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Criminal (In)justice

Problems with police, prosecutors and courts have people asking: is our criminal justice system broken? University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris interviews the people who know the system best, and hears their best ideas for fixing it. Criminal (In)justice is an independent production created in partnership with 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR News Station.
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Now displaying: Page 6
Oct 30, 2018

Criminal Injustice is made in Pittsburgh, and Saturday's massacre hit us close to home in more ways than one. It's time to be very clear about what we mean by "free speech," and about what kinds of speech can never be accepted in a free society.

"After Synagogue Attack, Web-Hosting Sites Suspend Gab," NPR 10/29/18

Oct 28, 2018

In a rare moment of sanity, Pennsylvania lawmakers from both parties agree: revoking the driver's licenses of people convicted on non-driving-related charges doesn't help anybody. 

Oct 25, 2018

Anybody who's ever seen a cop show knows police are supposed to inform arrested suspects of their right to an attorney. But how far does the requirement extend?

Oct 22, 2018

The authors of a new report from the Abolitionist Law Center argue the practice of life-without-parole (LWOP) sentencing is racially discriminatory, needlessly costly, and arbitrarily cruel. 

Oct 19, 2018

Bree from Los Angeles asks about the difference between a "guilty" plea and a "no contest" plea: why would a defendant choose one over the other, and how might it affect the outcome of their case?

Oct 16, 2018

The Supreme Court banned racial discrimination in jury selection decades ago. But some prosecutors refused to abide by the rules. They developed work arounds, including sorting jurors by their reactions to the OJ Simpson verdict. Now the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) argues that using the OJ verdict as racial discrimination tool violates the Constitution. Our guest, attorney Alexis Hoag of the LDF, helped write the amicus brief now before the California Supreme Court.

Oct 15, 2018

An update on the case of East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, who shot and killed 17-year-old Antwon Rose last summer, on a recent episode of WESA's The Confluence.

Oct 12, 2018

Law enforcement officers making an arrest have to identify themselves as cops... right?

Oct 9, 2018

A Judicial Edition double feature:

1) Contempt is the primary mechanism judges use to maintain their authority over court proceedings. But some abuse that power.

2) A judge's racist remark is caught on tape, and wow. Just wow.

Oct 5, 2018

Bill from Illinois has a question about just how much latitude juries have to disregard the law or the facts in a case when making their decisions.

Oct 2, 2018

Surveillance cameras are everywhere in American cities and
towns. They’re touted as crime fighting tools, but do they
really work? Are they worth the cost – in money, and in
privacy? Dr. Nancy LaVigne, vice president for justice
policy, of the non-partisan Urban Institute is the lead author
of the largest study of the effectiveness of surveillance
cameras.

Sep 30, 2018

A Las Vegas attorney representing himself in a defamation case pulls a gun on the plaintiff... in the middle of a deposition.

Sep 28, 2018

Kelly from St Paul asks: if you dump toxic materials into a lake, knowing it will cause deaths, can you be charged with murder?

Sep 26, 2018

Recommended reading: Brentin Mock's piece in CityLab on Rahm Emanuel and missed opportunities for police reform in Chicago.

Sep 24, 2018

As we record this, the question hanging over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is whether, and how, Senate Judiciary Committee will treat the accusations of criminal sexual assault made against Judge Kavanaugh by Professor Christine Blasy Ford. Whatever happens, the most important thing is to have a full, complete, and independent investigation of the charges before any hearing or vote.

Sep 22, 2018

It was pretty bad when Chicago judge Jessica Arong O'Brien was found guilty on federal charges of mortgage fraud. It was worse when she refused to give up her seat on the Cook County bench for more than six months after the conviction, continuing to draw a paycheck even after losing her law license. 

Sep 18, 2018

Female police officers bring a unique, positive skill set to
the job. They communicate better, and have a special talent
for de-escalation. In an era when we want less force and
more de-escalation, should the future of policing be female?

Guest Dr. Cara Rabe-Hemp is professor in the Department of
Criminal Studies at Illinois State University. She the author
of Thriving in an All-Boys Club: Female Police and their
Fight for Equality (2018).

Sep 16, 2018

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has put cities on notice: don’t try to establish facilities where addicts can inject intravenous drugs safely. What is Rosenstein's justification for this policy? And does the evidence bear it out?

Sep 13, 2018

David discusses three recent criminal justice stories on WESA's The Confluence.

Sep 10, 2018

Trial is underway for the Chicago police officer who shot and killed Laquan McDonald in 2014. The killing and ensuing coverup effectively ended the careers of several high-level city officials including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has announced he won't seek re-election. 

Sep 4, 2018

When juveniles face criminal charges, most end up on probation. This should put their young lives on track. But too often, it’s just another set of rules, and kids fall into deeper trouble. Can we transform probation for juveniles, so more kids don’t become adult offenders? Guest Stephen Bishop runs the effort to transform juvenile probation in the U.S., for the Annie E Casey Foundation. Bishop discusses how to make probation both more rare, and more successful.

Aug 30, 2018

Technically, slavery is illegal in the United States. But there's a big loophole in the 13th amendment: it's perfectly okay to compel someone's labor against their will, for little or no pay, as long as they've been convicted of a crime. Now, inmates across the country are on strike, demanding an end to what they call "modern-day slavery." The history of prison labor in America shows that's not much of an exaggeration.

Aug 28, 2018

Criminal Injustice returns with a new season on September 4, 2018. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite past episodes. This episode originally appeared June 26, 2018. 

 

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Every four years, the whole sports-loving planet is watching soccer’s World Cup. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport – so how did its governing body, FIFA, become the focus of the most massive corruption scandal in sports history? And why was that scandal broken by U.S. law enforcement?

Our guest is Ken Bensinger, veteran journalist, who helped break the story with his investigative reporting; his new book is Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World’s Biggest Sports Scandal (Simon & Schuster, 2018).


Read more at http://criminalinjustice.libsyn.com/size/25/?search=bensinger#vhe0biW51Aa4zaX0.99

Aug 21, 2018

Criminal Injustice returns with a new season on September 4, 2018. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite past episodes. This episode originally appeared February 20, 2018. 

 

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In the U.S., judges set bail – an amount of money defendants must deposit with the court -- to make sure people appear in court. Defendants must pay the bail amount to get released to wait for trial. Those with enough money to get out before trial, but those without cash stay in jail – regardless of the risk they pose. Could a data-based system do a better job of assessing these risks, and keep the poor out of jail before trial?

Matt Alsdorf is founder and president of Pretrial Advisors, and former Vice President for Criminal Justice at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Matt headed up the foundation’s effort to apply a data-based solution to the problem of pretrial incarceration – the Public Safety Assessment tool.

Aug 19, 2018

A new report from the Pennsylvania attorney general details how the Catholic church systematically covered up decades of sexual abuse by priests. In almost all of the cases, the abuse happened so long ago that the statute of limitations prevents prosecution of the abusers and their enablers. Or does it?

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