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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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Criminal (In)justice
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Now displaying: April, 2019
Apr 30, 2019

The American criminal justice system is all about finding the bad guys, convicting them, and penalizing them -- often by sending them to prison. But what does that do to help victims restore themselves? Can we imagine a system not of criminal justice, but restorative justice?

Van Jones is a CNN contributor and host of The Redemption Project.

Apr 28, 2019

Where does U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr get off ordering immigration judges around? Turns out many federal officials commonly referred to as "judges" -- those appointed under Article I -- are actually employed by and accountable to federal agencies (in this case, the Justice Department).

Apr 24, 2019

Now that a redacted version of the full Mueller report is out, how do its contents stack up against initial reaction to A.G. Bill Barr's four-page summary? Strap in, there's a lot to cover.

Apr 16, 2019

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.”

Apr 12, 2019

The City of Pittsburgh made national news by passing gun control legislation that's all but certain to trigger lawsuits under a state law that bars municipalities from regulating firearm ownership locally. Will it hold up in court?

Apr 9, 2019

Two very different views on prosecuting financial fraudsters and corporate criminals: Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says plausible deniability makes it all but impossible to go after high-level executives like those who caused the 2008 housing collapse and ensuing crises. Others, like journalist Jesse Eisinger and Bharara’s own SDNY predecessor (one James Comey), say effective deterrence means taking on tough cases even if there’s a risk of losing.

Apr 6, 2019

Reaction was swift and intense when news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller had concluded his investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. While Donald Trump takes a victory lap, both his opponents and his supporters are leaping to conclusions based on a four-page summary issued by AG William Barr. But until Mueller's full report is released, there's simply not enough information to properly characterize the investigation's outcome.

Apr 2, 2019

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.

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