With the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, courts across the country shifted urgently to remote, rather than in-person, operations. It amounted to an unprecedented large-scale experiment. As courts prepare for a post-pandemic future, we looked in depth at both the harms of remote justice and at which practices might be worth continuing, with the overall goal of promoting fairness and equity.
Rural communities face unique challenges in responding to incidences of domestic violence, due to geographic isolation and a lack of resources, among other factors. Such challenges make it difficult for survivors in rural areas to seek safety. These 10 practices for criminal courts in rural communities offer strategies to protect survivors’ safety and well-being, engage with abusive partners and hold them accountable, and collaborate within the community.
Legal system fines and fees can trap people of limited means in cycles of debt, and even incarceration, lasting for years. As we work to support efforts towards the long-term goal of decriminalizing poverty altogether, this brief gives an overview of an important near-term reform: ability-to-pay assessment tools.
The Harlem Community Justice Center is a neighborhood-based community court committed to bridging the gap between the court and community to achieve fairness and systematic equity in housing, community health, and access to justice. We believe the community should have a voice in addressing its problems and defining justice, we and seek to empower communities to transform the systems that serve them.
The Center for Court Innovation and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association have provided strategic planning support to 10 jurisdictions across the U.S. to increase their capacities to uphold Sixth Amendment protections. Grounded in the Center’s unique research-practice approach, this report describes how former public defenders are paired with experienced researchers to work as a team to support the jurisdictions' strategic planning goals.
As the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact surges across our country, now is the time to prevent evictions and keep families safely housed. In a new video, learn about how our housing help centers maintain and build secure and safe housing by empowering tenants to advocate for their rights. Staff help residents navigate Housing Court, get critical repairs, and provide them with the tools and information to prevent evictions and homelessness.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced courts across the country to close their physical doors and rely exclusively on video conferencing technology. A scan of social science research shows that communicating over video can alter an interaction, making it more difficult for participants to understand each other, speak up, and relate to each other. This paper presents social science research to inform the long-term debate about video’s role when courts can safely reopen.
Housing conditions at the New York City Housing Authority have drawn sharp attention in recent years, including federal court orders to remedy hazardous living conditions for its residents. This report documents four years of court filings for housing repairs in New York City’s civil housing courts, capturing the unequal treatment afforded residents of public housing versus those in private housing, and the disparities in conditions and repairs.
Fines and fees levied by criminal legal systems place an undue burden on people unable to pay, often trapping them in cycles of debt—and even incarceration—that can last for years. In 2016, the federal government funded five states through the Price of Justice Initiative to tackle the issue of criminal legal debt. This report describes the work of those states and provides guidance for jurisdictions seeking to take on similar reforms.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, courthouses across the country have adjusted to doing at least some of their business remotely—with litigants in one place, judges and lawyers in another. This episode of In Practice explores the pros and cons of video conferencing at initial appearances in adult criminal court from the perspective of defense practitioners.