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 Administration. But should courts try to collect from a population, ex-inmates, who have 70 percent unemployment rate?
When a serious drought hit just months after an Oregon court awarded senior water rights to the Klamath Tribes, the tribe made a ‘call’ for water. The call meant enough water in its rivers and streams to keep the Upper Klamath Lake full, protecting two species of fish that are important to the tribe. But it left area ranchers with no water at all.
On this edition of Freestyle, Al Letson devotes the entire hour-long program to Life of the Law, presenting three podcasts: Shannon Heffernan of WBEZ reporting on "Jury Nullification", Michael May's PRX funded report on "Forensics in Flames" and Sean Cole on investigating attorneys who advertise on "Call Now!"
It’s hard to imagine Supreme Court Justices working outside of Washington, D.C. But for the first half of our country’s history, they spent much of their time traveling as circuit court judges. And it may have made them better Supreme Court justices.
In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute people with mental disabilities. But the Court left it up to individual states to define mentally disabled. After the Texas legislature failed to agree on a definition, a decision from the Court of Criminal Appeals became the de facto definition, a definition based in part on John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men.