Podcast category: Legal News

Planet Lex: The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Podcast

The Regulation of Public Corruption

In this episode of Planet Lex, host Daniel Rodriguez speaks with Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Harry R. Horrow Professor in International Law Juliet Sorensen about the pervasiveness and regulation of corruption. Juliet defines public corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain and discusses the challenges of working within the various parameters of both civil causes of action and criminal law to regulate said corruption. Certain forms of malfeasance, like bribery, have been traditionally governed by criminal law while other forms like patronage and nepotism have been grounds for civil actions under the First Amendment but have generally been found not to be either federal, state, or local crimes. Juliet highlights that in a functioning democracy the safeguard against public officials who the electorate disapproves of is voting them out of office. However, if corruption has pervaded a democracy to the extent that voting public officials out of office cannot be done in a free and fair way, then that is an impingement of human rights. She shares that many countries are unable or unwilling to regulate public corruption for a myriad of reasons, including limited resources and weak institutions, and that in some countries the culture of corruption is so pervasive that it becomes incredibly difficult to change. Juliet also analyzes the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to ban Russia from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and discusses how the McLaren Investigation Report on doping in Russia illustrates abuses of all levels of public office but not necessarily for monetary gain. She closes the interview with an investigation of how the emergency reconstruction phase after major extreme weather events can facilitate corruption and how we can combat this. Finally, she considers the severity of public corruption, domestically or internationally, against other major issues of social policy or criminal law enforcement.

ABA Journal: Modern Law Library

A seismic shift in how the US wages war and what it means for the American public

What is war? Is it a state that is entirely distinct from peace? Has it changed over the years to become something else? In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Georgetown law professor Rosa Books shares the experiences she had in the U.S. government which led her to write her new book, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.”

Brooks discusses the post-9/11 changes that shifted the thinking of both the military and the legal community when it came to the laws of war, particularly drone warfare. The military has been the recipient of both more funds and weightier expectations, as it’s called upon to perform tasks which traditionally would have been the province of civilian government and the diplomatic corps. As a state of non-traditional warfare seems to have become a permanent fixture, does the traditional divide between civilian and military justice still make sense? And how can the American public hold the government accountable when an increasing amount of information about its workings is secret?

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Law Enforcement and the Use of Robots

In July, a sniper, later identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, opened fire at a march against fatal police shootings, held in downtown Dallas, Texas, killing 5 police officers and wounding many others. After a 45 minute gun battle and hours of negotiation with the sniper, who was holed up in a parking garage, Dallas Police Chief David Brown gave an order to his SWAT team to come up with a plan to end the mayhem before more police officers were killed.  

This led to the use of as robot, the Remotec Androx Mark V A-1, manufactured by Northrup Grumman and a pound of C-4 explosive, which was sent in eventually killing the sniper.

Today on Lawyer 2 Lawyer, hosts J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi  join attorney Edward Obayashi, deputy sheriff and legal advisor for the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and Dr. Peter Asaro,  assistant professor and director of graduate programs for the School of Media Studies at the New School for Public Engagement, as they take a look at the recent tragedy in Dallas,  the use of robots by law enforcement, criticism, ethics, policy, and regulation when it comes to the use of robots.

Attorney Edward Obayashi is deputy sheriff and legal advisor for the Plumas County sheriff’s office and a licensed attorney in the State of California. Ed’s law office specializes in providing law enforcement legal services to California law enforcement agencies and he also serves as the legal advisor and a legal consultant for numerous law enforcement agencies in California. His duties include patrol, investigations, administration, training, and providing legal advice to department management and personnel.

Dr. Peter Asaro is a philosopher of science, technology, and media. Dr. Asaro is assistant professor and director of graduate programs for the School of Media Studies at the New School for Public Engagement in New York City. He is the co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control and has written on lethal robotics from the perspective of just war theory and human rights. Dr. Asaro’s research also examines agency and autonomy, liability and punishment, and privacy and surveillance as it applies to consumer robots, industrial automation, smart buildings, and autonomous vehicles.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Inside “Making a Murderer” and the Steven Avery Trial

Update: Brendan Dassey, nephew to Steven Avery, the primary defendant from the “Making a Murderer” series on Netflix had his conviction for murder, rape, and mutilation of a corpse overturned by U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin last Friday. This episode was recorded shortly before the development.

Back on October 31st of 2005, a young photographer named Teresa Halbach went missing. Teresa’s last meeting had been with Steven Avery, on the grounds of Avery’s Auto Salvage in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Teresa’s remains were later found on the grounds of Avery’s home and family business. Avery was well known to law enforcement and had previously served a lengthy prison sentence for rape and attempted murder from which he  was later exonerated on DNA evidence.

What transpired inspired the extremely popular Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. The series spotlights Steven Avery and his quest for justice after claims that he was wrongfully accused in the murder of Teresa Halbach.

In 2005, Steven Avery was arrested for the murder of Teresa Halbach, and was ultimately represented by Wisconsin attorneys, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting. Strang and Buting presented their case and their defense strategy, bringing to light alleged tampering and planting of evidence by police. After a whirlwind of a trial, the verdict came back guilty, sending Steven Avery to jail for life without the possibility of parole. As Steven Avery sits in jail, a new attorney has taken over his case and Steven hopes for a new trial and maybe one day his freedom.

On this special episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host Bob Ambrogi joins Dean Strang, former defense attorney for Steven Avery, and Peter Linton-Smith, a former television news reporter who covered the Avery trials, as they discuss the popular Netflix series, “Making a Murderer.” Dean and Peter  offer inside perspectives and get the latest on Steven Avery and his quest for a new trial and justice under a new attorney.

Dean Strang is a lawyer in Madison, Wisconsin, at the firm Strang Bradley, LLC. He is best known for his work as one of Steven Avery’s trial lawyers, as well as for his first book, “Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror.” Mr. Strang served five years as Wisconsin’s first federal defender and co-founded Strang Bradley, LLC. He is an adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School, the University of Wisconsin Law School, and University of Wisconsin’s Division of Continuing Studies. Mr. Strang is a member of the American Law Institute and serves on several charity boards, including the Wisconsin Innocence Project. His second book will be published in early 2018.

Peter Linton-Smith was a television news reporter for 24 years covering primarily courts (1988-2012). Peter has covered cases ranging from first degree murder, wrongful death, products liability, copyright dispute, employment and labor disputes. Peter has covered Steven Avery, both his civil and criminal case from 2003-2007. Peter is currently employed at Leventhal & Puga in Denver, Colorado.

If you want more on “Making a Murderer,” check out the Defending Brendan Dassey of “Making a Murderer” Planet Lex episode, when Dassey’s appeal attorneys discuss what it was like defending him.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

Planet Lex: The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Podcast

Defending Brendan Dassey of “Making a Murderer”

Update: Brendan Dassey, nephew to Steven Avery, the primary defendant from the Making a Murderer series on Netflix had his conviction for murder, rape, and mutilation of a corpse overturned by U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin last Friday. This episode was recorded shortly before the development.

Many people have become familiar with the trial of Brendan Dassey through the 2015 Netflix television series “Making A Murderer.” His case raises a number of concerns regarding youth interrogations and the confessions.

In the debut episode of Planet Lex, host Dan Rodriguez speaks with Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Clinical Professor of Law Steven Drizin and Clinical Assistant Professor of Law Laura Nirider about youth interrogation, false confessions, and their representation of Brendan Dassey. Steve shares that he was contacted by a friend in the Wisconsin state appellate defenders office to represent Brendan. Because of the Wisconsin appellate process, they had to do two years of intensive investigation before filing their appeal with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Laura talks about their petition for a writ of habeas corpus asking the Wisconsin federal court to review Brendan’s interrogation confession, his original legal representation, and the way Wisconsin state courts handled Brendan’s case. They both provide insight on federal laws pertinent to the Dassey case and explain how the 5th Amendment protects all citizens from being coerced into giving a confession. They close the interview with an analysis of Brendan’s defense attorney Len Kachinsky’s duty of loyalty breach and the realities of false confessions that they hope people will take away from their legal work.

Steven Drizin is a clinical professor of law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law where he has been on the faculty since 1991. He is also the assistant dean of the Bluhm Legal Clinic. He served as the legal director of the clinic’s renowned Center on Wrongful Convictions from March 2005 to September 2013. At the center, Professor Drizin’s research interests involve the study of false confessions, and his policy work focuses on supporting efforts around the country to require law enforcement agencies to electronically record custodial interrogations.

Laura Nirider is a clinical assistant professor of law and co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Nirider represents individuals who were wrongfully convicted of crimes when they were children or teenagers. Her clients have included Brendan Dassey, whose case was profiled in the Netflix Global series “Making a Murderer,” and Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three, whose case was profiled in the documentary “West of Memphis.”

If you want more “Making a Murderer”, check out the most recent Lawyer 2 Lawyer episode, Inside “Making a Murderer” and the Steven Avery Trial to listen to Dean Strang, Steven Avery’s former defense attorney, and Peter Linton-Smith, who covered the trial, discuss the case and the show.

Planet Lex: The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Podcast

Sexual Misconduct on Campus

The issue of sexual assault on campuses and how to best combat these incidents is a highly debated topic among legal professionals. How should these crimes be handled and what can colleges do to protect their students?

In this episode of Planet Lex, host Daniel Rodriguez speaks with Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Professor of Law Deborah Tuerkheimer about campus sexual misconduct. Deborah shares that historically universities have not handled issues of sexual assault well and that the significance of the problem is still being assessed as we look at how institutions of higher education respond to these situations. She talks about the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter issued by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights on how campuses should handle sexual misconduct and provides insight into how the document represents a shift in the way the federal government approached the issue. Deborah explains what Title IX is and how it helped establish that sexual harassment can create a hostile environment. In addition to the civil and criminal systems, she discusses what campuses can do to help those affected by sexual misconduct and why disciplinary responsibilities fall squarely on campuses to ensure that affected students are able to continue their education. Deborah closes the interview with her perspective on what else the federal government can do to bring adequate attention to these issues and the impact that the “Dear Colleague” letter has had on our nation’s campuses.

Deborah Tuerkheimer joined the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law faculty in 2014 after serving as a professor of law at DePaul University since 2009. Professor Tuerkheimer received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and her JD from Yale. She teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law, evidence, and feminist legal theory. Her book, “Flawed Convictions: ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’ and the Inertia of Injustice,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. She is also a co-author of the casebook “Feminist Jurisprudence: Cases and Materials” and the author of numerous articles on rape and domestic violence. After clerking for Alaska Supreme Court Justice Jay Rabinowitz, she served for five years as an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she specialized in domestic violence prosecution. Tuerkheimer was elected to the American Law Institute in 2015, an esteemed group of judges, lawyers, and legal scholars dedicated to the development of the law.

ABA Journal: Modern Law Library

Freedom isn’t the end of the story for exonerees

When we hear about the wrongfully convicted, media coverage usually ends with the person being released from prison or reaching a large settlement with the state. But for the exonerated, life goes on–lives for which prison did not prepare them. Often they’re stymied by red tape which keeps them from finding employment or housing. The families they left behind may be almost unrecognizable to them. Technology which is commonplace now—such as cell phones—may have been completely absent when they went to prison.

Journalist Alison Flowers has made the post-prison lives of exonerees the topic of her new book, “Exoneree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence and Identity.” She profiled four Illinois exonerees in the book, following them for months and years as they adjusted, or failed to adjust, to life outside prison walls. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, she discusses with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles the experience of writing the book, the issues facing exonorees, and what efforts have been made to help the wrongfully convicted reconstruct lives for themselves.

On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: North Carolina Voter and Election Laws After Shelby

This time On the Road at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, host Joe Patrice speaks with North Carolina House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Paul Stam about the Post-Shelby Voter and Election Laws panel. Paul states that the panel talked mostly about the North Carolina voter reform resulting from the Shelby County v. Holder case. He explains that the North Carolina voter ID law is virtually identical to one that was approved in Texas a few days ago and wonders why the Department of Justice is taking two different positions in two different circuits. Paul recalls that when they attempted redistricting for Congress, while Section V was still in effect, a U.S. Supreme Court decision said that they had to do majority minority districts if they could. He juxtaposes this decision with the Department of Justice’s later disapproval of their redistricting as a result of a subsequent case to illustrate how difficult redistricting can be with laws changing every 2-3 years. Paul reveals that one of the most disappointing parts of the ruling for him was its reform of their early voting and that under this Fourth Circuit ruling they are going to have to go back to more voting days, but with shorter operating hours (thus making voting less convenient for all voters). He closes the interview with reflections on his decade of service in leadership and a brief discussion of what he has planned for the future.

Representative Paul Stam is currently serving his eighth (and last) term in the North Carolina House of Representatives. He was first elected to that position in 1989 and again in 2003. He has served as the House Republican Leader (2007-2010), the House Majority Leader (2011-2012), and is the Speaker Pro Tem (2013-present).

Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law

Pokémon’s Evolving Legal Landscape

Joe and Elie chat with Drew Rossow of the law office of Gregory M. Gantt in Dayton, Ohio, and author of Gotta Catch… A Lawsuit? about the legal challenges surrounding Pokémon Go. It’s worth noting that technology moves fast, and since recording this episode, Niantic has released updates via Pokemon Go that have begun to address how both players and businesses can “opt out” and “opt into” the game, along with addressing some safety concerns with more interactive disclaimers.

On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: The Global Immigration Crisis

This time On the Road at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, host Joe Patrice speaks with Immigration Law Clinic Associate Director Holly Cooper and Human Rights First President and Chief Executive Elisa Massimino about their panel covering legal issues surrounding the world immigration crisis. Elisa shares that the panel was framed around the concept of a global refugee crisis, which is the largest the world has faced since World War II. She states that the current situation puts huge demands on countries like the United States to provide leadership and that it’s important for us to remember that the crisis itself is less about refugees and more about the failure of governments to live up to their obligations under international law and provide refugees the protection to which they’re entitled. Holly focuses on some of the overlooked issues of our domestic policy and mentions that many Americans are unaware that we’ve seen one of the largest surges of refugees on our borders as well, but from a mostly Central American demographic. She talks about how Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala currently have some of the highest homicide rates of anywhere in the world that isn’t a war zone and emphasizes that our lack of domestic response, stigmatization, and privatization of the detention arena has incentivized the economics of a refugee crisis here in our own country. Both guests discuss how xenophobia can cultivate a climate that promotes radicalization and they close the interview with their thoughts on the importance of facilitating trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities.

Elisa Massimino is president and chief executive officer of Human Rights First. She joined as a staff attorney in 1991 and served as the organization’s Washington Director from 1997 to 2008. Previously, Massimino was a litigator in private practice at the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson, where she was pro bono counsel in many human rights cases. She holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University.

Holly Cooper is the associate director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of California, Davis, School of Law. and is a nationally-recognized expert on immigration detention issues and on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Cooper is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law, where she was on the Board of the King Hall Legal Foundation and an active member of the National Lawyers Guild. She received her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. As an undergraduate, she also studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Padua in Italy. She speaks, reads, and writes in both Spanish and Italian.

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