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Law

The Takeaway

Swiss bank UBS letting go of some secrets

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Swiss banks have been revered, loved, and hated for their tightly-held secrets, but Swiss bank UBS has agreed to a legal settlement with the United States government after it was revealed that the bank was operating as a willing shelter for tax evaders. The bank is set to give U.S. tax regulators access to hundreds of bank accounts and will also pay close to $780 million in fees. For more on the story we turn to BBC business correspondent Mark Gregory.

Further details can be found in A Swiss Bank Is Set to Open Its Secret Files in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Shoe chucker trial starts in Iraq

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former U.S. President George W. Bush went to court today. He's charged with assaulting a foreign leader and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years, but he was greeted as a hero by supporters in the courtroom. The trial was almost immediately adjourned until March while the court sought the government's clarification on a point of order. For more on the man whose shoe was heard around the world, the BBC's Jim Muir joins us.

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The Takeaway

A-Rod apologizes again for steroid use

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In his first press conference since his steroid use was outed, Alex Rodriguez apologized for his mistakes. He chalked up his steroid use as a youthful indiscretion blaming himself for being "young and stupid." We brought in a sports fan, The Takeaway's own Jay Cowit, to decide whether or not this apology was genuine or just a requisite PR move.

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The Takeaway

Thirty years later, the Khmer Rouge is on trial

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thirty years after more than a million people died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, a United Nations-backed trial is finally underway. A former Khmer Rouge leader was in court for opening hearings yesterday. For what this means for Cambodia we are joined by Jonathan Head, the BBC's South Asia correspondent.

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The Takeaway

Facebook is... facing criticism for changing terms of service

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facebook, the incredibly popular social network, hit massive protests when they changed their terms of service to indicate that they owned all content posted on their site by users. This would include photographs, poems, and messages. Tens of thousands of the social network's users joined online protest groups to denounce the change in policy. While initially trying to defend the change, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, ended up announcing a return to its previous terms of service. For an overview of the problem we are joined by Slate legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick and University of Virginia media professor Siva Vaidhynathan.

"I think parents need to teach their kids that information is forever."
— Slate Magazine's Dahlia Lithwick on the recent change in terms on Facebook

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The Takeaway

Sexting: Teens in legal straits over explicit text messages

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

While you certainly hope your teen isn't sending explicit photos of themselves over their cellphone, if they were, would you want them to get slapped with felony pornography charges? Six kids in Pennsylvania were charged with dissemination and possession of child pornography when the girls sent nude photos to their boyfriends over their cellphones. If convicted these kids may have to register as sex offenders. This has Dahlia Lithwick, legal affairs correspondent for Slate Magazine, up in arms. Also weighing in is Siva Vaidhynathan, media professor at the University of Virginia.

For more, read Dahlia Lithwick's article, Textual Misconduct: What to do about teens and their dumb naked photos of themselves in Slate.

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The Takeaway

Kickbacks for kids: The view from the inside of the legal scandal

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hundreds of children and teenagers were sentenced to juvenile detention centers by Judge Mark Ciavarella since 2003. That was when he and another judge began participating in a multimillion dollar kickback scheme for sending teens to privately run youth detention centers. One of those children is 17-year old Hillary Transue. She and her mother Laurene join The Takeaway to talk about what it was like to get caught up in the scheme.

For some background on this story, listen to our segment with New York Times writer Ian Urbina. For additional details on this story, read Ian Urbina's and Sean Hamill's article, Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit, in the New York Times.

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WNYC News

N.J. To Add Lieutenant Governor

Monday, February 16, 2009

Come November, New Jersey voters will elect the state's first lieutenant governor. That will make New Jersey the 45th state to have such a post.

When the measure became law in 2005, sponsors said they hoped it would lead to more women and minorities in statewide ...

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WNYC News

Deadline Looms for Econ. Development Agency To Dispute Audit

Monday, February 16, 2009

Today's the deadline for an Essex County economic development agency to respond to claims raised in a federal audit.

The Inspector General's Office wants to end funding to the Economic Development Corporation, saying it spent $1.6 million to generate a handful of community development loans. But ...

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WNYC News

King Says Republicans Left Out Of Stimulus Plan

Monday, February 16, 2009

Long Island Republican Congressman Peter King says the stimulus bill that President Obama is expected to sign tomorrow doesn't include input from his party.

KING: This bill offers too many social programs, and by excluding house republicans it prevented it from being bipartisan. I'm hoping as ...

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WNYC News

Council Pushes NYPD Protection For Private Schools

Monday, February 16, 2009

The terrorist attack in Mumbai is prompting 17 City Council members to call for New York Police Department protection of private schools. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

REPORTER: Currently the NYPD has almost 5,000 safety officers deployed in the City's public schools. Brooklyn City Councilman Simcha ...

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The Takeaway

American justice goes awry as judges plead guilty to fraud charges

Friday, February 13, 2009

Two judges in Eastern Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care. Ian Urbina is reporting this story for the New York Times and he joins us now for what this means for those convicted by these judges and for the justice system at large.

For additional details on this story, read Ian Urbina's and Sean Hamill's article, Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit, in today's New York Times.

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WNYC News

New York's Problem with Speed

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A new study of traffic has found there's rampant speeding at some of the most dangerous intersections in the city.

Transportation Alternatives measured the speed of passing cars at thirteen stretches of road, like Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island.

They found some vehicles moving as fast as ...

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The Takeaway

Judges rule California must close prisons

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A panel of three federal judges has ruled that California is not providing its prison population with adequate health care and ordered the state to reduce its prison population by up to a third. The state says it will appeal. Anti-prison advocates Rose Braz, Campaign Director of Critical Resistance, and Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, join The Takeaway with a look at this case and how the economic crisis could impact criminal justice around the country.

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The Takeaway

State secrets rear their head in the Obama administration

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

While campaigning for president, Barack Obama was extremely critical of the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees. But now his administration is invoking the states-secret privilege to uphold the dismissal of a federal lawsuit involving rendition and torture. Here with us to discuss it is ACLU staff attorney Ben Wizner, who argued the case for the plaintiffs.

Watch Rachel Maddow's (melo) dramatic reenactment of the hearing and Ben Wizner's appearance on her show:

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WNYC News

"Substantial" Change Needed to Convert Schools

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg has offered to help the Diocese of Brooklyn convert four Catholic schools into charter schools. But as WNYC's Beth Fertig reports, the church and the city are wading into unchartered waters.

REPORTER: State law prohibits a private school from being converted into a charter ...

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WNYC News

Lessons From Mumbai

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the city's private security guards need more training to avert attacks like those on hotels and restaurants in Mumbai last year.

Kelly told the city council today that the NYPD is hoping to build on the limited training that's going on ...

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The Takeaway

Calling Gil Grissom: Science in crime investigation found lacking

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Despite what you see on television shows like CSI, forensic evidence does not always create hard facts. Even things so seemingly commonplace as fingerprinting and blood splatter analysis may be way less reliable than believed. A draft report from the National Academy of Science contains sweeping criticism for the application of forensic science in crime labs across the nation. The report may radically change the American criminal justice system. Our partner, the New York Times, has an exclusive on this paper and we are joined by the reporter, Solomon Moore.

For more, read Solomon Moore's article, Science Found Wanting in Nation’s Crime Labs, in today's New York Times.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Little Pink House

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Eminent domain law in the United States changed dramatically after 2005 Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London. Investigative journalist Jeff Benedict tells the story of case and the people behind it in his book Little Pink House.

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WNYC News

Report Recommends More Discretion for Judges in Drug Cases

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A state sentencing commission has issued a new report, a year after it was charged with looking at how to reform New York's Rockefeller drug laws. The commission recommends allowing judges more discretion in sentencing first and second-time non-violent drug offenders.

It also calls for more ...

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