Life of the Law

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.

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139: Release Day [Rebroadcast] & Special Announcement

Life of the Law

Reporter Nancy Mullane chronicles the day Curtis Penn was released from prison.

17 Min

Sep 26, 2018

138: Call NOW! [Rebroadcast]

Life of the Law

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?

22 Min

Jun 26, 2018

137: Law and Society Association Conference Highlights

Life of the Law

The Law and Society Association’s annual conference just came to an end, and we were happy to find the scholars and researchers engaging challenging and inspiring legal questions.

6 Min

Jun 19, 2018

Episode
Podcast
Time
Released
40 min
May 15, 2018
i

This week, our team meets up in the studios of KQED in San Francisco to see if we can sort out the answers to the question - genetic testing - promise or peril?

42 min
May 1, 2018
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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.

45 min
Apr 16, 2018
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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. Is there a way, under the law, to prevent these deaths from happening in the future?

36 min
Apr 2, 2018
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Police throughout the US shoot and kill unarmed people, in Sacramento, Detroit, New Orleans and Madison. One mother of a biracial teen who was shot and killed by a local police officer, kept an audio diary following her son's death.

95 min
Mar 20, 2018
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This week we present Live Law: IPO - stories from people living with the rapid fire shifts that come with tech in the Bay Area

71 min
Mar 6, 2018
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This week, Life of the Law presents a new INSIDE SAN QUENTIN episode - a conversation inside San Quentin produced exclusively by men incarcerated inside the prison.

49 min
Feb 20, 2018
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Our production team discusses the making of the series UGANDA, children in conflict zones, and what justice has come to represent, so many years after the crisis began with guest Kim Seelinger.

36 min
Feb 7, 2018
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Reporter Gladys Oroma presents the third part of our special series following the lives of Beatrice Ocwee and Samuel Akena, two of the thousands of children who were abducted from their homes in northern Uganda and held captive by LRA rebels.

44 min
Jan 24, 2018
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Reporter Gladys Oroma presents Part 2 of our special series following the lives of two of the thousands of children who were abducted beginning in the mid 1980's and continuing through 2008.

36 min
Jan 9, 2018
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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.

59 min
Dec 27, 2017
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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.

38 min
Dec 12, 2017
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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 songs with the men. It's an annual tradition.

40 min
Nov 28, 2017
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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.

20 min
Nov 14, 2017
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Reporter Megan Marrelli tells the story of Dennis Rickett and his life without  a photo ID.

52 min
Oct 31, 2017
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This week, our team goes IN-STUDIO with Jose "Chito" Vela, the young  man's immigration attorney and now candidate for the Texas State Legislature, to talk about immigration, DACA, and life in America one year into the Trump Presidency.

33 min
Oct 17, 2017
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We share the story of Luis and at the end of the episode, talk to his attorney and his mother, to find out what has happened since we first met him two years ago.

70 min
Oct 3, 2017
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Transition and Transformation

38 min
Sep 19, 2017
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All over the world people create. Music, art, literature. But is their creative work protected?

35 min
Sep 5, 2017
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Can someone really own an image, or own a song? Here in the United States, the answer is yes, absolutely. But that isn’t the case everywhere.

48 min
Aug 22, 2017
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Moral luck and prosecutorial discretion in America

29 min
Aug 8, 2017
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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.

69 min
Jul 11, 2017
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Locking People Up

44 min
Jun 28, 2017
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Playing Games

19 min
Jun 13, 2017
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NBA Champion GS Warriors vs SQ Warriors

48 min
Jun 2, 2017
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Unequal Protection

32 min
May 23, 2017
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Warren McCleskey’s unsuccessful appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

46 min
Apr 19, 2017
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Mother and Son

37 min
Apr 4, 2017
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Twenty-one years ago, at the age of 19, Greg Eskridge was sentenced to 65 years-to-life plus two life terms in prison. Greg's mom, Patricia Eskridge, was in the courtroom that day to hear the judge announce what, in many ways, would be her future.

53 min
Mar 21, 2017
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Heroin Town

48 min
Mar 8, 2017
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Methadone treatment doesn’t always work. So what do you do?

53 min
Feb 21, 2017
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Radio Silenced

41 min
Feb 7, 2017
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This is a story about how radio regulation has evolved over its one-hundred year history, and whose interests that regulation serves.

41 min
Jan 24, 2017
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Knowledge in a Post-Fact Era

66 min
Jan 10, 2017
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Translating (law and social) Science

30 min
Dec 20, 2016
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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.

59 min
Dec 13, 2016
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Election Year Special - Part 2

55 min
Nov 29, 2016
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Election Year Special - Part 1

52 min
Nov 16, 2016
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"There’s nothing like coming inside prison to help put things in perspective." – Zoe Mullery, Creative Writing Instructor

17 min
Nov 1, 2016
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The TV ad was on every station -- cable, network -- nonstop all the time for ten days. It was carpet bombing by TV ad. -- Justice Robin Hudson

18 min
Oct 18, 2016
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Never before has a sitting justice not won re-election in Kansas. But 2016 is a different sort of election year.

17 min
Oct 4, 2016
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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.

39 min
Sep 20, 2016
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Each summer, people from all around the country gather for the Soros Justice Fellowship Conference.

20 min
Sep 6, 2016
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What do you eat for breakfast? A bit of steel cut oatmeal with warm milk. Yogurt with fresh fruit. And when you sit down to eat do you think about where it all comes from? That might be a problem for the people who work to make your breakfast possible.

29 min
Aug 23, 2016
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If you break the law and are sent to prison as a teen, how long do we wait to give you another chance? This week on Life of the Law, reporter Brenda Salinas tells us Ashley Ervin's story.

61 min
Aug 9, 2016
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For 22 years, Philadelphia FIGHT has hosted an entire month of free workshops, trainings, and outreach about HIV and AIDS.

25 min
Jul 26, 2016
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Through Clemency, Obama has commuted the sentences of 348 people. Fifty three year old Ramona Brant was serving a life sentence at the Metropolitan detention sentence in New York City. This is her story.

27 min
Jul 12, 2016
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This month, we’re presenting a special summer series of the best and the brightest NEW VOICES in investigative reporting and audio production. Ariel Ritchin at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has taken a hard look at posting bail.

31 min
Jun 28, 2016
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Marrying the person you love is the ideal, right? So what happens when you finally get to do that, only to have the government tell you, never mind, your marriage doesn’t count.

27 min
Jun 21, 2016
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Twenty-seven years ago "Lady J" was sent to prison to serve a life sentence. On May 25th, "Lady J" and Life of the Law's Executive Producer sat on a wall inside San Quentin State Prison and talked about her life as a transgender woman.

69 min
Jun 14, 2016
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What’s it like to be a scholar? Life of the Law traveled to New Orleans for the Law and Society Association’s annual meeting.

25 min
May 31, 2016
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France has been under a “state of emergency” since November, raising questions about the appropriate balance between security and civil liberties.

30 min
May 17, 2016
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When should a judge step aside? As more and more money floods into judicial elections across the nation, states are grappling with this question.

21 min
May 3, 2016
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There are 28 judicial emergencies on federal courts throughout the country. So why aren’t there more judges on the court?

22 min
Apr 19, 2016
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Domestic oil drilling offers private landowners the promise of riches in their own backyard. But what if you don’t want to live next door to an oil well? Who do you call? Depends on who has the ear of the court.

58 min
Apr 5, 2016
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This week on Life of the Law, we’re bringing you a special production of stories told live about the law from our show in Nashville Tennessee.

31 min
Mar 29, 2016
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Life of the Law invited scholars who have studied eugenics to join us in the studios at KQED in San Francisco to talk about eugenics, past and present.

22 min
Mar 22, 2016
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Beginning in 1907, states in the US began to forcibly sterilize over 60,000 Americans.

32 min
Mar 8, 2016
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In Kansas, schools have become the staging ground for a debate about the role of government and how much money the state should put into public schools.

24 min
Feb 23, 2016
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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?

22 min
Feb 9, 2016
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Juggalos are fans of horrorcore rap and the band the Insane Clown Posse.

23 min
Jan 25, 2016
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An encounter with border patrol agents one night in 2013 changed the life of one undocumented immigrant, forever.

23 min
Jan 11, 2016
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For a jury, no decision is more fateful than when it comes down to assigning a sentence of life in prison...or the death penalty.

67 min
Dec 25, 2015
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On Saturday night, Dec 5, 2015 hundreds of people filled the chapel at San Quentin State Prison for a first-ever uncensored storytelling event behind the prison walls.

26 min
Dec 15, 2015
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We all know if you break the law, you might find yourself in prison doing time. But what about after you’ve done the time? What happens then when you come home? Today on Life of the Law, we have the story of Troy Williams.

15 min
Nov 24, 2015
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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.

32 min
Nov 17, 2015
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We also host live storytelling events all over the country where we ask people to tell a story about a time when their life got entangled with the law. A couple of weeks ago, we took our live storytelling show to Brooklyn.

25 min
Nov 3, 2015
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Jury Duty. It’s one of the pillars of our democratic society. If you are charged with a crime, a jury of your peers will determine your innocence or your guilt. But who selects the jurors?

25 min
Oct 20, 2015
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It’s been over 60 years, but Henrietta Massey still remembers Jim Thorpe’s funeral. His first funeral.

16 min
Oct 6, 2015
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According to data from the FBI, in 2014, 51 officers were killed in the line of duty, ten during a traffic stop.

14 min
Sep 22, 2015
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We all commit little crimes all the time. We speed. We jaywalk. We drive home a little tipsy. And think back to your teenage years—did you ever shoplift? Get into a fight? Have a drink before you were of age? Do any illegal drugs?

28 min
Sep 8, 2015
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Have you ever had a police officer from your town, live on your block? The answer is likely, no. And there’s a good chance that your local beat cop doesn’t even live in the city they patrol—they likely commute out to the suburbs when their shift is over.

21 min
Jul 28, 2015
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Prison disciplinary hearings are what happen when you get in trouble in prison.

19 min
Jul 14, 2015
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Couples who want babies but can’t have them naturally are increasingly turning to surrogacy instead of adoption. And in many countries, the business of providing surrogates is big business.

20 min
Jun 30, 2015
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"When I first meet Frank Abramovitz, he’s wearing a leather Harley Davidson hat and jeans that are a little too short. He has bright blue eyes and a gold hoop in his ear. He’s 75 years old, and he’s the first bounty hunter I’ve ever met."

17 min
Jun 16, 2015
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Deborah was one of a dozen women I spoke with a for a qualitative research study on how women react to solitary confinement.

21 min
Jun 2, 2015
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Did Lee Harvey Oswald really do it? It remains the great American cold case. And every decade since, someone’s made a film that presents the available evidence and tries to come up with an answer.

33 min
May 19, 2015
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Serial fans aren’t the only ones using the internet to try to solve crimes. There is an army of amateur sleuths all over the country trying to crack cold cases.

25 min
May 5, 2015
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Are aggressive, expensive elections corrupting the court system? Or are they evidence of a strong democracy?

24 min
Apr 20, 2015
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Nearly half the country now has some form of legal medical marijuana and four states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, as well. There’s a lot of money to be made.

15 min
Apr 7, 2015
i

Under federal law, employees are entitled to things like minimum wage, unemployment, workers compensation, and Social Security. Independent contractors don’t get any of that, so they’re a lot cheaper.

32 min
Mar 24, 2015
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In 1980, there was a triple murder at the Fairlanes Bowling Alley in Houston, Texas. It happened during the worst crime wave to ever hit the city.

15 min
Mar 10, 2015
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By developing relationships with their clients, midwives say they can help each women determine how and where they want to give birth, whether in a hospital, a birthing center or in their own home.

22 min
Feb 24, 2015
i

I have always been so impressed by lawyer commercials on TV, and by impressed I mean…totally confused.

18 min
Feb 10, 2015
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If you’re a parent, diapers are the only thing that stands between your baby’s bowel movements and, well, everything you own. You’ll probably spend at least a thousands dollars on them, per kid.

17 min
Jan 27, 2015
i

The internet is anonymous. Except for when it isn't.

16 min
Jan 13, 2015
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Determining what is obscene is difficult – especially for those making it.

56 min
Dec 23, 2014
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Life of the Law looks back over some of our favorite stories from the year: The ones that left us hopeful.

17 min
Dec 2, 2014
i

This is the story of one couple and the 48-hour conjugal visit they share once a month inside San Quentin State Prison.

21 min
Nov 18, 2014
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How does the law catch up with a new business model that is already widely in use?

17 min
Nov 4, 2014
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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.

16 min
Oct 21, 2014
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It turns out the process of making a laws isn’t always as logical as might think.

25 min
Oct 7, 2014
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What does a pardon mean 82 years after the fact? And what does forgiveness look like after so many years?

14 min
Sep 23, 2014
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On this episode of Life of the Law, what the law means to comics, and what they do when it can’t help them.

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