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Crime And Law Enforcement

The Takeaway

International Reaction to Release of Lockerbie Bomber

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The BBC's Glen Campbell joins us from Scotland with local reaction to the impending release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted and imprisoned for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland. We also talk to New York Times reporter Alan Cowell about the American opposition to the release of the man many view as a fall guy for the attack.  The explosion killed 270 people, 189 of them Americans. Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of murder and other charges related to the bombing, but his lawyers have successfully lobbied for his release on compassionate grounds, as he is near death from prostate cancer.

For more, listen to our earlier interview with Susan Cohen, whose daughter Theodora died on the flight.

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The Takeaway

Horror Story: A Bizarre Murder Stuns Pensacola

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's a murder mystery seemingly ripped from the pages of a crime novel. Who killed Byrd and Melanie Billings, the parents of 17 children—most of them adopted, many with special needs—and why? The suspects who broke into the Billings home in Pensacola, Florida, were dressed as ninjas; they were in and out in ten minutes. Seven men have been arrested so far, but the mystery is far from solved. The Takeaway talks to Tom Ninestine, the breaking news editor at the Pensacola News Journal in Pensacola, Florida. He's been covering the case as it unfolds.

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The Takeaway

Obama's Drug Czar on Fighting Illegal and Legal Drugs

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

President Obama's drug czar Gil Kerlikowski is dealing with a rise in the abuse of prescription drugs, ongoing violence along our border with Mexico and the legacy of the war on drugs. Kerlikowski, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, talks to The Takeaway about fighting drug cartels and the need for public education about the dangers of prescription painkillers.

"Electronic prescription process...cuts down on the potential abuse of a doctor over-prescribing. But it also looks at the patients who are going to multiple doctors which can be incredibly dangerous."
— Gil Kerlikowski of the Office of National Drug Control Policy on electronic prescriptions

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The Takeaway

A Caseload Crisis for Public Defenders

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Public defenders in Miami-Dade County, Florida, represent the poor who can't afford to hire private attorneys when charged with crimes. They say they need to be able to focus on the facts and application of law in each case, and so must be able to limit the number of cases they take. Since September, they've been able to turn away new clients with third-degree felony cases — charges like battery, marijuana possession or grand theft auto that are less serious than other crimes. But that all changed yesterday when a Miami appeals court ruled that public defenders in Miami-Dade county cannot refuse to take cases, no matter their caseload. (One attorney had over 400 clients.) The situation in Miami-Dade is a small piece of a larger national picture. The Takeaway talks to Joshua Johnson, a reporter with WLRN Miami-Herald News and with Maureen Dimino Indigent Defense Counsel for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

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The Takeaway

There will be blood: U.S. border towns fear Mexican drug war violence

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mexico’s drug war is flaring up and in some U.S. border towns, residents say they fear a wave of bloodshed is headed their way. The Takeaway talks to journalist Diana Washington Valdez, author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated El Paso Times series “Death Stalks the Border" and the forthcoming book, “Mexican Roulette: Last Cartel Standing.”

For more from Diana Washington Valdez, check out her blog.

Discovery en Espanol made a haunting documentary on the murders in Juarez featuring the work of Diana Washington Valdez. Below is part one via Youtube:

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The Takeaway

Madoff investors who cashed out early may be forced to return gains

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Until Bernard Madoff made off with billions in investor savings, the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history was the Bayou Group scam. Investor Samuel Israel III swindled investors out of 400 million dollars and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in April. An interesting precedent was set when that case went to court. Investors who had cashed out of Bayou early were forced to return their money. Will the same thing happen again? The Takeaway talks to Phil Bentley, a bankruptcy litigator with Kramer Levin in New York City. He represented seventy investors who pulled out of the Bayou group early.

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The Takeaway

The Bernie Madoff fallout hits more than just celebrities

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Last week investor Bernie Madoff became a household name when he was arrested for securities fraud. His victims, including Mort Zuckerman, Steven Spielberg and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), are among the richest and most powerful people in the world. But the Madoff fallout did not only hit society's top tier, but is also crippling nonprofits and everyday investors. For a look at how far the Madoff dominoes have fallen, The Takeaway checks in with Robert Chew. Last Thursday Chew and his wife learned that they had lost everything in a Madoff investment.

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The Takeaway

Highlights of the 76 page F.B.I. affidavit

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Trading jobs for money is only part of the story.
"The scope and the breadth of the charges surprised everybody in town."
— Pat Deade on the F.B.I. affidavit

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The Takeaway

Power, corruption and lies in Illinios

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Unfortunately for Illinois, political corruption is not unusual.
"This is not machine politics. This is one man out to enrich himself."
— Cindi Canary

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The Takeaway

Chicago's corruption fighter

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The U.S. Attorney prosecuting the corruption case has a higher profile than the Governor.

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The Takeaway

Mexican drug war crossing border

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Somebody from a rival cartel pulled up in a car, snatched this girl, threw her in the back of the car, drove away, called the guy and said, 'we've got your daughter and we're going to kill her.'"
--Mark Moran on the increased drug cartel activity in Phoenix, Arizon

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The Takeaway

prison vote

Monday, November 03, 2008

Maine and Vermont are the only two states in the country that allow convicted felons to vote while in prison. But in Maine, prisons are one of the only places that the campaigns can't actually penetrate. Prisoners don’t have access to the candidates' campaigns and are barred from talking politics with prison staff. As the presidential campaign wraps up, Jeffrey Merrill, the warden of Maine State Prison joins us to talk about how Maine's prisoners participate in the electoral process.

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The Takeaway

Members of The Mongols biker gang arrested

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Federal and local police have arrested dozens of members of "The Mongols." a motorcycle gang, on racketeering charges. The gang operates in southern California and five other states. In an odd twist, what may be the biggest blow to the gang's activities is an attempt by the feds to seize control of the Mongols' trademarked logo, a ponytailed, Genghis Khan-like figure riding a chopper.

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The Takeaway

what history has to say

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

With the case of Senator Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is going to the jury, and a verdict expected any day now, Capitol News Connection's Todd Zwillich looks into the history of other senators who've been in legal trouble while in office.

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The Takeaway

stevens trial

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Closing arguments come this morning in the four-week-long corruption trial of Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens. Stevens is charged with the felony offense of lying on his financial disclosure forms about gifts worth more than $250,000. The jury is expected to start deliberation Wednesday, and there are less than two weeks until Election Day, when voters will have their chance to choose Stevens' fate.

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The Takeaway

Eavesdropping

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

If the NSA is listening to your phone calls and reading your emails, would you want to know about it?

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The Takeaway

What's happened in the 10 years since gay student Matthew Shepard's murder

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ten years ago this week, Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was brutally murdered. Shepard’s death struck a chord with people across the nation and re-energized the gay-rights movement. But a decade later, many say the nation hasn’t come nearly far enough.

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The Takeaway

New report reveals the growth of piracy off Somalia's lawless coast

Thursday, October 02, 2008

As a standoff between Somali pirates and U.S warships continues in the Indian Ocean, a British think tank released a report today showing the growth of piracy off the Somali coast. According to Chatham House, piracy in the region has doubled in 2008 over the previous year. It threatens to disrupt international trade and could potentially become a weapon of international terrorism.

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The Takeaway

China state media reports arrests over melamine milk contamination scandal

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chinese state media report that police arrested 22 people accused of involvement in a network that produced, sold and added the industrial chemical melamine to milk. BBC Correspondent Vaudine England joins The Takeaway from Hong Kong, where British chocolate manufacturers have recalled some China-made products.

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The Takeaway

Somali pirates try to ransom hijacked ship carrying military hardware

Monday, September 29, 2008

It sounds like a fantastic tale — pirates, ransoms and hijacked tanks — but today, a Ukrainian ship with 33 tanks and other military hardware on board was hijacked by Somali pirates. A U.S. destroyer and at least two other foreign warships have surrounded the hijacked vessel, currently moored off the coast of central Somalia. The pirates have demanded a ransom for the ship's release. They've told the BBC they are not afraid and have enough food to withstand a siege.

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