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Life of the Law

144 EpisodesProduced by Nancy Mullane / PanoplyWebsite

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.

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139: Release Day [Rebroadcast] & Special Announcement

September 26th, 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, …

138: Call NOW! [Rebroadcast]

June 26th, 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 …

137: Law and Society Association Conference Highlights

June 19th, 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 …

136: New Voices Series - Law Students Take on Immigration

May 28th, 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 …

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

May 15th, 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 …

134: GATTACA REVISITED - Up the Borrowed Ladder

May 1st, 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 …

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

April 17th, 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

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

April 2nd, 2018


Police officers throughout the U.S. shoot and kill unarmed people, in Sacramento, Detroit, New Orleans and in Madison. The Washington Post reports …

131: LIVE LAW SF - Initial Public Offering

March 20th, 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 …

130: Inside San Quentin - Moonlight

March 6th, 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 …

129: Uganda Part 4 - In Studio

February 20th, 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 …

128: Uganda Part 3 - Justice

February 7th, 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 …

127: Uganda Part 2 - Escape

January 24th, 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 …

126: Uganda Part 1 - Abducted

January 10th, 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 …

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

December 27th, 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 …

124: Traditions

December 12th, 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 …

123: The Battle Over Your Right to Vote

November 28th, 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 …

122: Government Ghost

November 14th, 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 …

121: In-Studio - Brutally Ruthless

October 31st, 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 Legislature

120: Life Un-DACAmented (Re-Broadcast)

October 17th, 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 …

119: Live Law Detroit

October 3rd, 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 …

118: In Studio - Global Intellectual Property

September 19th, 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 …

117: The Gift & Curse of Music

September 5th, 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 …

116: In Studio - Prosecuting Discretion

August 22nd, 2017


"Every criminal trial is a competition between the prosecution and the defense. The judge has relatively less dominant role than in other countries …

115: Ten Hours to Twenty Years

August 8th, 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 …

114: Inside San Quentin - To Be Heard

July 25th, 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 …

113: In Studio

July 11th, 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 …

112: In Studio

June 28th, 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 …

111: Warriors

June 13th, 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 …

110: In Studio

June 2nd, 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 …

109: Unequal Protection - Pt. 2

May 23rd, 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. …

108: Unequal Protection - Pt. 1

May 3rd, 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 …

107: In Studio

April 19th, 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 …

106: Mother and Son

April 5th, 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 …

105: In Studio

March 21st, 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 …

104: Heroin Town

March 8th, 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. …

103: In Studio

February 21st, 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, …

102: Radio Silenced

February 7th, 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 …

101: In Studio

January 24th, 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 …

100: Live Law NSF

January 10th, 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 …

99: Shaken

December 20th, 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 …

98: Fair Fight for a Fair Court

December 13th, 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 …

97: Fair Fight for a Fair Court

November 29th, 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 …

96: Live Law San Quentin: Hope

November 16th, 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 …

95: Judges v. Attack Ads

November 1st, 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 …

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

October 18th, 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 …

93: Last Count

October 4th, 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 …

92: Live Law Phoenix - Borders

September 20th, 2016


Each summer, people from all around the country gather for the Soros Justice Fellowship Conference -- three days of meetings, conversations, and …

91: Death on a Dairy

September 6th, 2016


“Being trampled, being struck by livestock, being struck by vehicles, backed over. People have fallen into and drowned in manure pits.”

- Steve Kaplan, OSHA

Turns out small dairy farms can be some of the most dangerous, …

90: Kids Doing Life

August 23rd, 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. …

89: Live Law Philadelphia - Prison Positive

August 9th, 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 …

88: Clemency

July 26th, 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 …

87: Bail or Bust

July 12th, 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 …

86: Winter of Love

June 28th, 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 …

BONUS: Life as Lady J

June 21st, 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 …

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

June 14th, 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 …

84: Liberte & Securite

May 31st, 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 …

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

May 17th, 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. …

82: The Holdup

May 3rd, 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 …

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

April 19th, 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 …

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

April 5th, 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 …

BONUS: A Conversation on Eugenics and the Law

March 29th, 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 …

79: Sterilized

March 22nd, 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 …

78: Revolution in a Cornfield

March 8th, 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 …

77: Harris County

February 23rd, 2016


All over the country, critics argue that ID laws discourage voter participation--particularly among poor and minority voters. This is particularly …

76: Juggalos

February 9th, 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 …

75: UnDACAmented

January 26th, 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 …

74: Overruled

January 11th, 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 …

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

December 25th, 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 …

72: Outside The Walls

December 15th, 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 …

71: Space Law 2.0

November 24th, 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.

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70: Live Law – Truth or Dare

November 17th, 2015


Truth or Dare? What's it gonna be? On this episode, we have three stories told live: two truths and a dare.

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69: Bit of an Edge

November 3rd, 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 …

68: Thorpe’s Body

October 20th, 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 …

67: The Stop

October 6th, 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. 

66: Who’s the Criminal?

September 22nd, 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 …

65: Commuter Cops

September 8th, 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 …

64: Block Boss

August 25th, 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 …

63: Water Rights

August 11th, 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 …

62: No Lawyers Allowed

July 28th, 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. 

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61: Outside the Womb

July 14th, 2015


What happens when the law changes and people find themselves in legal limbo in a foreign country?

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60: The Bear

June 30th, 2015


Frank 'The Bear' Abramovitz lost his wife to cancer. That’s when he took over her business, and became a bounty hunter. 

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59: The Trauma Room

June 16th, 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 …

58: Oswald Is Still Dead

June 2nd, 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 …


May 19th, 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 …

56: Tipping the Scales

May 5th, 2015


Are aggressive, expensive elections corrupting the court system? Or are they evidence of a strong democracy? 

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55: Marijuana Rules

April 20th, 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. …

54: Bad Gig

April 7th, 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 …

53: Anatomy of a Confession

March 24th, 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? …

52: Birth Rights

March 10th, 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 …

51: Call NOW!

February 24th, 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 …

50: The Diaper Wars

February 10th, 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 …

49: Life After Doxing

January 27th, 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 …

48: Boiled Angel

January 13th, 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 …

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

December 23rd, 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 …

46: One Conjugal Visit

December 2nd, 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 …

45: Fair Share

November 18th, 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 …

44: Living With Wolves

November 4th, 2014


Bringing wolves back to the West has tested the legal system’s tolerance for restoring wild places ­­-- especially when humans live nearby. This …

43: There Oughta Be A Law

October 21st, 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, …

42: In The Name Of The Father

October 7th, 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 …

41: Who Owns That Joke

September 23rd, 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 …

40: Abuse, Abduction, and International Law

September 9th, 2014


What happens when one parent takes a child across international borders without the other parent’s permission? In 1980, the United States and …

39: Two Sides of a River

July 22nd, 2014


Sometimes what’s considered as socially acceptable behavior can also be technically unlawful. Reporter Jason Albert follows one city as it grapples …

38: One Reporter on California’s Death Row

July 17th, 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 …

37: Jailhouse Lawyers

July 8th, 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. …

36: Jury Nullification

June 24th, 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 …

35: Right to Beg

June 10th, 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 …

34: The Necessity Defense

May 20th, 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 …

33: The Hardest Time: Moms in Prison

May 6th, 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 …

32: Privacy Issues

April 22nd, 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 …

31: People and Their Taxes

April 8th, 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 …

30: Trouble With Profiling

March 25th, 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 …

29: Best of Live Law 3

March 11th, 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 …

28: Bad Constitution

February 25th, 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 …

27: Polyamorous Love

February 14th, 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 …

26: School Discipline

January 28th, 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 …

25: Release Day

January 15th, 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 …

24: Best of 2013

January 2nd, 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, …

23: Prison and Pregnancy

December 17th, 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 …

22: A Criminal Debt

December 3rd, 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 …

21: Water Rights

November 19th, 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 …

Freestyle Special

November 15th, 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 …

20: Justices on the Move

November 6th, 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 …

19: Judging Steinbeck’s Lennie

September 3rd, 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 …

18: Forensics in Flames

July 23rd, 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 …

17: Redefining Rape

July 9th, 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.

16: Call Now!

June 25th, 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, …

15: New Frontiers of Family Law

June 11th, 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 …

14: An Architect’s Code

May 28th, 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 …

13: A Life on the Bench

May 7th, 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 …

12: Games and Law

April 23rd, 2013


Online, multi-player games create addictive, all-encompassing competitive worlds for players. But sometimes, players disturb the fantasy with abusive …

Full Interview with Justin Helzer

April 16th, 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. …

11: Without Means

April 9th, 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 …

10: Dibs!

March 26th, 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 …

9: Reporter on Death Row

March 12th, 2013


What do we really know about death row in California? When we don’t know we create, we imagine.

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8: Redesigning Justice

February 26th, 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 …

7: Felony Factory

February 12th, 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 …

6: Block Boss

January 29th, 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 …

5 : Tough Crowd

January 25th, 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.

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Behind the Walls of the Most Restricted Cells

November 17th, 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 …

4: Law in Translation

October 16th, 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 …

3: Two Sides of a River

October 2nd, 2012


Sometimes what’s considered as socially acceptable behavior can also be technically unlawful. Reporter Jason Albert follows one city as it grapples …

2: Jailhouse Lawyers

September 25th, 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. …

1: The Secret Power of Jury Nullification

September 16th, 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 …

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