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The Brian Lehrer Show

Final Arguments

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Supreme Court heard the last oral arguments of the term yesterday. Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate.com, discusses this year's cases and the decisions yet to come.

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The Takeaway

Three strikes and you're out, French downloaders!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The French government is on the verge of passing a law that would punish Web users for downloading illegal content. Pushed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the bill proposes that after your third violation you will be banned from the Internet for a year. Some argue that this would violate our fundamental human rights. That's right, the Internet as a fundamental human right. Siva Vaidhyanathan, an associate professor of Media Studies and Law at the University of Virginia, joins The Takeaway.

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WNYC News

Collapsed Building Cited in Past

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Buildings officials are working to shore up a five-story building in Lower Manhattan that partially collapsed this morning. The building, near Reade and Church Streets, was vacant, and undergoing renovations. No one was injured. Just yesterday, buildings inspectors issued citations for loose bricks and for ...

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WNYC News

NYC Finance Commish Resigns Amid Alleged Misconduct

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

City Finance Commissioner Martha Stark has resigned. It comes two weeks after Mayor Bloomberg asked for an investigation of Stark for alleged misconduct. WNYC's City Hall reporter Bob Hennelly has more.

REPORTER: In a formal statement accepting her resignation, the Mayor praised Stark for making the ...

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WNYC News

Gay Marriage Advocates Rally in Albany

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thousands of gay marriage advocates were in Albany today, lobbying lawmakers to approve the bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

HORAN: Thousands have traveled here from across the state to make their voices heard in support of gay rights legislation, the biggest being same sex marriage. Even though ...

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The Takeaway

The Released: A new Frontline documentary on life after prison for the mentally-ill

Monday, April 27, 2009

Five years ago, in the FRONTLINE documentary, The New Asylums, filmmakers Karen O’Connor and Miri Navasky, documented how the Ohio prison system struggled to provide care to thousands of mentally ill inmates. This year, in the new FRONTLINE documentaryThe Released, they return to Ohio to investigate what happens to mentally ill offenders when they leave the prison system. Typically, these offenders leave prison with a bus ticket, $75 in cash, and two weeks’ worth of medication. Studies show that within 18 months, nearly two-thirds of mentally ill offenders are re-arrested. The Takeaway is joined by filmmaker Karen O’Connor for a look at how the prison system has changed since she first captured it on film five years ago.

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WNYC News

SCOTUS to Hear Challenge to Voting Rights Act

Monday, April 27, 2009

This week the US Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Voting Rights Act. It's commonly associated with the civil rights era and the Deep South, but the law also affects voting in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. WNYC’s Fred Mogul has more.

REPORTER: Those ...

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WNYC News

You Have the Right to an Attorney, But What About the Quality?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Everyone, no matter how poor, has a right to a quality lawyer. That’s what the Supreme Court said in 1963. But staggering caseloads for public defenders in New York and other cities have made it almost impossible to provide quality representation for people who can’t ...

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WNYC News

'Fresh Direct' Agrees to No-Idle Policy

Friday, April 24, 2009

The grocery delivery service Fresh Direct has agreed to a no-idle policy to help cut air pollution.

New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo says the New York City grocery delivery service will also pay a $50,000 dollar penalty, for violating state and city anti-idling laws.

Fresh Direct ...

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WNYC News

2,000 LGBT New Yorkers Plan Trek to Albany

Friday, April 24, 2009

It looks like the annual trek to Albany tomorrow for Lesbian Gay and Transgender Equality and Justice Day is going to be mighty crowded. More than 2,000 LGBT New Yorkers and their supporters are expected to board buses in the early morning hours to push ...

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WNYC News

Paterson Signs Bill Overturning Rockefeller Drug Laws

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's the end of an era in New York state. Governor David Paterson has signed a bill that will radically overhaul the state's 46-year-old Rockefeller Drug laws. Paterson says the struggle to overturn the law - seen by drug reformers as among the harshest in ...

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The Takeaway

Somali Pirate heads to his first day in court

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The only Somali pirate that Americans can look to for justice in the hostage taking of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama was walked into a federal court in New York yesterday— with a smile on his face. Many wondered whether his smile was one of pride or simply that of a teenager struggling to grasp the situation he’s gotten himself into. Partially because no one is sure how old the Somali Pirate suspect actually is. While a Magistrate ruled yesterday that the suspect, Abduhl Wali-i-Musi is old enough to be tried in federal court. His age will be just one of many thorny issues among for prosecutors and his defenders to hash out in court. Helping us understand the legal issues in play is Neil Quartaro, a lawyer with the International Litigation group and an adjunct associate professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs where he teaches Maritime Law.

Here is a CBS News report on the pirate's day in court:

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The Takeaway

A look at the docket for the Supreme Court

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Supreme Court has set its agenda for the week and will hear arguments on two cases involving civil rights. The first case involves the strip search of a young girl by school administrators hot in pursuit of...ibuprofen. They had received a tip that she was distributing, but turned up nothing in their search of the honor student. While this seems like a blatant and outrageous violation of the girl's fourth amendment rights, the Court has upheld such searches and allows the court to revisit the issue of whether civil rights can be limited at the schoolhouse door in order to protect the health, safety, or morals of the children within.

Next on the docket is a look at affirmative action in practice in the city of New Haven, Connecticut. The court will hear arguments on behalf of several firefighters (mostly white, but one is Latino) who feel that the city violated their rights to equal opportunity for work by eliminating a test that put firefighters who passed the exam on track for promotion. One of the firefighters, who had severe dyslexia, got tutoring and studied for thirteen hours a day and passed it. But no African American candidates on the firefighting force passed it, which prompted the city of New Haven to eliminate the test on the ground that it showed a gross disparity of opportunity for black firefighters than for whites.

Joining The Takeaway to discuss these cases and more is Kenji Yoshino, the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Law at NYU law school.

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WNYC News

Disabled Tenants Sue City Over Elevators

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Disabled tenants say New York City's public housing agency is violating their rights by failing to properly maintain elevators. They announced a federal class-action lawsuit against the city. Phyllis Gonzalez lives on the 12th floor of the Chelsea Houses and relies on a wheelchair.

GONZALEZ: If ...

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The Takeaway

A Katrina lawsuit gets underway

Monday, April 20, 2009

Today in New Orleans a trial gets underway that could ultimately determine what kind of damages thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina can demand from the government. Five residents and one business are suing the Army Corps of Engineers because, they say, the Corps did not properly maintain a shipping channel and that act intensified the storm surge, causing the devastation of neighborhoods including St. Bernard Parish and the Lower Ninth Ward. Saiward Pharr is a radio host in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is reporting on the case. She'll join The Takeaway with a preview.

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WNYC News

Family of Injured Man Press Charges Against NYPD

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The family of a mentally ill man who was hospitalized after a confrontation with police this weekend say they will press charges against the NYPD.

Gamalier Reyes is schizophrenic. His sister Zully De La Cruz says he refused to take his medicine and his social worker ...

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The Brian Lehrer Show

International Justice

Monday, April 13, 2009

Erna Paris, author of several books including Long Shadows and the new book, The Sun Climbs Slow, talks about America’s relationship with the international criminal justice system.

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WNYC News

NJ Congressman Safe After Attack in Somalia

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne landed safely in Nairobi Kenya today after the airport he was departing from in Mogadishu, Somalia, came under mortar attack.

Newark Congressman Payne had arranged his Somalia trip as a piracy fact finding mission several weeks ago before the piracy issue ...

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WNYC News

Bloomberg in Viriginia to Rally for Gun Control

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg was in Virginia Monday, to urge that state's lawmakers to close a loophole that allows private sellers at gun shows to skip full background checks. Bloomberg was joined by survivors and victims family members of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. He unveiled ...

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WNYC News

Bloomberg Wants Virginia to Close Gun Loophole

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg is with family members of the Virginia Tech massacre victims this morning, calling on the State of Virginia to close a loophole in its gun laws.

Bloomberg is releasing a TV ad in Arlington, urging Virginia to end a practice that allows so-called "occasional ...

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