A 360 degree view of our legal system

Episode 40 - Abuse, Abduction and International Law

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What happens when one parent takes a child across international borders without the other parent’s permission? In 1980, the United States and international partners created a treaty that lays out the rules for what federal officials are supposed to do in such cases. Judges are instructed to send children back to their home countries – with very few exceptions. Lawmakers imagined the treaty would usually help left-behind mothers, trying to get their children back from abductor-fathers. Today, more than a quarter of a century after the U.S. implemented the treaty, the standard profiles of abductor and left-behind-parent have shifted dramatically. The majority of the taking parents – the abductors – are women. And most of those women are victims...

Episode 39 - Two Sides of a River

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Sometimes what’s considered as socially acceptable behavior can also be technically unlawful. Reporter Jason Albert follows one city as it grapples with how to enforce laws in a public park without unnecessarily restricting public use.

Episode 38 - One Reporter on California’s Death Row

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

Episode 37 - Jailhouse Lawyers

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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. They’re inmates who pursue the equivalent of a lawyer’s education and who work as lawyers from within prison walls.

Jury Nullification

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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 abolitionists in the 1800’s, and a curse to contemporary prosecutors arguing for a guilty verdict.