Podcast

Life of the Law

Law is alive. It doesn’t live in books and words. It thrives in how well we understand and apply it to everyday life. We ask questions, find answers, and publish what we discover in feature episodes and live storytelling.

Episodes

  • 139: Release Day [Rebroadcast] & Special Announcement

    Sep 26 2018

    It's official, and it's one more amazing step into the future at Life of the Law: we have a new Executive Director. Six years after Nancy Mullane, Tom Hilbink and Shannon Heffernan launched the first episode of Life of the Law, with stories about jury nullification and jailhouse lawyers, we welcome a new fearless leader. Tony Gannon, whom you have come to know as our talented behind-the-scenes Senior Producer brings his vision and exciting energy to LOTL as our new Executive Director.  This...more

  • 138: Call NOW! [Rebroadcast]

    Jun 26 2018

    When things go bad all you need to do is pick up the phone and CALL. Since the US Supreme Court allowed lawyers to advertise in the 1970s, practices like these have skyrocketed, with often shoddily-produced results. Are tacky lawyer ads trashing the profession or simply making it more easily accessible to those who might not otherwise know who to call when they need an attorney?We are rebroadcasting a long-time favorite episode from our archive as we slow down for the summer. We aim to publish s...more

  • 137: Law and Society Association Conference Highlights

    Jun 19 2018

    Where does one find a discussion of research on abduction for forced marriage amidst West and Central African conflicts? Where does one find research on how ‘yes means yes’ policies on university campuses have affected the college students intended to follow these new rules of consent? What about a conversation on the various strains of conservative thought? The Law and Society Association’s annual conference just came to an end, and we were happy to find the scholars and researchers engaging th...more

  • 136: New Voices Series - Law Students Take on Immigration

    May 28 2018

    Immigration law is a mystery. Unless you’re an immigrant seeking relief under the law, or you’re an immigration law attorney, it’s an unknown. Then, earlier this year, Karla McKanders, a professor of immigration law at Vanderbilt Law School sent us an email. Her law students were producing their final reports on immigration and refugee law as audio stories, and would Life of the Law be interested in listening to, and possibly publishing their work as part of our New Voices series? Absolutely. To...more

  • 135: In-Studio: Peril and Promise of Genetic Testing

    May 15 2018

    How curious are you about your genetic makeup? There are hundreds of companies that provide direct-to-consumer tests that promise  your genealogy, deep ancestry and biogeographical ancestry. Other tests offer genetic information about your health and traits, with some promising your whole genome sequencing. But when you get the results, do you really know what you have? And do you know, without a doubt, who ultimately has access to your genetic information?This week, our team meets up in th...more

  • 134: GATTACA REVISITED - Up the Borrowed Ladder

    May 01 2018

    Some two decades ago, filmmaker Andrew Nicols wrote and directed GATTACA a sci-fi movie that presented a future in which individuals and society were at risk from having gained access to, and control of, our genetic code.Today, 20 years after the movie's initial release, that future fiction, once considered distant and impossible, is, in many ways, now. More than 500 laboratories offer 2,000 genetic tests. Once limited to medical professionals, the FDA has approved direct-to-consumer genetic tes...more

  • 133: In-Studio: Police, Race and Fatal Force

    Apr 17 2018

    Mothers, brothers, sons and daughters in cities across the country are suffering from the loss of a loved one to police use of fatal force. In 2017 The Washington Post reports police officers in the United States shot and killed 987 people. Sixty eight of them, men and women, some of them teenagers like Tony Robinson, were unarmed when they were shot and killed by police officers. The county with highest number of police shootings per capita in the country, is right here in Kern County in Califo...more

  • 132: Death by Police: A Mother's (audio) Diary

    Apr 02 2018

    Police officers throughout the U.S. shoot and kill unarmed people, in Sacramento, Detroit, New Orleans and in Madison. The Washington Post reports 987 people were shot and killed by police in 2017, sixty-eight of them were unarmed. There are marches and calls for investigations and in the end, justice is elusive. So when Life of the Law producer Zoe Sullivan said the mother of an unarmed bi-racial teenager who had been shot and killed by a police officer in Madison had been keeping an audio diar...more

  • 131: LIVE LAW SF - Initial Public Offering

    Mar 20 2018

    This week Life of the Law presents LIVE LAW... stories from people living with the rapid fire shifts that come with tech in the Bay Area, folks who are pushing back against the gentrification and alienation to try to make real life contact through music, journalism, murals, and filmmaking.LIVE LAW San Francisco: Initial Public Offering took place on Friday night, February 23rd at The Polish Club in San Francisco's Mission District. We recorded the night so we could share it with you -- stories b...more

  • 130: Inside San Quentin - Moonlight

    Mar 06 2018

    What would men in prison say, if we just listened? This week, Life of the Law presents a new INSIDE SAN QUENTIN episode - conversations inside San Quentin produced exclusively by men incarcerated inside the prison.We have laptops and can watch just about any movie or series anytime we want. Prisoners have access to some tv and select movies approved by the prison, but not all movies and, up until recently, not Moonlight, winner of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture. One day after watching t...more

  • 129: Uganda Part 4 - In Studio

    Feb 20 2018

    Over the past month, Life of the Law's team of journalists and scholars have published a three part series of feature investigative reports on Uganda, examining the long-term impact of the violence committed on the people of the East African nation by rebels with the Lord's Resistance Army or LRA.Beginning in the mid-1980's and for more than a decade, LRA rebels abducted 60,000 people from towns and villages in northern Uganda, many of them young girls and boys who were then forced to fight, kil...more

  • 128: Uganda Part 3 - Justice

    Feb 07 2018

    For more than 20 years, rebels with the Lord's Resistance Army abducted 60,000 people from towns and villages in Northern Uganda, many of them young girls and boys who were then forced to fight, kill, and loot. Young girls spent years in captive marriages, forced to bear the children of LRA commanders.Where were the local police and government troops? How was this allowed to happen to so many children over the course of so many years? Where was the international community?This week, Life of the ...more

  • 127: Uganda Part 2 - Escape

    Jan 24 2018

    For more than 20 years, rebels with the Lords Resistance Army abducted 60,000 people, from towns and villages in Northern Uganda, many of them young girls and boys who were forced to fight, kill, loot and have sex with rebel commanders. Why didn't the government stop the abductions and the violence? Where was the international community? Who was upholding their right to protection under the law?This week, Life of the Law reporter Gladys Oroma presents Part 2 of our special series following the l...more

  • 126: Uganda Part 1 - Abducted

    Jan 10 2018

    Today man named Dominic Ongwen is on trial before the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands. The 42 year old Ugandan is charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Northern Uganda.Ongwen is the only commander with the rebel group, The Lord’s Resistance Army, who is on trial before the ICC, but he wasn’t alone in the commission of crimes against the people of Northern Uganda. From 1986 through 2017, over the course of more than 30 years, LRA rebels abducted ...more

  • 125: A Whole 'nother World - San Quentin Live (2017 Holiday Rebroadcast)

    Dec 27 2017

    On Saturday night, Dec 5, 2015 more than 200 people filled the pews of the Catholic chapel inside San Quentin State Prison for a first-ever uncensored storytelling event behind the prison walls. Together, inmates and volunteers, officers and staff gathered to hear stories about the all-too-secret, often misunderstood community that sustains each of them inside and outside the prison walls.For two storytellers, Troy Williams and Watani Stiner, the night would be the first time they would return t...more

  • 124: Traditions

    Dec 12 2017

    Traditions. We all have them. Some good and, well, some not so good. Think for a minute. When you were a kid, what were your holiday traditions? Do you still follow some of them today? Put up lights? Bake special cookies or visit relatives? What if the law makes it impossible to follow your traditions?More than two million Americans will spend the holidays locked up in a jail or prison. In the Bay Area, volunteers spend a few hours inside San Quentin State Prison's cell blocks singing holiday so...more

  • 123: The Battle Over Your Right to Vote

    Nov 28 2017

    The polls got it wrong. What matters in the end, on election day, is who has the right to vote and who goes to the polls to cast their ballot. Due to strict voter ID laws, not all Americans are allowed to vote on election day. In fact, some 21 million are prevented from voting simply because they don't have the required ID or paperwork when they go to the polls. The Government Accounting Office reports that can shift the election outcome in some states by 2-3 percentage points.In our most recent...more

  • 122: Government Ghost

    Nov 14 2017

    2017 has been a terrible year for tens of thousands of people. Fires in northern California and record-setting torrential hurricanes and floods in Texas and Puerto Rico have meant that families have lost their homes and in many cases all of their belongings, including documentation and identification -- Social Security cards, drivers licenses and birth certificates. What happens when you lose your identification?  As it turns out it's not always as easy as you might think getting  gove...more

  • 121: In-Studio - Brutally Ruthless

    Oct 31 2017

    "As incompetent and bumbling as the Trump Administration has been in so many areas, they have been brutally ruthless on immigration." -- Jose Chito Vela, Immigration Attorney and Candidate for Texas State LegislatureIt’s been a year since the Presidential election of 2016 and the night the world turned upside down and inside out. Polls showed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton ahead by a solid margin. But by the end of the night, the networks had declared Donald Trump the next President of the...more

  • 120: Life Un-DACAmented (Re-Broadcast)

    Oct 17 2017

    Nearly two years ago on January 26, 2016, Life of the Law presented Un-DACA-mented, a report on the Obama Administration's DACA Program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program, begun in 2012 offered undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, a chance to defer deportation.Life of the Law producer Jonathan Hirsch traveled to Texas where he met Luis Morales, a young man who came to the US from Mexico with his family when he was eight years old. In 2015, with the help of...more

  • 119: Live Law Detroit

    Oct 03 2017

    Look around. Change is happening. People you know and people you pass on the street are in transition. They are transforming their lives. Unless you stop to hear their story, you may miss it.Each year new and former Soros Justice Fellows gather for four days of discussions, workshops, plenaries, breakout sessions, and meals to debate and discuss issues facing the US criminal justice system.On the last night of this year's gathering in Detroit, seven Fellows took to the stage to share personal st...more

  • 118: In Studio - Global Intellectual Property

    Sep 19 2017

    All over the world people create. Music, art, literature. But is their creative work protected? Sure there are international copyright laws, but are they enforced? And if not, what then? This week our team took to the studio for a discussion to sort out global culture and international copyright law. If you haven't yet listened to our most recent feature episode GIFT AND CURSE OF MUSIC - Haiti's Fight for Copyright by reporter and composer Ian Coss, take a minute to hit the play button.Then come...more

  • 117: The Gift & Curse of Music

    Sep 05 2017

    As a child, Serge Turnier fell in love with the sounds of the carnival bands that would pass near his house in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Now one of the top music producers in the country, Turnier is faced with the reality that Haitian law offers little protection for music copyrights and he must decide whether to quit the music business altogether, in order to provide financial security for his family.A musician is not even recognized as a real job here in Haiti. You're just nothing in eye of the l...more

  • 116: In Studio - Prosecuting Discretion

    Aug 22 2017

    "Every criminal trial is a competition between the prosecution and the defense. The judge has relatively less dominant role than in other countries and a lot of times, we have the guilt and innocence of people decided by juries, unless of course there's a plea bargain. This means prosecutors are crucially important because they're the ones who decide whether a case is going to go through, and what shape that case is going to take."- Hadar Aviram, Professor of Law, UC HastingsThis week on Li...more

  • 115: Ten Hours to Twenty Years

    Aug 08 2017

    It all started out as a plan to steal some comic books, sell them and split the cash. That was before a busted lip, a heart attack, and federal prosecutors stepped in.Reporter Mary Lee Williams, a graduate of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, tells the whole messy story of some people who got caught up in two different systems of laws, and two prosecutors who saw their crime from two very different perspectives, with long term consequences. Our story… Ten Hours to Twenty Years.Ten hours...more

  • 114: Inside San Quentin - To Be Heard

    Jul 25 2017

    It's been more than 45 years since a thousand inmates at Attica Prison (Correctional Facility) in New York took control of the prison. In her 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy, Professor Heather Thompson pieces "together the whole, gripping story, from the conditions that gave rise to the rebellion, which cost the lives of 43 men, to the decades of government obstructionism that prevented the full story from being told." (NYTi...more

  • 113: In Studio

    Jul 11 2017

    America is a nation that locks up more people per capita than any other country in the world.  The Sentencing Project reports 2.2 million people are incarcerated in America's prisons. That's a 500% increase over the past 40 years. The Institute for Criminal Policy Research in London reports America locks up 670 people per 100,000. Russia locks up 439 per 100,000. Rwanda 434 per 100,000. China 118 per 100,000. How in the world did this happen? Are Americans criminally prone? Or has America's...more

  • 112: In Studio

    Jun 28 2017

    What does it take to win an NBA Championship? On Monday night, June 12th, Oakland's Golden State Warriors, aka "Dub Nation" silenced the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the 2017 NBA Championship. Three days later, thousands of diverse, loyal, cheering, screaming fans filled the streets of Oakland to celebrate a victory many felt belonged as much to them, as to the players. For now at least. After 40 years homed in Oakland, the Warriors are moving across the Bay to a new arena in San Francisco.Life of...more

  • 111: Warriors

    Jun 13 2017

    It's official! The Golden State Warriors are the 2017 NBA Champions! Life of the Law honors the team and each of the players with this special episode.One day a year, the Golden State Warriors' coaches, managers, and players go behind the walls of San Quentin State Prison for a game on the prison's lower yard against the San Quentin Warriors, a team of hard-driving inmates. And like all real basketball, it's an annual battle of will and determination against time and rules."I love coming in here...more

  • 110: In Studio

    Jun 02 2017

    What does color of skin have to do with equal access to justice in America? The Equal Protection Clause, part of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which took effect in 1868, provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction "the equal protection of the laws."  In 2017 America, does every person have equal protection under the law, or not?Over the past month, Life of the Law presented Sarah Marshall's two part report on the life and execution of Warren McCleskey.Un...more

  • 109: Unequal Protection - Pt. 2

    May 23 2017

    Last time on Life of the Law we presented Unequal Protection - Part 1, the story of Warren McCleskey’s unsuccessful appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. McCleskey argued that his death sentence by the state of Georgia had been prejudiced by the color of skin and that he had not been given equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.Walking into the prison, I was the first one. I walked in and his lawyers were walking toward me.  I was looking at them and I said, 'What...more

  • 108: Unequal Protection - Pt. 1

    May 03 2017

    America is a country plagued by racism. Culturally, socially, economically. But what about in the courts? 30 years ago, Warren McCleskey, a black man on Georgia’s death row, took proof to the US Supreme Court that his trial and sentence had been affected by racial prejudice. It’s a landmark case that nearly every law student in American is familiar with -- but few of us know the whole story.And I sort of said, "Well, Gird up your loins. If that’s, in fact, a problem in our criminal justice syste...more

  • 107: In Studio

    Apr 19 2017

    Welcome to In-Studio from Life of the Law. This week we're talking about our most recent episode Mother and Son, the role of corporal punishment in the house, and the recent United Airlines situation.Each month we present an investigative feature report and two weeks later our team -- a scholar, journalist, producer, and attorney -- meet up in the studios of KQED in San Francisco to talk about our investigative reports, the law in the news, and the law on our minds. Join us for this month's In-S...more

  • 106: Mother and Son

    Apr 05 2017

    Prison is a walled off, secret world, where inmates and officers live a sort of altered reality. For the past 10 years Life of the Law's Executive Producer, Nancy Mullane, has been reporting on the people inside San Quentin State Prison in Northern California and over those years, some of the men she's been reporting on have themselves become journalists -- writing print stories for the San Quentin News and producing audio stories for the San Quentin Prison Report, stories told by reporters rom ...more

  • 105: In Studio

    Mar 21 2017

    Want to know how heroin treatment centers in Canada, the Affordable Care Act, President Trump's new budget and Henrietta Lacks all fit into one conversation? Welcome to In-Studio from Life of the Law.Each month we present an investigative feature report and two weeks later our team -- a scholar, journalist, producer and attorney meet up in the studios of KQED in San Francisco to talk about our investigative reports, the law in the news and the law on our minds. Join us for this month's IN-STUDIO...more

  • 104: Heroin Town

    Mar 08 2017

    Heroin is illegal in Canada. And just like in the United States many doctors and treatment centers treat heroin addiction by providing a legal alternative, such as methadone. But methadone treatment doesn’t always work. So what do you do?These people are currently injecting heroin in alleyways, facing overdose and risk of disease and causing all kinds of problems for the public. Why wouldn't you want them to be getting the heroin from a doctor to bring them in off the street and in contact with ...more

  • 103: In Studio

    Feb 21 2017

    Welcome to In-Studio from Life of the Law. Each month we present an investigative feature report, and two weeks later our team of scholars, journalists, producers and guests will meet up in the studios of KQED in San Francisco to ask questions and get some answers about the law, or at least start to look for some answers.Do you have questions about the law you'd like us to discuss? Write to us at Life of the Law with your stories and questions about the law, connect@lifeofthelaw.org.This month j...more

  • 102: Radio Silenced

    Feb 07 2017

    In April of 2014, federal agents raided the studios of 106.1 TOUCH FM in Boston, Massachusetts. They took turntables, microphones, transmitters, pretty much everything. The reason was simple: the radio station was operating without a license. But that raises questions: could the owner get a license? If not, why not? And why did he need one in the first place?Just because something’s law, doesn't make it right. I like to call us the Rosa Parks of radio. The Harriet Tubman of radio. The Nat Turner...more

  • 101: In Studio

    Jan 24 2017

    At Life of the Law, we're going to shake things up a bit so our team can jump into the national conversation that's taking place about the law. We're going to ask questions and hopefully get some answers, or at least begin to look for answers.We want to welcome you to join us for In Studio and we encourage you to write to us at Life of the Law with your stories and questions about the law.Each month we'll present an investigative report, and two weeks later our team of journalists, scholars, pro...more

  • 100: Live Law NSF

    Jan 10 2017

    The US Constitution sets the rules for how our our society is governed. Lawyers and advocates, legislators and lobbyists, judges and courts work to enforce it, or change it. All the while, legal and social scholars work behind the scenes for years, often decades conducting research that gets to the heart of the history, evolution, practice, and potential of the law in our society.To celebrate Life of the Law's 100th Episode, Life of the Law and the National Science Foundation brought five NSF fu...more

  • 99: Shaken

    Dec 20 2016

    Tonia Miller lost control and shook her baby to death. That’s what prosecutors said. Miller denied it, but a Michigan jury wasn’t convinced and convicted her of murder. At 19 years old, Miller was separated from her family, sent to prison and found herself having lost something else: her life.Over 13 years later, those who knew the young family are haunted by moments when the child showed signs something was wrong during the short time she was alive. According to medical experts, authorities may...more

  • 98: Fair Fight for a Fair Court

    Dec 13 2016

    The 2016 elections are over. But what did we learn from the results? Over the past 11 months, Life of the Law’s team of reporters, editors and scholars have been taking a hard took at how money and an increase in spending by special interest groups has played a role in the outcome of elections for judges on state supreme courts. And those outcomes may impact our shared access to our state courts, courts  that are supposed to represent fairness in the law and the highest ideals of justice.We...more

  • 97: Fair Fight for a Fair Court

    Nov 29 2016

    The 2016 elections are over. But what did we learn from the results? Over the past 11 months, Life of the Law’s team of reporters, editors and scholars have been taking a hard took at how money and an increase in spending by special interest groups has played a role in the outcome of elections for judges on state supreme courts. Ultimately, the outcomes of those races may impact our shared access to our state courts, courts that represent fairness in the law and the highest ideals of justice.We ...more

  • 96: Live Law San Quentin: Hope

    Nov 16 2016

    On Saturday, November 12, 2016  members of the San Quentin Wednesday Night Creative Writing Class presented the stories they have been writing, to fellow inmates and guests inside the prison’s education center. The event, the Eleventh Annual Public Reading, was sponsored by the William James Association’s Prison Arts Project. And so, down on the “yard” inside a double-wide modular bungalow, inmates stood before an audience of free and incarcerated to share their creative fiction, spoken wor...more

  • 95: Judges v. Attack Ads

    Nov 01 2016

    Judges across the country are in a fight to keep their jobs. You see, Unlike judges appointed to federal courts, many state judges have to run in elections to either get voted onto the court or keep their seat on the bench after they’ve been appointed… that means they have to convince voters to vote for them. So they do what candidates in elections do: they go to state fairs, they shake hands, they kiss babies and they spend hours on the phone fundraising. And now, they dodge harsh attacks.Fifte...more

  • 94: Courting Voters - Pt 4: A Fair Fight for a Fair Court

    Oct 18 2016

    On October 4th, the justices on the Kansas Supreme Court traveled to Hutchinson, a small town in central Kansas. The seven men and women donned their black robes and took the bench in a community college auditorium to hear oral arguments in upcoming cases. This is pretty much the extent of campaigning the justices are allowed to do and for more than 50 years this has been enough.But this year, many people in Kansas say they are disillusioned by several rulings the justices on Kansas’ highest cou...more

  • 93: Last Count

    Oct 04 2016

    Douglas Collier is serving a life sentence inside San Quentin State Prison.  For years he shared a 9x4 foot cell with his friend Tony, a fellow inmate.  One day Tony couldn’t stop coughing. His arteries were clogged. Several months later, Tony died -- one of the hundreds of inmates who die in California state prisons each year.  In this story, reported by Greg Eskridge, an inmate and journalist with the San Quentin Prison Report, Douglas tell us what it was like to witness, and co...more

  • 92: Live Law Phoenix - Borders

    Sep 20 2016

    Each summer, people from all around the country gather for the Soros Justice Fellowship Conference -- three days of meetings, conversations, and workshops by scholars, journalists, attorneys, and advocates working on projects that explore the criminal justice system in America.This year six fellows, some new and some former, shared personal stories about their work and their lives. It was hosted by Adam Culbreath, Program Officer of the Soros Justice Fellows Program. Here are thei...more

  • 91: Death on a Dairy

    Sep 06 2016

    “Being trampled, being struck by livestock, being struck by vehicles, backed over. People have fallen into and drowned in manure pits.”- Steve Kaplan, OSHATurns out small dairy farms can be some of the most dangerous, unregulated places to work. There are hinges and machines and huge cows to contend with. Over the past decade in New York State alone, 70 dairy workers have died on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, investigated only six of those deaths.Life ...more

  • 90: Kids Doing Life

    Aug 23 2016

    When you’re sixteen or seventeen do you really think about what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with? Sometimes, sure. But not all the time. There’s science to show that teens don’t think like adults. Their brains aren’t fully developed. That means two things. First that they don’t have the same ability as an adult to consider the consequences of their actions, and second, that in time, when their brain does become fully developed, they can be rehabilitated.For these and many reasons, the U...more

  • 89: Live Law Philadelphia - Prison Positive

    Aug 09 2016

    If you’ve had unprotected sex the only way to know if you’ve been infected with the HIV is to take a quick saliva or blood test. It’s free and it's easy. And then whether you’re negative or positive you can get on with life and, if you test positive, start the really important early treatment.Today people with HIV who get treatment can live a normal life. But if they don’t -- if they avoid the test and treatment -- in around 10 to 15 years HIV so severely damages their immune system that AIDS de...more

  • 88: Clemency

    Jul 26 2016

    Last December 95 prisoners had their sentences shortened by President Obama. This was part of an ongoing effort to use clemency to free non-violent drug offenders who were given harsh sentences for their crimes. For 53 year old Ramona Brant this meant she would not spend the rest of her life in prison. Brant was a first time offender convicted in 1995 on charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.This summer Life of the Law is presenting some of the best and the brightest ...more

  • 87: Bail or Bust

    Jul 12 2016

    Hundreds of people in cities throughout the US have been arrested for participating in Black Lives Matter protests.  In Chicago, a judge set one protestor's bail at $350,000. To "make bail" he will have to present the court with the money or property as s promise, a sort of collateral, that he will return for his hearing in exchange for his freedom while he awaits trial. When he appears for his trial, he will get his money back."There really are two systems of justice. There’s one...more

  • 86: Winter of Love

    Jun 28 2016

    This summer, we’re changing things up a bit at Life of the Law. We’re presenting some amazing audio documentaries produced by at universities and colleges around the country. Our first story is from Aviva DeKornfeld of Pitzer College in Southern California. Aviva was curious about marriage. Marrying the person you love is the ideal, right? But what happens when you find your mate, your dream, your love...and you get married but then a few months later, the government tells never mind, your marri...more

  • BONUS: Life as Lady J

    Jun 21 2016

    While North Carolina sorts out whether children who identify as transgendered should be able to use the bathroom of their choice, shots were fired inside a gay dance club in Orlando, Florida. Fifty innocent people were killed and dozens of others were seriously injured.The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are more likely to be targeted for hate crimes than people who are part of any other minority group.The Human Rights Cam...more

  • 85: Live Law New Orleans - A Scholar's Life

    Jun 14 2016

    What’s it like to be a scholar? You go to college, get graduate degree maybe a phd to study something about the law in our lives. Years pass. You live in the hallowed halls of academia.  Who are you now? Life of the Law traveled to New Orleans for the Law and Society Association’s annual meeting where more than 2000 law and social science scholars from around the world got together to share their work and personal stories about their lives. Host Osagie Obsaogie, a Law Professor at UC Hastin...more

  • 84: Liberte & Securite

    May 31 2016

    There’ve been a series of terrorist attacks in Europe,  and now France, one of the countries hardest hit, is adjusting to the elevated threat.Since the shootings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo last year and the attacks that killed 130 people this year,  French people have been trying to cope with the fact that not only is their country a target for terrorism, but a few of the terrorists who engineered and even participated in the attacks were born and raised in neighboring Belgium and...more

  • 83: Recuse Yourself - Pt 3: A Fair Fight for a Fair Court

    May 17 2016

    When should a judge step aside? Most people can agree that when a judge’s family member appears in court, it’s the judge’s responsibility to bow out. Or, if a judge stands to profit directly from the outcome of the ruling — that’s pretty cut and dry, too. But what about this: can a judge remain impartial when a case concerns a person or group that contributed money, sometimes millions of dollars, to help that judge get elected? What then? As more and more money floods into judicial elections acr...more

  • 82: The Holdup

    May 03 2016

    “I feel like I need to do those things cause the court has to appear normal to the outside world, even though things are really abnormal inside, it's my job to keep a sense of normalcy and not to draw attention to the court.”--Chief Judge Keith Watkins, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of AlabamaThis year is an election year, which is already pretty rough going. Then in February, Justice Antonin Scalia died, leaving an open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. More like a black hole. Senat...more

  • 81: Rig the System - Pt 2: Fair Fight for a Fair Court

    Apr 19 2016

    The law isn’t always black and white. Let’s say your neighbor wants to drill for oil in their backyard. It could be loud and it might even pollute the groundwater. You’re worried. Who has the authority under the law to determine whether your neighbor can drill for oil or not?People living in states like Ohio, want their local governments to decide… and have gone as far as to change the state constitution to grant local governments something called “home rule”, which gives locals the power to gov...more

  • 80: Live Law Nashville – Blood, Sweat, and Tears

    Apr 05 2016

    Hosted by Hal Humphries, our live show, Blood Sweat and Tears explores music and the law in “Music City”.We host live storytelling events that are unlike any other. All across the country, our Live Law shows showcase the stories of lawyers, judges, storytellers, and everyday people share their experiences and encounters with the law.So Not all stories about the law fit snugly into one of our feature investigative reports. Some stories have to be told live, in front of an audience, no editing and...more

  • BONUS: A Conversation on Eugenics and the Law

    Mar 29 2016

    Last week, we published STERILIZED, Reporter Jess Engebretson's disturbing story of Rose Brooks and Lewis Reynolds, two of more than 60,000 men and women forcibly sterilized in the United States by doctors working in state hospitals. The doctors and nurses who performed the vasectomies and salpingectomies weren't breaking the law.Throughout the 20th Century, state legislators passed laws that allowed these surgical procedures. It was all part of the early 20th century eugenics movement. But...more

  • 79: Sterilized

    Mar 22 2016

    Beginning in 1907, states in the US began to forcibly sterilize over 60,000 Americans -- people considered by scientists to be “unfit” -- the mentally ill, the disabled, the morally suspect. Now, a few states are trying to figure out what they owe to the program's survivors.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 78: Revolution in a Cornfield

    Mar 08 2016

    In Kansas, public schools are at the heart of a debate about how much money the state should budget for education -- a debate that comes down to a fight over nothing less than  the balance of power among the three branches of government.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 77: Harris County

    Feb 23 2016

    All over the country, critics argue that ID laws discourage voter participation--particularly among poor and minority voters. This is particularly true in Texas, which passed a voter ID law in 2011. By 2050 the state’s population is expected to double--and most of that growth will be come from the Latino community. How are all of these voter ID laws impacting who votes today in the US, and who will have access to the polls in the future?This episode of Life of the Law is sponsored by Squarespace...more

  • 76: Juggalos

    Feb 09 2016

    In 2011 the FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center released their Gang Threat Assessment, which listed Juggalos as a “loosely affiliated hybrid gang.” Juggalos, who are more commonly known as fans of horrorcore rap and the Insane Clown Posse, say that this designation has been unfairly attributed to them based on the actions of a few violent outliers in the community.  In 2014 the Juggalos teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI to remove the gang classification. This case, Parsons v U.S. D...more

  • 75: UnDACAmented

    Jan 26 2016

    In 2012, the Obama Administration signed a memo addressing all branches of the Department of Homeland Security, which granted undocumented immigrants who migrated as minors to the United States a renewable deferral of deportation. It’s called Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals. DACA, for short. Luis Perez Morales is one of those children. He crossed the border with his family when he was 8, and has been living in the U.S. since then. When he heard about the program, Perez Morales schedu...more

  • 74: Overruled

    Jan 11 2016

    In the U.S., juries are often seen as democracy in action. Twelve men and women are asked to hear an entire case, and ultimately, decide another person’s fate. But in Alabama, the jury’s decision between life and death is only a recommendation. Life of the Law Episode 74 "Overruled" was sponsored by Squarespace. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 73: “A whole ‘nother world” – Live @ San Quentin

    Dec 25 2015

    On Saturday night, Dec 5, 2015 more than 200 people filled the pews of the Catholic chapel inside San Quentin State Prison for a first-ever uncensored storytelling event behind the prison walls. Together, inmates and volunteers, officers and staff gathered to hear stories about the all-too-secret, often misunderstood community that sustains each of them inside and outside the prison walls.For two storytellers, Troy Williams and Watani Stiner, the night would be the first time they woul...more

  • 72: Outside The Walls

    Dec 15 2015

    “I didn’t go to prison because I was a saint. I went to prison because of my lifestyle. Since the age of 13 I was a gangbanger, and did what gangbangers do. I’m 49 years old now. After 20 years of a life sentence, I got paroled. That was a year ago. My name is Troy Williams and this is a diary of my first year as a free man.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 71: Space Law 2.0

    Nov 24 2015

    When you look up at the sky the last thing you probably think about is the law. But space is exactly where the next frontier of law is being played out.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 70: Live Law – Truth or Dare

    Nov 17 2015

    Truth or Dare? What's it gonna be? On this episode, we have three stories told live: two truths and a dare.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 69: Bit of an Edge

    Nov 03 2015

    In real life, the business of jury selection is a 400 million dollar industry. So in a world of high priced jury consultants what does a jury of our peers look like? How do jury consultants work? How do juries even get picked? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 68: Thorpe’s Body

    Oct 20 2015

    The body of legendary Native American athlete Jim Thorpe rests in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania ... but some members of his family say he should be dug up and reburied on tribal land in Oklahoma. A lawsuit seeking to move his body back to his birthplace shows how difficult it can be for the law to provide justice for Native Americans.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 67: The Stop

    Oct 06 2015

    We all know this feeling. You're driving. Maybe you're speeding. Maybe you don't think you're doing anything wrong. All of a sudden blue lights flash in your rear-view mirror. Your stomach drops. You've been stopped. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 66: Who’s the Criminal?

    Sep 22 2015

    Ever committed a crime? Were you caught? Arrested? Maybe not. Between a quarter and a third of all adults in America were caught and arrested. Now they have a criminal record. What about those who got away? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 65: Commuter Cops

    Sep 08 2015

    Laws that required cops to live in the cities they patrolled were common in the early 1900s and still exist in the United States today. However, some law enforcement officials say residency requirements restrict their freedom of movement and the effectiveness of these laws have been questioned and even challenged in the US Supreme Court.  Yet, many citizens still want the police who patrol their communities to live where they work.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoic...more

  • 64: Block Boss

    Aug 25 2015

    On every city block, there are rules. Some are unspoken, some require friendly reminders, some are enforced by the law. Is it ever OK to break the rules in order to prevent others from breaking the rules themselves?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 63: Water Rights

    Aug 11 2015

    In the Western United States, water law is based on what seems like a simple principle: "first in use is first in right." In other words, first come first served. But take a severe drought, a Native American tribe and a hardscrabble band of ranchers, and it’s actually pretty complicated.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 62: No Lawyers Allowed

    Jul 28 2015

    At disciplinary hearings in prison, inmates are not guaranteed the right to an attorney. In fact, they aren't allowed to have one at all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 61: Outside the Womb

    Jul 14 2015

    What happens when the law changes and people find themselves in legal limbo in a foreign country?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 60: The Bear

    Jun 30 2015

    Frank 'The Bear' Abramovitz lost his wife to cancer. That’s when he took over her business, and became a bounty hunter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 59: The Trauma Room

    Jun 16 2015

    When prisoners act out, they get put in solitary confinement -- the penal version of go to your room and think about what you've done.  But for the women that reporter Annie Brown talked to with histories of trauma, being in solitary confinement was more like go to your room and think about what’s been done to you.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 58: Oswald Is Still Dead

    Jun 02 2015

    Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered before he could stand trial for the assassination of JFK. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to get him into a courtroom, over and over again.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 57: Drag.net

    May 19 2015

    Amateur sleuths armed with their own laptops, public information and a lot of spare time are working alone and in groups to crack criminal cases. Sometimes it works and sometimes it goes very, very badly.  Welcome to the future of crowdsourced law enforcement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 56: Tipping the Scales

    May 05 2015

    Are aggressive, expensive elections corrupting the court system? Or are they evidence of a strong democracy? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 55: Marijuana Rules

    Apr 20 2015

    Recreational pot has earned the state of Colorado $53 million dollars in tax revenue. All on a drug that, according to federal law is still illegal. How does a marijuana business navigate all the uncertainty? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 54: Bad Gig

    Apr 07 2015

    Exotic dancers, on-call drivers, and writers might have a different name for what they do -- freelancing, part-time work and independent contracting -- but it all means the same thing. Work that doesn’t start at 9 and end at 5. And sure, it has its perks, but do 1099 workers have protections? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 53: Anatomy of a Confession

    Mar 24 2015

    A triple murder, a habitual liar on a stolen motorcycle and a confession that doesn’t add up. Why would anyone confess to a crime they didn’t commit? On Life of the Law, the story of a man dying of cancer on Texas’s Death Row who confessed to a crime he says he didn’t do. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 52: Birth Rights

    Mar 10 2015

    Pregnant with options. There’s the stroller, the crib, and the adorable baby clothes. And, for more than 50,000 women each year birthing plans also include choosing the right midwife even in states where birth by midwife is not legal.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 51: Call NOW!

    Feb 24 2015

    When things go bad all you need to do is pick up the phone and CALL. Or so lawyers like Saul on AMC’s new series tells us. Since the US Supreme Court allowed lawyers to advertise in the 1970s, practices like these have skyrocketed, with often shoddily-produced results. Are tacky lawyer ads trashing the profession or simply making it more easily accessible to those who might not otherwise know who to call when they need an attorney?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 50: The Diaper Wars

    Feb 10 2015

    In the 1980's, the world's two largest diaper companies set out to destroy each other, in a patent battle known as the Diaper Wars. The court battles lasted seven years and cost millions of dollars. What did we get out of it? Better diapers -- and one very messy lesson in patent law.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 49: Life After Doxing

    Jan 27 2015

    The internet is anonymous. Except for when it isn't. When someone wants to hurt you, they can find your address and other personal information and post it online, inviting others to harass you, stalk you, or worse. And thanks to minimal regulation of the Internet, there may not be a whole lot you can do about it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 48: Boiled Angel

    Jan 13 2015

    Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed in the first amendment of the constitution. One exception to the rule is obscenity. But determining what is obscene is difficult – especially for those making it.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 47: Life of the Law End-of-Year Special: Redemption Stories

    Dec 23 2014

    Life of the Law looks back over some of our favorite stories from the year: The ones that left us hopeful. Over the past year, we’ve found the law in places as different as comedy clubs, bedrooms, even in our own consciences.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 46: One Conjugal Visit

    Dec 02 2014

    How long would your relationship last without a kiss or more than a kiss? In America, only three states allow prisoners and their spouses or domestic partners to have extended family visits, also known as conjugal visits or, on the inside, “booty calls.” They have privacy and they have sex. This is the story of one couple and the 48-hour conjugal visit they share once a month inside San Quentin State Prison. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 45: Fair Share

    Nov 18 2014

    Podcasts Life of the Law & Destination DIY team up to examine the legal grey area occupied by the sharing economy. How are cities grappling with these increasingly popular, disruptive, peer-to-peer business models? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 44: Living With Wolves

    Nov 04 2014

    Bringing wolves back to the West has tested the legal system’s tolerance for restoring wild places ­­-- especially when humans live nearby. This year, the Endangered Species Act is at the center of a debate that will determine how that landscape looks in the future­­ -- and whether wolves will still live there.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 43: There Oughta Be A Law

    Oct 21 2014

    In Tennessee, it’s illegal for grocery stores to sell wine, but perfectly legal for passengers to ride in cars and drink alcohol. At the state level, legislators have fought for years over how (or whether) to rework these two rules. And there’s no question that the federal government wants states like Tennessee to pass tougher open container laws that would put a stop to drinking in cars all together. The hope is stricter laws would prevent costly accidents, and even deaths. As bait, the federal...more

  • 42: In The Name Of The Father

    Oct 07 2014

    The Scottsboro Boys are infamous — nine black teenagers falsely accused and convicted of raping two white women. Last year, the state of Alabama finally exonerated all nine. But what does a pardon mean 82 years after the fact? And what does forgiveness look like after so many years?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 41: Who Owns That Joke

    Sep 23 2014

    Comedian Carlos Mencia is notorious for stealing other comics’ jokes. But he’s never been sued—in fact, there are almost no lawsuits in comedy. On this episode of Life of the Law, what the law means to comics, and what they do when it can’t help them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 40: Abuse, Abduction, and International Law

    Sep 09 2014

    What happens when one parent takes a child across international borders without the other parent’s permission? In 1980, the United States and international partners created a treaty that lays out the rules for what federal officials are supposed to do in such cases. Judges are instructed to send children back to their home countries – with very few exceptions. Lawmakers imagined the treaty would usually help left-behind mothers, trying to get their children back from abductor-fathers. Today, mor...more

  • 39: Two Sides of a River

    Jul 22 2014

    Sometimes what’s considered as socially acceptable behavior can also be technically unlawful. Reporter Jason Albert follows one city as it grapples with how to enforce laws in a public park without unnecessarily restricting public use.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 38: One Reporter on California’s Death Row

    Jul 17 2014

    Over the past decade, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has denied press access to all death rows in the state. But on one day in June 2012, Nancy Mullane was given exclusive press access to all three death row cells blocks and the prisoners serving death sentences. Here is the story of that day. (Note: The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has said no other reporter will be allowed on Death Row for the forseeable futu...more

  • 37: Jailhouse Lawyers

    Jul 08 2014

    In California, there are hundreds if not thousands of people practicing criminal law though they’ve never passed a bar exam. They don’t wear suits. They don’t have secretaries. And they can’t bill for their time. They’re called Jailhouse Lawyers. They’re inmates who pursue the equivalent of a lawyer’s education and who work as lawyers from within prison walls.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 36: Jury Nullification

    Jun 24 2014

    Though jurors are sworn to uphold the law during their deliberation, they still have the power to decide that a defendant is innocent even when all signs point to their guilt. Prosecutor Paul Butler traces the ways this hidden process was a boon for abolitionists in the 1800’s, and a curse to contemporary prosecutors arguing for a guilty verdict.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 35: Right to Beg

    Jun 10 2014

    Standing in the empty parking lot of a Subway store in Springfield, Illinois, Don Norton unfolds a ragged cardboard poster and holds it just below his chest. The sign, which reads, ‘Please help any way you can,’ is so old it looks like it’s about to dissolve.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 34: The Necessity Defense

    May 20 2014

    It’s odd to think cannibals, cannabis-growers, Vietnam War protesters, and prison escapees all have something in common. But they do: the necessity defense. We explore the origins and uses of this rare long-shot defense argument, which says in essence, “Yes, I’m guilty of committing a crime. But I had no choice.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 33: The Hardest Time: Moms in Prison

    May 06 2014

    Mother’s Day is the one day of the year we set aside to honor mothers. Some do it with flowers and cards. For women who are in prison and their children who are being raised by grandmothers, aunts or guardians on the outside, the day can be especially difficult.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 32: Privacy Issues

    Apr 22 2014

    You’re driving your car down a street and as you pass, a camera takes a photo of your license plate. Who is taking the photo and what are they doing with the information? Reporter Cyrus Farivar has our story.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 31: People and Their Taxes

    Apr 08 2014

    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 s...more

  • 30: Trouble With Profiling

    Mar 25 2014

    Is ‘looking Mexican’ a legal reason for the Border Patrol to stop a car? Federal law says agents have to have ‘reasonable suspicion’ that something illegal is happening. But what that means depends where you are, and whom you ask.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 29: Best of Live Law 3

    Mar 11 2014

    What’s love got to do with the law? Then again, what’s the law got to do with falling in love? From coast to coast, Life of the Law occasionally takes to the stage with LIVE LAW to present true, first-person stories about how the law shapes and transforms lives.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 28: Bad Constitution

    Feb 25 2014

    With more than 300,000 words and over 800 amendments, Alabama’s Constitution is 40 times longer than the US Constitution, and holds the record for being the longest active constitution in the world. Originally written in 1901 by men seeking to establish the law of white supremacy in the state, the constitution still requires racially segregated schools and outlaws interracial marriage, laws that have been nullified by the United States Supreme Court.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaph...more

  • 27: Polyamorous Love

    Feb 14 2014

    Diana Adams believes the family law system is at least 20 years behind cultural changes. She helps non-traditional families—such as three people in love—find a simulacrum of the protection offered by legal marriage. But her real goal is to change our idea of what “marriage” can be.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 26: School Discipline

    Jan 28 2014

    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.Lea...more

  • 25: Release Day

    Jan 15 2014

    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.Learn more about yo...more

  • 24: Best of 2013

    Jan 02 2014

    This hour-long special hosted by Al Letson features three of Life of the Law’s best stories of 2013. Letson leads listeners through the virtual world of games and the law, into a conflict over social mores and the law, and through the unspoken rules and real laws of city life, block by block.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 23: Prison and Pregnancy

    Dec 17 2013

    United States incarcerates six times as many women as it did thirty years ago. Many of these women are already mothers, and four percent of incarcerated women enter prison pregnant. What happens to the babies born in the correctional system? What happens to the children left behind, as their mothers serve out their sentences?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 22: A Criminal Debt

    Dec 03 2013

    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?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 21: Water Rights

    Nov 19 2013

    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.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Freestyle Special

    Nov 15 2013

    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!"Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 20: Justices on the Move

    Nov 06 2013

    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.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 19: Judging Steinbeck’s Lennie

    Sep 03 2013

    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.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 18: Forensics in Flames

    Jul 23 2013

    Over the past 20 years, there’s been a revolution in the science of arson investigations. Many of the clues that had been used for decades to determine that a fire was not accidental, especially the analysis of burn patterns on walls and floors, have been proven to be false. Texas is one state that is re-examining arson convictions that may have been based on junk science.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 17: Redefining Rape

    Jul 09 2013

    Most of us have an idea of what the crime of rape is. But the legal meaning of the word rape varies widely, depending on which state you’re in. And in 25 states, what we may think of as rape…isn’t called that at all.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 16: Call Now!

    Jun 25 2013

    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?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 15: New Frontiers of Family Law

    Jun 11 2013

    Diana Adams believes the family law system is at least 20 years behind cultural changes. She helps non-traditional families—such as three people in love—find a simulacrum of the protection offered by legal marriage. But her real goal is to change our idea of what “marriage” can be.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 14: An Architect’s Code

    May 28 2013

    In its code of ethics, the American Institute of Architects requires members to “uphold human rights.” But what does that mean when it comes to prisons—specificially, those that confine inmates largely to their cells with little to do? Raphael Sperry is an architect in San Francisco and president of Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility. He wants his profession to refuse to design facilities for solitary confinement or execution.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...more

  • 13: A Life on the Bench

    May 07 2013

    What does it take to become a judge? No one starts their legal career as a jurist. First they work as a lawyer advocating for one side of a case over another. But transitioning from lawyer to judge means hearing both sides of a case objectively and then making decisions that carry the weight of the court. In a break from our usual feature format, this week Life of the Law’s Executive Producer, Nancy Mullane talks with James R. Lambden, an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal about...more

  • 12: Games and Law

    Apr 23 2013

    Online, multi-player games create addictive, all-encompassing competitive worlds for players. But sometimes, players disturb the fantasy with abusive behavior. Through trial and error, game developers have found that “virtual judiciaries” can help solve problems in their virtual worlds, and the results have real-world consequences.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Full Interview with Justin Helzer

    Apr 16 2013

    Justin Helzer died Sunday night, April 14th. He committed suicide inside his cell on San Quentin’s Death Row (the cell in this photo). If you look closely you can see him sitting on his bunk, leaning against the door. Listen to his full interview with Nancy Mullane in this Life of the Law special.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 11: Without Means

    Apr 09 2013

    More than 30,000 people died by guns in 2011 in the US. Of those, close to 20,000 died by suicide. Many still do not make a connection between gun availability and suicide rates, but a growing body of research suggests otherwise. What role do these “other” gun deaths play in our discussion of gun laws?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 10: Dibs!

    Mar 26 2013

    After a big snowstorm, the streets of many northern cities start to get cluttered with furniture. Why? Because of “dibs,” the practice of claiming a shoveled-out parking spot. Some see it as a necessity, others as a dangerous nuisance, and still others as an expression of John Locke’s theory of property rights.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 9: Reporter on Death Row

    Mar 12 2013

    What do we really know about death row in California? When we don’t know we create, we imagine.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 8: Redesigning Justice

    Feb 26 2013

    Red Hook is an isolated neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, once known as the “crack capital of America.” In 2000, residents banded together to create a community justice center more responsive to the needs of the neighborhood. Can a more humane courthouse get better results?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 7: Felony Factory

    Feb 12 2013

    You’ve just been arrested, charged with a felony and can’t afford to pay your bail, let alone hire a lawyer. You know you have the right to a trial by jury or judge, but what happens when the legal system is too busy to see you? Public defenders in Cook County, Illinois, struggle to fill the gap at one of the busiest court complexes in the nation.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 6: Block Boss

    Jan 29 2013

    On every city block, there are rules. Some are unspoken, some require friendly reminders, some are enforced by the law. Is it ever OK to break the rules in order to prevent others from breaking the rules themselves?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 5 : Tough Crowd

    Jan 25 2013

    Is the law ever a laughing matter? We present to you a brief history of attempted comedy in the toughest room in the country—the Supreme Courtroom.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Behind the Walls of the Most Restricted Cells

    Nov 17 2012

    In California, there is one place where people considered to be the most dangerous inmates are incarcerated, it’s called the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison. Life of the Law Executive Producer, Nancy Mullane, pushes for access to this prison’s most restricted cells and to the people who are living inside them.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 4: Law in Translation

    Oct 16 2012

    Vietnamese fishing communities are still finding themselves grounded by the BP oil spill, one of the largest environmental disasters of the century. These fishermen and women are without adequate interpretation services and legal representation and are having a hard time keeping afloat.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 3: Two Sides of a River

    Oct 02 2012

    Sometimes what’s considered as socially acceptable behavior can also be technically unlawful. Reporter Jason Albert follows one city as it grapples with how to enforce laws in a public park without unnecessarily restricting public useLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 2: Jailhouse Lawyers

    Sep 25 2012

    In California, there are hundreds if not thousands of people practicing criminal law though they’ve never passed a bar exam. They don’t wear suits. They don’t have secretaries. And they can’t bill for their time. They’re called Jailhouse Lawyers. They’re inmates who pursue the equivalent of a lawyer’s education and who work as lawyers from within prison walls.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • 1: The Secret Power of Jury Nullification

    Sep 16 2012

    Though jurors are sworn to uphold the law during their deliberation, they still have the power to decide that a defendant is innocent even when all signs point to their guilt. Prosecutor Paul Butler traces the ways this hidden process was a boon for abolitionists in the 1800’s, and a curse to contemporary prosecutors arguing for a guilty verdict.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices