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Legal

The Takeaway

John Yoo on Expanding Presidential Power

Friday, January 22, 2010

In the spring of 2002, members of the Bush administration came to John Yoo, then a deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Justice Department, to help the administration decide where the legal limit was between interrogation and torture.

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The Takeaway

Analyzing Justice Roberts' Supreme Court

Friday, January 22, 2010

In what will certainly be looked back upon as a landmark and highly controversial decision, the Supreme Court reversed longstanding restrictions on campaign finance yesterday: specifically, laws restricting corporations and corporate money during election season.

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The Takeaway

Ninth Circuit Court: Convicted Felons Can Still Vote

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A federal court in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle has overturned a Washington state law that said convicted felons had no right to vote. The case turned on questions of racial bias in Washington's justice and penal systems, and could have wide-reaching implications for other laws involving prisoners.  To unpack the decision, we're joined by Dale Ho, assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which has been working on this case for the past 6 years.

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The Takeaway

Terror Trials: Justice or Circus?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One of the most frequent arguments against allowing the trials of self-professed 9/11 'mastermind' Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his accused associates to proceed in civilian court is that the trial will give the men a platform from which to spew anti-American propaganda. Ron Kuby, a criminal defense attorney with experience in terrorism cases, says Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will probably toe the al-Qaida party line – speaking out from the stand on whatever is the "issue du jour," be it Palestine, Iraq or Afghanistan.

We also spoke with Ed MacMahon, the court-appointed attorney for Zacarias Moussaoui. MacMahon says no federal judge will allow Mohammed, or any of the accused, to act out of turn in court. But that's not the only terror-related news today. A federal judge unsealed charges against eight men who are accused of recruiting young Somali-Americans to join an Islamic insurgency in Somalia. It's a complicated story and to break it down we speak to Abdi Aynte, an editor with Voice of America. Aynte used to cover the Somali community in Minnesota.

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The Takeaway

Who's Your Daddy? DNA Might Not Matter

Friday, November 20, 2009

A third of men who take paternity tests end up finding out that they're not really the father. And just as stricter federal rules are holding baby daddies more accountable, the science of proving paternity is getting cheaper, easier and more reliable. It all combines for some awkward family talks, tough moral decisions and nasty legal battles. We hear from Tanner Pruitt, a father who took an unexpected route to gaining custody of a daughter that isn't his -- not genetically anyway. We also speak to Ruth Padawer, who writes about this in Sunday's New York Times magazine.

Read Ruth Padawer's story in this weekend's New York Times magazine

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Holder Hearings, Retailers, Listeners

Thursday, November 19, 2009

  • Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich was at a hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday where Attorney General Eric Holder defended his decision to try confessed 9/11 'mastermind' Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court in New York.
  • Business Takeout: Retailers are struggling this holiday season, but luxury sellers like Saks Fifth Avenue are cutting inventory, so consumers can't count on blowout sales. New York Times reporter Louise Story explains this novel approach.
  • Listeners: We received a lot of responses to yesterday's story about a physicians' group recommending people wait for particular cancer screenings.

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The Takeaway

Deep Cuts: In Georgia, Not Enough Money for Executions

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A case brought to the Georgia Supreme Court this Tuesday might decide whether Georgia can afford to levy the death penalty any more. Jamie Weis has been sitting in jail for four years waiting for a trial because the state can’t afford to give him adequate representation or his Sixth Amendment-guaranteed right to a "speedy and public trial." Yesterday, Jamie presented a pre-trial appeal — drop his charges, or at least the possibility of the death penalty. 

To find out more we spoke with Emily Green, a reporter covering the justice system for Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Robert McGlasson, an attorney at law who represented a previous death-penalty defendant in one of the most expensive cases in Georgia history. (You can read other stories in our "Deep Cuts" series on states' budget shortfalls.)

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The Takeaway

The Path to Justice for Suspected Fort Hood Shooter

Thursday, November 12, 2009

At a memorial for victims of the Fort Hood shootings, President Obama said the killer will "be met with justice in this world and the next." We focus on the legal challenges for the alleged shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, in this world. Hasan will probably face a long and complex trial, but only after an equally complex assessment of his mental health. We speak with Eugene Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale Law School and is president of the National Institute of Military Justice. We also speak to New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane, who gives us the latest on the case.

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The Takeaway

Eliot Spitzer on Bear Stearns Acquittals

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Brooklyn jury acquitted two former Bear Stearns executives Tuesday. The two men had been charged with lying to investors. To give us the low-down on all of this is a man accustomed to suing Wall Street titans, former New York attorney general (and former governor) Eliot Spitzer.

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The Takeaway

When Is It Okay to Date the Boss?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Comedian David Letterman and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) were both recently blackmailed for what's long been considered taboo: consensual relationships with their employees. But is it really that bad to date someone you work for or who works for you? For some answers we talk to Liz Shalet, an employment lawyer who specializes in sexual harassment cases.


 

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The Takeaway

David Letterman's Admission

Friday, October 02, 2009

Last night, David Letterman had a startling admission to his audience: that he had had sexual relationships with female staff members and was being extorted for it. Authories have arrested a suspect for the alleged extortion scheme but haven't released a name, though the AP reports that the suspect is Robert Halderman, a producer on CBS's show "48 Hours." We talk with our friend Delaina Dixon, TV blogger at DelainaDixon.com.

Watch his admission for yourself:

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The Takeaway

Plaxico Burress Plea Bargain: 2 Years

Friday, August 21, 2009

Former New York Giants wide-reciever Plaxico Burress accepted a plea bargain yesterday which will send him to prison for 2 years after pleading guilty to a weapons charge.  As you might remember, Burress walked into a nightclub in New York City last November with a gun tucked in the waistband of his sweat pants. The gun slipped, and as Burress grabbed for it, he accidentally shot a bullet into his own leg.  Burress' Florida gun license was expired; he had no license to carry a gun in New York.

Also making headlines is Jamaican runner Usain Bolt, who broke his own world record in the 100m dash. Again.

Joining us is Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, The Takeaway's sports contributor, along with New York Giants fan and family-law attorney Jeff Blank.

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The Takeaway

Preventing another Madoff scheme

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In light of the anticipated guilty plea from Bernard L. Madoff, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a public speech this week about his take on how to prevent another Madoff scheme. On The Takeaway, Oliver Ellsworth, a law professor at the University of Connecticut and a white collar criminal specialist, provides a legal perspective on Bernanke's speech.

Watch part of Ben Bernanke's speech to the Council of Foreign Relations below.

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The Takeaway

Supreme Court hears argument in Ashcroft v. Iqbal

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can you sue the Attorney General?

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