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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: 2019
Aug 20, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns soon with new episodes. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared November 21, 2017.

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An important rule of legal ethics is the obligation to keep client information confidential. Lawyers say that rule is fundamental to the attorney client relationship, so clients can speak freely. But what happens when following that rule keep someone else – an innocent person – in prison? That’s what happened to Alton Logan, who sat in prison in Illinois for 26 years, even though two lawyer who represented the guilty man knew the truth all along.

We talk to Berl Falbaum, who helped Logan tell his story.

Aug 15, 2019

Bucking a decades-long trend of fewer death sentences imposed by states, the Trump administration wants to bring back capital punishment in federal cases. What does that mean? What happens next?

Aug 13, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns soon with new episodes. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared January 23, 2018.

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Why has the US prison population has grown for decades, surpassing two million? We’ve put more people in jail, but new research shows it’s not just how many people go to prison. What counts, for prison growth, is how long they stay. Ryan King, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, has created a ground-breaking study of how the exponential growth in prisons has really been driven by the growth in long sentences. Even as some states have reformed incarceration around low level offenses, long sentences remain stubbornly in place, and receive almost no attention.

Aug 10, 2019

Here we are again: amid a worsening climate of white supremacist violence and right-wing terrorism, two more horrific mass shootings. How long are we going to keep doing this?

Aug 6, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns soon with new episodes. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared January 8, 2019.

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Since the creation of the first SWAT teams in the 1960s, militarized police units have multiplied. SWAT teams can rescue hostages or handle emergencies – but are they used that way? Do they increase public safety? And what’s the impact on the public, and on officers? Guest Jonathan Mummolo, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, discusses his new research into the effect of police militarization – on crime, on communities of color, and on police agencies themselves.

Guest: Jonathan Mummolo, Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Militarization Fails to Enhance Police Safety or Reduce Crime but May Harm Police Reputation

Jul 30, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes later this month. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared April 2, 2019

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Jury service is THE way that members of the public participate in the criminal justice system. But who gets to serve? Are certain racial or ethnic groups excluded, and what’s the effect of these exclusions in the courtroom? An update on the groundbreaking “Jury Sunshine Project” from Professor Ronald Wright of Wake Forest University School of Law; he’s one of the co-leaders of the Jury Sunshine Project in North Carolina.

Jul 26, 2019

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who died last week at age 99, was an independent thinker and a fascinating figure. We recall a few notable moments from Justice Stevens's extraordinary legal career.

Jul 23, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes later this month. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared November 27, 2018.

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When the police kill an unarmed black man, we know the family and community suffer. But what about other people – particularly Black Americans beyond those closest to the victim – what’s the impact on them? The spillover effect of police killings and other violence on Black Americans?

Jul 21, 2019

Donald Trump's (thus far unfulfilled) threats of mass immigration raids in major cities have led many to wonder: if ICE comes knocking with a deportation order, do I have to let them in? Unless they have an order from a real judge (not a DOJ-appointed immigration judge), the answer is NO.

Jul 16, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes later this month. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared April 16, 2019.

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American prosecutors have always been powerful figures in our justice system: they decide the charges, and offer the plea bargains. But our guest says they have become far too powerful – resulting in mass incarceration and the wrecking of human lives over trivial offenses.

Emily Bazelon, best-selling author and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, says it’s time for this to change. She’s the author of “Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Criminal Justice and End Mass Incarceration.”

Jul 9, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes later this month. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared March 5, 2019.

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Americans know that if they want a better criminal justice system, prosecutors must drive change. We’ve seen the result in election of more progressive prosecutors across the country. But what should this new wave of prosecutors do? What policies should shape their priorities?

Our guest Miriam Krinsky is a former prosecutor and now executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, which has issued a new report, “21 Principles for 21st Century Prosecutor.”


Read more at http://criminalinjustice.libsyn.com/-21-principles-to-change-prosecution#7telokgpRY45lLVl.99

Jul 6, 2019

More analysis of the recently completed Supreme Court term, this time on WESA's The Confluence.

Jul 2, 2019

We're holding off on the launch of season 7 so we can squeeze in a few more bonus episodes on recent and developing news stories. Today: analysis of the just-concluded U.S. Supreme Court session.

Jun 29, 2019

The Supreme Court affirms the longstanding "dual sovereignty" doctrine, which skirts the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause by distinguishing between state and federal cases.

Jun 25, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes on July 2, 2019. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared February 5, 2019.

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Chicago has seen police scandals for decades -- from torturing suspects into confessions to the Laquan McDonald murder and coverup. 

James Kalven has combined journalism and human rights work to spur police reform. Has it worked? And what lies ahead for a city awash in homicides and distrust of police?

Jun 18, 2019

Criminal Injustice returns with new episodes on July 2, 2019. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite interviews. This episode originally appeared January 22, 2019.

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Black Americans say they often experience difficulty with police that whites don't experience: extra scrutiny, harassment, profiling, even violence. Police say they have a difficult job that others just don't understand. What's it like to be both black and a police officer?

Matthew Horace is a former officer and the co-author of a fascinating memoir that explores this dynamic, The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America's Law Enforcement.

Jun 11, 2019

As we wrap up season 6 and pause for a quick summer break, some exciting news: Criminal Injustice returns in July as part of the Pittsburgh-based Postindustrial Media network. It's the first of several big changes you'll be hearing in the months ahead, and producer Josh Raulerson is in studio to help unpack the agenda.

We leave you with Dave's May 8 appearance on 90.5 WESA's The Confluence, discussing a recent federal court ruling on the right of prisoners to receive treatment for opioid addiction.

Jun 7, 2019

A federal judge says Seattle's new contract with police puts the city out of compliance with a 2012 consent that was supposed to make officers more accountable for use of force. We'll be watching this one closely.

Jun 4, 2019

$17 million in grants from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation seek to refocus attention on an area of criminal justice reform that's been largely overlooked in the push to end mass incarceration: conditions inside prisons. 

Small, Safe, and Humane: A Vision for Prison Reform

Jun 1, 2019

A dystopian scene in London, where police are deploying facial recognition cameras on streets and issuing citations to passersby who don't consent to be scanned. Is this our future?

Fines And Facial Recognition - BBC Click

May 28, 2019

In the last five years, we’ve seen case after case of police
killing unarmed civilians – even people running away.
Usually, officers do not face charges; when they do, juries
often acquit them. Does the law governing police use of
force favor police?

Our guest, Professor Cynthia Lee, is one
of the leading thinkers on use of force law, and she’ll
discuss proposed changes.

May 24, 2019

Hundreds of former federal prosecutors are now on record that -- but for the Justice Department's policy against prosecuting sitting presidents -- the Mueller report contains ample evidence to bring obstruction charges against Donald Trump.

May 21, 2019

In the metropolitan heart of the tech industry, San Francisco bars police and city agencies from using facial recognition software. The latest in a string of recent stories we've been following on evolving technologies of surveillance.

CI #36 Alvaro Bedoya

CI #49 Barry Friedman

 

May 18, 2019

Apropos of our recent episode on ALPRs, Holly from Idaho asks: what can we, as citizens, do about these surveillance systems that seem to be popping up in the digital world?

May 14, 2019

Mass incarceration remains the hallmark of the US justice system, as it has been for decades. In the last ten years, in some states, we see less jail in low-level cases and more electronic monitoring. But does this just trade one form of custody for another?

Our guest, law professor Chaz Arnett, reveals the new world of e-carceration. He’s the author of “Virtual Shackles: Electronic Surveillance and the Adultification of Juvenile Courts” and "From Decarceration to E-carceration."

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