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Law and Disorder June 19, 2017


Sex Trafficking Lawsuit Against Philadelphia Motel

Prosecutors have dubbed a Northeast Philadelphia motel the city’s “epicenter of human trafficking.” Recently, a lawsuit was brought against the Roosevelt Motel for the pimping of a teenage girl in one of its rooms for a period of two years. It’s the first lawsuit under a 2014 state law permitting victims of sex traffickers to sue hotels and motels where abuse occurs. The suit was filed on behalf of a 17-year-old girl known as M.B., who was sold into sexual slavery at the Northeast Philadelphia motel at age 14. The lawsuit alleges that she was prohibited from leaving and was forced to commit sex acts with approximately 1,000 men. The hotel is known by the District Attorney as the site of most trafficking investigation. The National Human Trafficking Hotline says that 7.5 thousand human trafficking cases were reported in 2016, including 151 in Pennsylvania and 193 in New Jersey. Almost three-quarters of those involve sex trafficking and nearly a third of sex-trafficking cases occurred in hotels and motels.

Guest – Attorney Nadeem Bezar of the law firm Kline & Specter in Philadelphia. His practice concentrates on medical negligence, catastrophic personal injury, and cases involving child abuse and human trafficking, sexual assault and Title IX violations on college and university campuses.

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Whistle-blower Protections: FBI Director James Comey

Nearly 20 million television viewers tuned in to hear former FBI Director James Comey testify before Congress on June 8, and explain that he recorded his conversations with President Trump because he did not trust him. Despite the Trump administration’s assertions to the contrary, most legal experts say that former FBI Director James Comey’s sharing the memos about his interactions with Donald Trump is perfectly legal. Several whistleblower attorneys are among those asserting that Comey’s handing over memos to a friend to be leaked to the press violated no laws. The information, they say, was neither classified nor secret as a matter of a federal law. And Comey revealed a matter of public interest and had a right to expose these facts anonymously.

Guest – Louis Clark, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Government Accountability Project in Washington, DC. The G.A.P. is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. It litigates whistleblower cases, helps expose wrongdoing to the public, and promotes government and corporate accountability. For four decades, GAP has assisted more than 6,000 whistleblowers.

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Politics, Influence And Journalism: Attorney Dave Saldana

For many, the word Watergate is synonymous with political corruption. The scandal was revealed when five burglars were caught by Washington police in the Democratic National Committee’s office on Jun 17, 1972, and ended with the resignation of President Nixon in 1974. Richard Nixon was the first American president who felt compelled to resign because of the severity of the situation. The role of the press was critical in the episode, beginning with the Washington Post’s front page reporting. At first, the role of the television—with the notable exception of CBS, was scant.

The credit of responsible reporting goes largely to Washington Post editor Katherine Graham, and the Co-editor, Ben Bradlee as well as reporters Woodward and Bernstein. They covered the story at great threat to their lives and their families. The president and his staff in the White House made every possible effort to resist and downgrade the true news stories of the reporters. The Nixon staff had threatened the journalists with verbal attacks. It also created the Washington Star to counter the Washington Post and anti-government reporting. Nixon also sought the help of Federal Communication Commission to ban two TV channels in Florida. The presidential administration had devised such plans that the government officials began to avoid meeting Woodward and Bernstein.

Guest – Attorney Dave Saldana is an award-winning journalist and attorney, and longtime member of the National Lawyers Guild.

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Law and Disorder January 16, 2017


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Hacktivist Advocate

Long before news reports of Russians hacking, the Democratic National Convention dominated the news, a handful of lawyers across the nation were defending socially-minded hackers, or hacktivists, against harsh computer-related prosecutions. The term hactivism refers to persons who use computers to advance political agendas, often related to freedom of information, free speech and human rights.

Guest – Attorney Jay Leiderman, the Atlantic Magazine has called attorney Jay Leiderman the “Hacktivist’s Advocate” for his work defending individuals accused of computer-related crimes, especially those associated with Anonymous. An experienced defense attorney, Leiderman lectures nationally on a range of criminal defense issues. He is a founding member of the Whistleblower’s Defense League, formed to combat FBI and Justice Department tactics of harassment and over-prosecution to chill and silence those who engage in journalism, Internet activism or dissent.

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Attacks On Journalists, Hackers And Information Activists

In the past decade we have seen an unprecedented attack on hackers, journalists, whistleblowers, and other “information activists” who dare to let the public know what goes on within the corridors of corporate and governmental power structures.

Both sectors have launched an all-ought war on the ability of the public to access newsworthy information. Yet as this takes place, the public is being told that we no longer have a right to privacy, especially online privacy. Here to discuss trends in the laws and the often lawless acts that are used to suppress the public’s right to information and ultimately the possibility of democracy is attorney Abi Hassen.

Guest – Attorney Abi Hassen, is a consultant and cofounder of the Black Movement-Law Project. He was formerly the mass defense coordinator at the National Lawyers Guild. He has a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and an undergraduate degree in computer science from The Evergreen State College. With his extensive background in labor, political and community organizing, Abi has been active at the intersection of law, technology and organizing for social justice for more than a decade.

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Law and Disorder October 3, 2016


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Demand the Impossible! A Radical Manifesto

The  presidential debate held last week between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton allowed us to take a sober measure of the calamitous situation we find ourselves in 15 years after September 11, 2001. Our guest Bill Ayers just published Manifesto! Demand the Impossible. It presents a different vision from those sketched out by the candidates and the economic, political and cultural system which produced them. As Robin D. G. Kelly has written, “Bill Ayers vision for a humane future is incendiary – it incinerates old logics and illuminates new paths. If we do not end the violence of militarism, materialism, caging, dispossession, debts, want, ignorance, and global warming our very survival is impossible.”

Guest – Bill Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior Bill AyersUniversity Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament.  A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a past  vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association.

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Free Puerto Rican Nationalist Oscar López Rivera 2016

A growing movement is calling for the release of 72-year-old Puerto Rican Nationalist Oscar López Rivera, who has served 34 years in prison, 12 of which have been in solitary confinement. In 1980, 11 members of FALN were arrested for a series of bomb attacks on banks, government facilities and military sites across the U.S, in protest against the US colonization of Puerto Rico. Although named a co-defendant in the case, López Rivera was not arrested until a year later, picked up during a traffic stop, and charged with seditious conspiracy, weapons possession and transporting stolen vehicles across state lines. No evidence was ever found tying López Rivera to any of the bombings, and although he was not convicted of any violent crimes, he was sentenced to 55 years in federal prison. Fifteen more years were later added to his sentence for an alleged escape attempt.

Most Puerto Ricans and human rights advocates view López Rivera with enormous respect for his work as a civil rights activist and community organizer. He is a decorated war veteran, having been awarded the Bronze Star medal during his service in the US Army. In 1999, Bill Clinton offered all FALN members, including López Rivera, conditional clemency. López Rivera declined the offer because the deal included a condition that he serve an additional 10 years in prison, and because two of his co-defendants would be left behind.  Supporters are now collecting signatures on a petition that asks Barack Obama to issue a presidential pardon that grants his immediate release.

Guests – Attorney Jan Susler from the People’s Law Office in Chicago. A longtime member of the National Lawyers Guild she has has represented Puerto Rican political prisoners for over three decades. Jan Susler joined People’s Law Office in 1982 after working for six years as a Clinical Law Professor at the legal clinic at Southern Illinois University’s School of Law, Prison Legal Aid. At the People’s Law Office she continued her litigation and advocacy work on prisoners’ rights issues and also took on representing people wrongfully imprisoned, falsely arrested, strip searched, or subjected to excessive force by police officers.

We are also joined by Alejandro Molina from the campaign to free Oscar López.

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debtorsprison Sarah Geraghty. Photo by John Disney/Daily Report.

Debtors Prison In The South

It has been nearly 200 years since this country abolished the practice of imprisoning those who fail to pay their debts. Recently, however, many impoverished persons face the modern equivalent of debtors’ prisons in the form of unfair legal practices. More and more courts are charging fees to those convicted of crimes, including fees for public defenders, prosecutors, court administration, jail operation, and probation supervision. Aggressive, and often illegal, tactics are employed to collect unpaid fines and fees, including for traffic offenses and other low-level offenses. These courts have ordered the arrest and jailing of people who lag behind in payments, without offering hearings to determine an individual’s ability to pay or to provide alternatives to payment such as community service.

The human toll of these practices is enormous. Coercive debt collection means that poor individuals may forgo the basic necessities of life in order to avoid arrest. Debtors’ prisons increase government costs and waste taxpayer money by jailing people who may never be able to pay their debts. Finally, debtors’ prisons result in racial injustice and a two-tiered system of justice in which the poor receive harsher, longer punishments for committing the same crimes as the wealthy.

Guest – Attorney Sarah Geraghty, managing attorney of the Impact Litigation Unit at the Southern Center for Human Rights.  Sarah practices in the areas of civil rights, habeas corpus, and class action litigation aimed at improving fairness and conditions in the criminal justice system.  She has litigated cases challenging inhumane prison conditions, unfair police treatment, open records law violations, denial of the right to counsel, and the incarceration of indigent persons for debt.  In 2011, Sarah received the Indigent Defense Award from the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She was listed by the Fulton County Daily Report as an “On the Rise Georgia lawyer under 40”. She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, her M.S.W. from the University of Michigan School of Social Work, and her B.A. from Northwestern University. She is a member of the Alabama, Georgia, Illinois and New York bars.

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Law and Disorder March 14, 2016


Update: Co-host Michael Smith’s Parrot Charlie Turns 25

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Green Party 2016 US Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein

Jill Stein is a physician and activist who is seeking the Green Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. She ran for the White House as the Green Party’s candidate in 2012, winning nearly half a million votes.  Stein is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School.

Her campaign website urges: It’s time to build a people’s movement to end unemployment and poverty; avert climate catastrophe; build a sustainable, just economy; and recognize the dignity and human rights of every person. The power to create this new world is not in our hopes; it’s not in our dreams — it’s in our hands.

Guest – Dr. Jill Stein, was the Green Party’s 2012 candidate for president of the United States. She is an organizer, physician, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She has led initiatives promoting healthy communities, local green economies and the revitalization of democracy – addressing issues such as campaign finance reform, green jobs, racially-just redistricting, and the cleanup of incinerators, coal plants, and toxics. She was a principal organizer for the Global Climate Convergence for People, Planet and Peace over Profit. Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She is the co-author of two widely-praised reports,  In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, published in 2000, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, published in 2009.  The first of these  has been translated into four languages and is used worldwide. The reports promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats.

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Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois Reduced From Nine To Zero

Professor Robert Warrior is the departing chairman of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois. Warrior is a member of the Osage Indian tribe of Oklahoma. He was the chairman of the department that help recruit Professor Steven Salaita to the University of Illinois in 2014. Salaita gave up his tenure in Virginia and was moving to University of Illinois when he was openly critical of the Israeli bombing of Palestinians in Gaza. For this, his tenured position at the University of Illinois was revoked. In the wake of Salaita’s firing, the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois had dwindled down to zero people from the nine it had just two years ago.

Guest – Professor Robert Warrior is Director of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is Professor of American Indian Studies, English, and History. An enrolled member of the Osage Nation, he is the author of The People and the Word: Reading Native Nonfiction, American Indian Literary Nationalism (with Craig Womack and Jace Weaver), Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (with Paul Chaat Smith) and Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions. He is also a member of the Native Critics Collective, which published Reasoning Together, a collection of essays focused on Native literary criticism.

Members of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association selected both The People and the Word and Reasoning Together for its list of the ten most influential books in Native and Indigenous studies in the first decade of the twenty-first century. He and the coauthors of American Indian Literary Nationalism were the inaugural recipients of the Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarly Writing from the Native American Literature Symposium, and Warriorhas also received awards from the Gustavus Myers Foundation, the NativeAmerican Journalists Association, the Church Press Association, and others.

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Law and Disorder February 29, 2016


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Black Women, LGBT And Police Abuse

Attorney Andrea Ritchie has dedicated the past two decades to challenging abusive and discriminatory policing against women, girls, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of color. An accomplished litigator, she is a highly-respected commentator –and recent Soros Fellow– on policy reforms and litigation strategies addressing the ways in which discriminatory policing impacts women of color.

Guest – Andrea Ritchie is the co-author of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (published in 2011) and Caught in the Net, a report on women and the so-called war on drugs. She works closely with a range of local and national organizations, including Streetwise & Safe, an organization focused on policing of LGBT youth of color, and is a member of INCITE! She is also involved in #SayHerName, a gender-inclusive racial justice movement that campaigns against police brutality and anti-Black violence against black women. It aims to highlight the gender-specific ways in which police brutality and anti-Black violence disproportionately affect black women, especially black queer women and black trans women. Andrea’s Website.

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Milbank Changes Course on $1M Harvard Law School Gift after Pro-Palestine Event

Today we explore a controversy that has erupted at Harvard Law School when a prominent law firm, Milbank Tweed, discontinued a $1million grant it had given to the school after it learned that its donation helped pay for a panel on Palestine.  We’ll talk to the Harvard Law Student who organized the event, who will explain how students on campuses across the country have been met with fierce efforts to suppress discussion of Palestinian rights.

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Law and Disorder January 18, 2016


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NYC Teacher Fired For Lessons About The Central Park Five

An English teacher at a New York City high school claims that she was fired because of a lesson on the so-called Central Park Five which school administrators warned her would “rile up” black students. Jeena Lee-Walker recently filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Dept. of Education and several administrators from the High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry after being fired for insubordination and poor evaluations. She claims they were the result of her pushing back on topics like the Central Park Five. Lee-Walker,  who graduated from Barnard and has post-graduate degrees from Harvard and Fordham, began working at the school in 2013 and says she was told to be more “balanced” in covering the Central Park Five case in November of that year.

The  lawsuit claims retaliation against her “violated her First Amendment right to discuss the Central Park Five case, and that the firing violated the city’s contract with the teacher’s union because she was not given a required 60 days notice.” As listeners may recall, the Central Park Five, who were wrongfully jailed for the 1989 rape of a Central Park jogger, received a $42 million settlement from NY City. In 2014, they sued the state seeking $52 million in damages for the emotional trauma of being incarcerated for years for a crime they were coerced into confessing to.

Guest – Attorney Ambrose Wotorson, a Brooklyn based attorney who is representing Jeena Lee-Walker in this case. He’s a trial lawyer focusing employment law and business litigation. Twitter account.

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Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror

Retired Florida U. S. Senator Bob Graham was the head of the US Senate intelligence committee and also  the chairman of the 9/11 commission of inquiry. He is the leading person trying to get President Obama to release to the public the suppressed 28 pages of the 911 report which have been hidden. Senator Graham contends that the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom who were Saudi Arabians,  could not have pulled off the operation alone and that in fact they were part of a support network involving the Saudi Arabian monarchy and government which helped plan, pay for and execute the complicated 911 plot which, says Senator Graham, would have otherwise been impossible to accomplish. Senator Graham has written the book Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror. It provides a candid insight to the workings of the US in Saudi relations and their implications on US foreign-policy making as it pertains to the middle east and bags tension, contemporary geopolitics.

Guest – Senator Bob Graham, is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years  in the United States Senate. This is combined with 12 years in the Florida  legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. As Governor and Senator,  Bob Graham was a centrist, committed to bringing his colleagues together behind  programs that served the broadest public interest. He was recognized by the  people of Florida when he received an 83% approval ranking as he concluded  eight years as Governor. Bob Graham retired from public service in January  2005, following his Presidential campaign in 2004.

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Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and Middle East Geopolitics

We take a deeper look at Saudi Arabia and its relationship first United States and then to the other countries in the Middle East region.

Guest – Professor Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian American who grew up in New York City. He teaches at Columbia University where he is the Edward Said Professor of Arab studies and the head of the Middle East Institute.  He is the author of a number of books, most recently “The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle For Statehood. He has written more than 80 scholarly articles on Middle Eastern history and politics as well as op-ed pieces in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Nation magazine.

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