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Legal Affairs

The Leonard Lopate Show

Who Polices Prosecutors?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Joaquin Sapien talks about his ProPublica report that found that New York City prosecutors who withhold evidence, tolerate false testimony, or commit other abuses almost never see their careers damaged.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Aid Work in Somalia, Bankers and the Economic Meltdown, DA Miscontuct

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Dr. Hawa Abdi, who has been called the Mother Teresa of Somalia, talks about turning her farm into a camp for 90,000 internally displaced. Washington Post economics reporter Neil Irwin on how the world’s top central bankers steered the global economy through the economic meltdown. ProPublica reporter Joaquin Sapien talks about his investigation into why the city’s district attorneys are rarely disciplined for misconduct.

The Leonard Lopate Show

Capital Punishment and the Supreme Court

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Martin Clancy and Tim O'Brien discuss the crucial links between landmark capital-punishment cases and the lethal crimes at their root. The cases reported are truly "the cases that made the law"—and have defined the parameters that judges must follow for a death sentence to stand up on appeal. In Murder at the Supreme Court they tell how, in 1969, Supreme Court justices cast votes in secret that could have signaled the end of the death penalty, but the justices' resolve began to unravel.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Public Defenders and Justice

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright states that all defendants facing significant jail time have the constitutional right to a free attorney if they cannot afford their own. Fifty years later, 80 percent of criminal defendants are served by public defenders. Karen Houppert chronicles the stories of people in all parts of the country who have relied on public defenders in Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People’s Justice.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Jeffrey Toobin on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jeffrey Toobin discusses his article “The Heavyweight,” about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lasting influence. “The Heavyweight” appears in the March 11 issue of The New Yorker.

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Life of the Law

Reporter on Death Row

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What do we really know about death row in California? When we don’t know we create, we imagine.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor talks to Leonard Lopate about being the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, and discusses the history and evolution of the highest court in the land. Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court traces the transformation of the Supreme Court from its uncertain beginnings into the institution that thrives and endures today.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

How Crazy Is Too Crazy for the Death Penalty?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Marc Bookman, longtime capital defense lawyer, talks about the case of Andre Thomas in Texas and looks at the moral and legal contradictions around executing people who are mentally ill. Bookman has been a death penalty lawyer since 1993, and now runs the Atlantic Center for Capital representation, a nonprofit devoted to capital defense. His article “How Crazy Is Too Crazy for the Death Penalty?” appears in Mother Jones Magazine.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

New Challenges to the Voting Rights Act

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation and the author of Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, previews an upcoming Supreme Court challenge to section five of the Voting Rights Act, which calls for specific parts of the country to obtain Justice Department approval before changing their voting laws or districts.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

New Arrests in UK Phone Hacking Scandal

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Six more journalist who previously worked for The News of the World have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal phone hacking. Rob Budden chief media correspondent for the Financial Times discusses the case.

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Life of the Law

Felony Factory

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You’ve just been arrested, charged with a felony and can’t afford to pay your bail, let alone hire a lawyer. You know you have the right to a trial by jury or judge, but what happens when the legal system is too busy to see you?

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Life of the Law

Block Boss

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On every city block, there are rules. Some are unspoken, some require friendly reminders, some are enforced by the law. Is it ever OK to break the rules in order to prevent others from breaking the rules themselves?

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Gay Revolution

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Supreme Court lawyer Linda Hirshman tells the story of the gay rights movement, detailing how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America. Her book Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution  recounts the long roads that led to recent victories—from the start of modern struggle for gay rights at Stonewall in 1969 to states legalizing gay marriage, the armed services stopped enforcing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and the recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.

 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Wrongful Conviction

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Radio producer Helen Borten and Daniel Medwed, law professor at Northeastern University and author of Prosecution Compex: America’s Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent, discuss a wrongful conviction murder case that raises hot-button issues: domestic terrorism, racial prejudice—and the techniques of prosecutors that have led to a shocking number of wrongful convictions. Borten made a documentary on the case, which aired in 2004, and she gives an update on a recent hearing.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Law and Politics in China

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ira Belkin, Executive Director of the U.S. Asia Law Institute at New York University School of Law and a program officer on law and rights at the Ford Foundation in Beijing, and Jerome Cohen, Professor at NYU Law School and a senior fellow for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, discuss whether there is a chasm between law and the rule of law in China and look at the relationship between politics and law in China.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Looking at Affirmative Action

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Legal journalist Stuart Taylor and law professor Richard Sander examine what affirmative action has become, arguing that while the objective is laudable, the effects have not always been positive. In their book Mismatch they make the case that Affirmative Action hurts the students it’s intended to help and looks at why universities are reluctant to admit it and address problems.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Backstory: The Medical Marijuana Industry

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Since the mid 1990s, 16 states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws. In some states, like California, a vast growing and dispensary system has sprung up for a drug that the federal government still considers illegal. Journalist Jim Rendon went behind the scenes with many of the people who work in what is both an illicit and quasi-legal industry. His book is called Supercharged: How Outlaws Hippies and Scientists Reinvented Marijuana.

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Life of the Law

Jailhouse Lawyers

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In California, there are hundreds if not thousands of people practicing criminal law though they’ve never passed a bar exam. They don’t wear suits. They don’t have secretaries. And they can’t bill for their time. They’re called Jailhouse Lawyers.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Damien Echols on Life After Death

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—known as the West Memphis Three—were convicted of the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas after a trial marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison, and Echols was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, thousands of supporters called for a new trial, and in a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011. Echols shares his story in his book Life After Death.

Filmmaker Joe Berlinger was on the show in October 2011 discussing his three documentaries on the West Memphis Three. Listen to that interview.

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Life of the Law

The Secret Power of Jury Nullification

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Though jurors are sworn to uphold the law during their deliberation, they still have the power to decide that a defendant is innocent even when all signs point to their guilt. Prosecutor Paul Butler traces the ways this hidden process was a boon for ab...

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