Utah courts are creating a new office to address racism and bias in the judicial system, a first step sorely needed to combat institutional racism and restore public trust and confidence. Deseret News

Graph from “How to Build a More Open Justice System” – Science Magazine

Business and legal researchers from Georgia State University, working with Northwestern University, are building a way to access and evaluate court cases online. While court records are public, many still exist behind paywalls and in complex databases. This group is developing SCALES-OKN (Systematic Content Analysis of Litigation Events Open Knowledge Network), an AI-powered platform to make federal court data and insights available to the public. Georgia State University

Courts are preparing for eviction surges as moratoria on evictions end throughout the country. Judges via a National Center for State Courts webinar shared plans and strategies to best manage court re-openings and effectively handle caseload surges. Law360 and National Center for State Courts

Lawyers for indigent have filed suit in NYC to slow the re-opening of in-person criminal courts, arguing that a ‘rushed and unnecessary’ reopening could be devastating for low-income, especially high-risk clients. NY Daily News

Last week, I noted that Texas A&M is partnering with Harvard’s Access to Justice Lab to conduct a randomized study of the early phase of criminal justice proceedings, first appearance, in Texas. The study evaluating the effectiveness of counsel, currently not required, at this stage. Surely the defendant at a bail hearing who blurted out that he’s a federal informant (in open court live-streamed on YouTube) would have benefited from counsel before his appearance and would have kept his family and connections out of harm’s way. The unprompted outburst led to a scramble and to court officials working to remove viral video posted to WorldStarHipHop.  Texas A&M and Chicago Tribune

Virtual jury trial Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade court holds the state’s first virtual jury trial in a case involving property damage during Hurricane Irma. NBC-Miami

Retired New Orleans Police Department Superintendant Ronal Serpas was interviewed recently about police reform as an access to justice issue, noting that many people are “ literally serving a life sentence three days at a time. They would get arrested for trespassing, public defecation, something that disturbed the neighborhood or business. They would go to jail and either sober up or get some level of mental health or medical care, get out of jail three days later, and within another three days, collapse into the same routine.” Law360

New Jersey has introduced legislation, SB2656, that would expose police misconduct. NJ is one of 21 states with laws that make police disciplinary records confidential. Innocence Project

The state’s Clean Slate Act has now become a kind of national model as more than half a dozen states including Utah, North Carolina and Louisiana have started moving toward automated expungement of criminal records. Law360

Taking a deep dive to evaluate risk assessment tools used by courts and corrections officials, American Lawyer Media reporters explored the technology, transparency of the process, and community involvement. No matter the use or setting, red flags are being raised about algorithmic bias and biased data used to inform decision-making. Legaltech News

BigFour accountancy giant Deloitte is ramping up efforts to provide legal-related services in the United State, which will certainly mean more competition for law firms. Deloitte’s new Legal Business Services practice will work in the areas of contract tracking, invoicing, and eDiscovery. Bloomberg Law

Law firms are formally embracing work-from-anywhere policies, with Amlaw 100 firm Husch Blackwell announcing they’re launching remote options for lawyers willing to give up offices. With lower overhead, will firms pass savings on to clients by lowering prices and pass profits on to lawyers? Bloomberg Law

Coming Up

July 29-Aug. 4: American Bar Association Virtual Annual Meeting

Aug. 18: Filevine Catalyst Summit (Registration free, donations encouraged for Innocence Project)

Aug. 24-28: ILTA>ON Virtual Conference of the International Legal Technology Association

Featured Job

Co-Director, Restorative Justice Project – Impact Justice