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Legal Affairs

The Leonard Lopate Show

Enemy of the State? Artist Tania Bruguera's Arrest in Cuba

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera was arrested for disturbing the public order prior to staging a performance about free speech in Havana’s Revolution Square in December.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Is Justice Reserved for the Rich?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, on why he feels that the poor, wrongly condemned, and women and children can too often get lost in our criminal justice system. 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Held for Three Years on Riker's Island Without a Trial

Monday, November 03, 2014

A teenager spent more than a year and a half in solitary confinement on Riker's Island without ever standing trial. New Yorker contributor Jennifer Gonnerman tells us why.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Does Our Criminal Justice System Treat the Rich and Guilty Better Than the Poor and Innocent?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, on why he feels that the poor, wrongly condemned, and women and children can too often get lost in our criminal justice system. 

Comments [7]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Why Do Kids Sext and Is It a Crime?

Friday, October 24, 2014

For this week's Please Explain, Atlantic editor Hanna Rosin discusses teen sexting, the pervasive trend of sending naked pictures of themselves and their peers on their cell phones.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

After a Fatal Plane Crash, a David-vs-Goliath Legal Battle

Monday, August 11, 2014

After a plane crash killed his wife and badly injured his two daughters, Toby Pearson was thrust into a David-vs-Goliath legal confrontation with a multi-billion dollar insurance company.

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Intelligence Squared US

Intelligence Squared: Unlimited Campaign Financing

Friday, August 01, 2014

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was a groundbreaking decision by the Supreme Court that removed limits on how much money organizations could donate to political campaigns. Years later, this ruling has become the subject of contentious debate: do we really have a constitutional right to unlimited spending on our own political speech.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

A Man May be Executed Because An Alcoholic Lawyer Botched His Case

Thursday, May 01, 2014

In 1997, a Georgia jury imposed a death sentence on Robert Wayne Holsey for murdering a sheriff’s deputy. Holsey’s defense was led by Andy Price, an alcoholic attorney who drank a quart of vodka a night during the trial, faced his own criminal charges and was eventually disbarred and sentenced to prison for stealing from one of his clients. The death penalty is temporarily on hold in Georgia pending a ruling on whether the public is entitled to know how lethal injection drugs are made and who is providing them for executions. Marc Bookman, director of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation, looks at Holsey’s case and some of the problems with private court-appointed counsel in death penalty trials. His article “This Man Is About to Die Because an Alcoholic Lawyer Botched His Case” is in Mother Jones.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Duke Lacrosse Scandal and University Culture

Monday, April 28, 2014

William D. Cohan looks at what the Duke lacrosse team scandal reveals about the pressures faced by America's elite colleges and universities, and he pulls back the curtain on the larger issues of sexual misconduct, underage drinking, and bad-boy behavior prevalent on campuses across the country. The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities is an account of what happens when ambition, intellectual elitism, athletic prowess, aggressive sexual behavior, racial bias, and absolute prosecutorial authority collide and on a university campus, in the justice system, and in the media.

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Life of the Law

Privacy Issues

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You’re driving your car down a street and as you pass, a camera takes a photo of your license plate. Who is taking the photo and what are they doing with the information? Reporter Cyrus Farivar has our story.

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Life of the Law

Trouble with Profiling

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is ‘looking Mexican’ a legal reason for the Border Patrol to stop a car? Federal law says agents have to have ‘reasonable suspicion’ that something illegal is happening. But what that means depends where you are, and whom you ask.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Helping the Exonerated Cope After Release

Monday, March 03, 2014

Unlike parolees, there’s no help available for people falsely convicted of crimes as they make the transition out of prison. As one former inmate says, "You’re released with nothing."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

"Kids for Cash"

Friday, February 28, 2014

In the wake of the shootings at Columbine, a small town in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, elected a charismatic judge who was determined to  keep kids in line. Under his reign, over 3,000 children were taken from their families and imprisoned for years for crimes as petty as creating a fake MySpace page. When one parent question this harsh treatment, it was revealed that the judge had received millions of dollars in payments from the privately owned juvenile detention centers where the kids were incarcerated. Robert May tells the story in his documentary “Kids for Cash.” He’ll be joined by Hillary Transue, a formerly incarcerated youth, and Marsha Levick, Chief Counsel, Juvenile Law Center. "Kids for Cash" is playing in NYC at Village 7 and Empire 25.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Racial Profiling, Stand Your Ground, Injustice in the Trayvon Martin Case

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It’s been two years since an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in July.

Legal analyst Lisa Bloom covered the trial for NBC. In her book Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It she discusses covering the trial and outlines what she sees as the major mistakes made by the state of Florida that guaranteed it would lose the case. Bloom tells Leonard in this interview that the prosecution blundered by downplaying the issue of race in the courtroom when it should have been central. “I believe racial profiling is at the heart of the case, not only for Zimmerman, but for the police who did a lax job of investigating the case, for the jury, and I have new info from the jury room that substantiates this, from the judge who didn’t want anyone to talk about racial profiling even though it was so obviously a part of the case,” said Bloom. “Not just in that courtroom, but for all of us.”

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Life of the Law

Bad Constitution

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

With more than 300,000 words and over 800 amendments, Alabama’s Constitution is 40 times longer than the US Constitution, and holds the record for being the longest active constitution in the world. Originally written in 1901 by men seeking to establis...

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Life of the Law

Polyamorous Love

Friday, February 14, 2014

Diana Adams believes the family law system is at least 20 years behind cultural changes. She helps non-traditional families—such as three people in love—find a simulacrum of the protection offered by legal marriage.

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Life of the Law

Release Day

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

For eighteen years, California’s three strikes law leveled harsh penalties against repeat felons: anyone with two felony convictions received 25 years to life for committing a third felony. In 2012, Californians voted to change the three strikes law,

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The “Cannibal Cop” and Pre-emptive Prosecution

Monday, January 13, 2014

Robert Kolker discusses the “cannibal cop” case and looks at whether it’s possible—or even legal—to convict people for crimes they haven’t even committed yet. His article “A Dangerous Mind,” in the January 13 issue of New York magazine, is about Gilberto Valle, who was arrested in New York on a charge of conspiracy to kidnap. Details from his bail hearings told the story of a husband secretly plotting to kidnap and kill, cook, and eat several women, including his own wife. The trial seemed to be two different cases—the actual charge against Valle (conspiracy to kidnap) and the question of what Valle might do in the future if he were allowed to go free.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

HIV Disclosure Laws

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Thirty-five states have laws which make it a crime for an HIV positive person to not disclose their status before having sex with a partner. In 29 of those states, it's a felony to expose someone to HIV - even if the infected person has taken measures to protect their partner and whether or not the virus is actually transmitted. These laws are controversial- and many of the cases reveal the problems of mixing law enforcement and public health. Sergio Hernandez discusses his article "Sex, Lies & HIV: When What you Don’t Tell Your Partner Is a Crime," which was co-published by ProPublica and Buzzfeed.

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Life of the Law

A Criminal Debt

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

It’s not unusual at all to leave prison anywhere across the country owing fees, fines, or other costs to the local court. The city of Philadelphia alone is trying to collect some $1.5 billion in judicial debt owed back to days of the Nixon Administrati...

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