It’s April and that means two things: spring and tax time! The US tax system is really, really complicated. Every time you do your taxes, you’re answering to multiple jurisdictions –– and all their laws about what you owe for what, and why. We’re taking a look at how our tax system got so complicated and how our attitudes about taxes have changed over the years.

We start with a story from Alisa Roth about a surprising group of taxpayers who live outside the law. Then we listen in as a group of scholars talk about how the tax system got so complicated, and how Americans ideas about citizenship and taxation have changed over the years.

Thousands of kids are arrested in school every year. About a third of U.S. schools have a regular police presence on campus; some school districts even have their own police forces. As the number of law enforcement officers on campus has gone up, so, too, have the number of arrests, often for low-level misdemeanors. Life of the Law’s Alisa Roth investigates one student’s case, and examines the uncertain legal terrain police, teachers, administrators and students face in American high schools.

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, allowing some of the prisoners sentenced under it to petition for release for time served. Curtis Penn is one of those prisoners. Life of the Law executive producer Nancy Mullane chronicles the day Curtis was released from prison.

When things go bad, all you need to do is pick up the phone and CALL. Or so
the late-night ads on basic cable tell us. Since the US Supreme Court allowed
lawyers to advertise in the 1970s, the practice has skyrocketed, with often
shoddily-produced results. Are tacky lawyer ads bringing down the profession
or simply making it more accessible to those who might not otherwise know
an attorney?