while also largely preventing such recordings from being created in the first place.

  • September 05, 2023

    Major Settlement Aims To Change NYPD's Protest Response

    The New York Police Department on Tuesday has agreed to change its use of force policies in responding to protests as part of a settlement that will require it to use deescalation techniques and adopt a more nuanced approach to crowd control, according to papers filed in federal court.

  • September 01, 2023

    Okla. Courts To Expand Non-English Access Under DOJ Deal

    The Justice Department has struck a deal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court's administrative staff to provide more resources to individuals with limited English proficiency, resolving a 2021 complaint alleging the state's courts fail to provide adequate language interpretation in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  • August 31, 2023

    Houston Man Sues Over Rule Classifying Defendants' Info

    A Houston man who distributes criminal defendants' contact information to private defense attorneys on Thursday sued the Harris County District Clerk and the administrative arm of the county's criminal courts over a new rule that makes certain defendant information private, arguing it threatens his direct mail business and violates his constitutional rights.

  • August 30, 2023

    Seattle Gets Eatery's Suit Over BLM Protest Zone Trimmed

    A Korean restaurant in Seattle can't move forward with claims that the city infringed on its constitutional rights by abandoning entire city blocks during Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 without specifying how the city's response created a "particularized danger" for the business, a Washington federal judge ruled this week

  • August 25, 2023

    Sentencing Commission Backs Retroactive Cuts For 1st Timers

    A divided U.S. Sentencing Commission has voted to retroactively apply changes to sentencing guidelines that will allow potentially thousands of defendants who were sentenced as first-time offenders to petition courts for a reduction in their prison terms. 

  • August 25, 2023

    4 Questions For The ABA's Next Criminal Justice Chair

    Tina Luongo, The Legal Aid Society of New York City's top criminal defender, is approaching their new position as chair of the American Bar Association's criminal justice section with an eye on issues like keeping prosecutors and public defenders in their jobs at a time of significant attrition.

  • August 24, 2023

    4th Circ. Says Treaty Doesn't Support Lithuanian's Extradition

    A split Fourth Circuit panel on Thursday revived a Lithuanian man's bid to avoid extradition, ruling that Lithuania did not comply with the terms of a treaty with the U.S. requiring it to provide a document showing that the man had been criminally judged.

  • August 23, 2023

    Bill Aims To Better Help Incarcerated People With Disabilities

    In a new piece of legislation, two Democratic lawmakers are seeking to provide more assistance and resources for people with disabilities who are in local, state and federal jails and prisons.

  • August 22, 2023

    Ex-Judges Say Abuser Disarmament Is Constitutional

    A group of former chief state judges is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to undo a Fifth Circuit decision holding that a law allowing the disarmament of domestic abusers violates the Second Amendment, saying the law and others like it serve to protect vulnerable people as well as the integrity of the courts.

  • August 17, 2023

    Washington Sued Over New Law On Shelter For Trans Youth

    Two anti-trans groups are suing the state of Washington in Seattle federal court over a new law that policymakers say is intended to ensure shelter for teens seeking gender-affirming care and reproductive health services, alleging that the measure tramples parents' "constitutional rights to direct the upbringing of their children."

  • August 15, 2023

    2nd Amendment Allows Disarming Abusers, Feds Tell Justices

    The Fifth Circuit's decision to strike down a law forbidding domestic abusers from owning guns was "profoundly mistaken" and "endangers victims of domestic violence, their families, police officers, and the public," the federal government has told the U.S. Supreme Court.

Expert Analysis

  • 8th Circ. Ruling Further Narrows Qualified Immunity

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    The recent Eighth Circuit ruling in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA v. University of Iowa seems to align with a growing body of case law suggesting that government officials may have a harder time obtaining qualified immunity for their actions if they involve calculated choices to enforce unconstitutional policies, says Thomas Eastmond at Holland & Knight.

  • 6 Ways To Improve Veterans' Access To Civil Legal Aid

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    Veterans often lack adequate help when confronting civil legal issues such as evictions, foreclosures and child custody disputes, so legal aid organizations should collaborate with veteran-serving programs and state and local governments to offer former military members better access to legal resources, say Ronald Flagg at Legal Services Corp. and Isabelle Ord at DLA Piper.

  • Better Civil Legal Resources Are Key To Justice For All

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    Fulfilling the promise of equal justice requires disruptive change to the civil legal system, where millions of Americans lack adequate resources and information — and attorneys have many opportunities to help their states build the tools necessary to navigate civil disputes, say retired California Judge Laurie Zelon and Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

  • User Feedback Is Key To Running Virtual Diversion Programs

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    Judicially led diversion programs have adapted to the COVID-19 era by providing services online, but recent research points to a disconnect between practitioner and participant perspectives, showing that soliciting user input is crucial to success, says Tara Kunkel at Rulo Strategies. 

  • Justices Must Reject Police Shield Against Civil Rights Claims

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    The Institute for Justice’s Marie Miller lays out four reasons why, in deciding Thompson v. Clark, the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse an arcane circuit court rule that abandons the foundational presumption of innocence principle and ultimately provides a shield for police and other government officers who violate constitutional rights.

  • NY Courts Should Protect Housing Rights Of All Tenants

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    New York courts should adopt a construction of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act that expands on the rights of tenants without a traditional landlord-tenant relationship, in order to not only promote justice, but also adhere to the law as written, say law student Giannina Crosby, and professors Sateesh Nori and Julia McNally, at NYU Law.

  • Legally Recognizing Coercive Control Can Help Abuse Victims

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    The ongoing expansion of state laws to establish coercive control as a form of domestic violence will encourage victims to seek help, and require law enforcement and the judiciary to learn about the complexities surrounding emotional abuse, say attorneys Allison Mahoney and Lindsay Lieberman.

  • 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.

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