Juvenile Justice
6:30 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

DOC: Transgender Teen Will Remain at Adult Women's Prison

Credit Kudumomo / Creative Commons

Attorneys for the transgender juvenile at a Connecticut women's prison say the Department of Correction will not transfer the teen to Manson Correctional Institution, a male facility.

Aaron Romano, who is representing the juvenile in federal court, is working with the DOC on a plan that he hopes will be more rehabilitative, despite the fact the 16-year-old is in a correctional adult facility.

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Where We Live
8:42 am
Fri April 11, 2014

DCF's Handling of a Transgender Teen; Updates on a Heroin Epidemic

What's causing the nation's heroin epidemic?
Credit Mark Wragg/iStock / Thinkstock

The U.S. is in the middle of a heroin epidemic. It’s something that has become increasingly problematic in northeastern states like Connecticut. This hour, a panel of local reporters and health experts from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts share their stories. 

We also hear about a controversial decision by the state Department of Children and Families to transfer a transgender teenager to one of Connecticut’s adult prisons, even though, as we’ve discussed on the show, the state now has a “locked” facility for girls like her. WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil joins us with more on that story.

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Juvenile Justice
3:44 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Attorneys Go to Federal Court in Case of Transgender Teen at York

Credit Chris Reed/iStock / Thinkstock

Attorneys for a transgender teen recently placed at Connecticut's women's prison said the Department of Correction is expected to announce on Friday whether she will remain there, or be sent to a male facility. 

Meanwhile, an attorney for the 16-year-old was in federal court Thursday morning.

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Juvenile Justice
4:19 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Transgender Teen Sent to Connecticut Adult Prison

York Correctional Institution in Niantic.
Credit Connecticut Dept. of Correction

For the first time in state prison history, a transgender juvenile is being detained at an adult prison.

The juvenile was sent to York Correctional Institution in Niantic on Tuesday after a judge transferred custody of the teen from the state Department of Children and Families.

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U.S. Attorney General
3:27 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Holder Speaks Out On Snowden, Drone Policy, Softening Sentences

Already one of the longest-serving attorneys general in history, Eric Holder says he has no immediate plans or timetable to leave. Here, he speaks at the annual Attorneys General Winter Meeting in Washington on Feb. 25.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 12:13 pm

Virtually any time a major event ripples across Washington, the Justice Department is positioned near the center of it.

From the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner that carried three Americans on board to the fate of voting rights for millions of people, the attorney general has an enormous portfolio. And the stress to match it.

But after an elevated heart rate sent him to the hospital last month, Eric Holder says he's on the mend.

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Where We Live
8:34 am
Mon March 10, 2014

DCF’s Locked Facility for Girls; Sandy Relief Funds; Aid-in-Dying Legislation

Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the East Coast in late 2012.
Credit DVIDSHUB / Creative Commons

A few weeks ago, we held a conversation about the Connecticut Department of Children and Families’ proposal to open a second locked facility for juvenile justice involved girls. It’s a project that has been at the center of intense debate across the state, as many wonder if it’s the best treatment option for at-risk youths.

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Coming Home Project
2:01 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Grant Awarded to Study a Legal Partnership with the Veterans Administration

Margaret Middleton is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center
Credit Courtesy of CVLC

A legal services non-profit that assists veterans has received a sizable grant to study outcomes for those getting help through the federal VA.

New Haven-based Connecticut Veterans Legal Center and its project partners in New York City received a two-year $700,000 grant from the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation. 

Margaret Middleton, CVLC's Executive Director, said the non-profit entered into a first-of-its-kind medical-legal partnership with the VA Connecticut health care system four and a half years ago. 

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Capital Punishment
6:53 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Death Sentences Nationwide Near Record Lows

Credit Manuel-F-O/iStock / Thinkstock

A year and half after the repeal of capital punishment in Connecticut, death sentences nationwide are near record lows. That’s according to a report released today by the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C.

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Juvenile Law
4:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Connecticut Panel Resurrecting Juvenile Sentencing Bill

The proposal would loosen restrictions on parole hearings for criminals sentenced for crimes committed before they were 18. It would also eliminate life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / seantoyer

A state commission discussed legislation today that could give juvenile offenders an earlier opportunity for parole. The proposal would also eliminate life sentences without parole for inmates convicted of a crime committed when they were under the age of 18.

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4:15 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Bonnie Foreshaw Granted Clemency

Bonnie J. Foreshaw takes an oath at the start of her clemency hearing Wednesday morning.
Credit CT-N

A state board has voted unanimously to release Bonnie Foreshaw from prison. Foreshaw has served 27 years for fatally shooting a pregnant woman, but had garnered support from advocates who said she was unfairly tried and convicted.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:37 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Foreshaw Asks for Clemency; Explosives in Fairfield; Debt Crisis

Tamara Miller, daughter of victim Joyce Amos, testifying at today's clemency hearing for Bonnie Foreshaw.
Credit CT-N

The federal shutdown has been tough on a lot of people, as was made eminently clear this morning during the Wheelhouse episode of Where We Live, when plenty of impassioned callers made their frustrated views known. Making matters a little tougher, the U.S. Treasury Department is running out of cash to pay its bills. More on that below in The Wheelhouse Digest, plus a link to watch the Bonnie Foreshaw clemency hearing live from Niantic.

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Bonnie Foreshaw
3:32 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Female Prisoner Has the Chance for Early Release

Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic.
Credit Connecticut Department of Correction

Bonnie Jean Foreshaw, a woman believed to be Connecticut’s longest-serving female prison inmate, will have the rare chance for early release Wednesday. The clemency hearing is to be held at Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:48 am
Tue September 24, 2013

New Agent in Charge; Mild Hurricane Season; Horses Are Vicious

Credit Saperaud / Wikimedia Commons

Whether it's the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Connecticut, the head of a nasty-looking anvil cloud, or the head of a horse you're looking to avoid: today's Wheelhouse Digest has you covered.

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5:05 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Who Pays For Indigent Defendants?

Connecticut Supreme Court.
Credit John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut’s Supreme Court is receiving briefs in a case that could affect how the state pays for indigent defendants.

Dr. Lishan Wang is accused of the 2010 murder of a former colleague, Dr. Vanjinder Toor in Branford. Wang was briefly represented by the public defender’s office, but later won the right to defend himself.

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Coming Home Project
3:19 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Meeting the Legal Needs of Veterans

Margaret Middleton is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Homeless veterans have told the VA  that one of their top needs is finding legal assistance. The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center in New Haven is one organization that fills this need.  Now the non-profit is working to build a network of similar legal service providers.

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Where We Live
12:03 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

What's Work Worth?

Cool Insights on Flickr Creative Commons

It’s the set-up for countless plots in tv and the cinema: The low-wage worker accidentally gets his hands on the big boss’ paycheck and is flabbergasted by the numbers he sees.

Outside of Hollywood, here’s the reality: Workers on Wall Street earned an average bonus of $121,900 last year while the per capita average income was $42,693.

But we knew that, right, that people who work in the financial industry in the “money-making” part of our economy are going to make more than, say, schoolteachers.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:49 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Jury Duty

pds209 on Flickr Creative Commons

The American jury system is a great leveler. Rich and powerful men such as Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling of Enron, suddenly find their fates in the hands of very average Americans who earn and possess a tiny fraction of what they have. Most of the news we get about juries concerns cases in which an unusual and possibly controversial verdict was reached.

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10:17 am
Tue August 6, 2013

New Rules for Jury Duty and Pre-Trial Publicity

Credit Deborah Cheramie/iStock / Thinkstock

Exposure to pre-trial publicity is an issue when it comes to selecting jurors. The state Supreme Court has issued a new rule that will affect every trial court in Connecticut. Right after a juror is selected, he or she will have to agree to a policy that says three things: They'll decide the case only using the evidence from trial, they'll avoid all publicity about the case, and if exposed to publicity about the case, they'll tell the court. That's the new rule. And, if you ask Mark Dubois, it's a significant one.

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Where We Live
2:00 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Connecticut's Criminal Justice System

Kudumomo on Flickr Creative Commons

We talk this hour about the case of Bonnie Foreshaw, serving the longest sentence of any Connecticut woman for the death of a pregnant woman. Her case is back in the news because of new revelations and high profile support.  

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It's All Politics
9:54 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Why The Justice Department's Eyes Are Upon Texas

Despite a Supreme Court ruling that gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric Holder wants a court to use another section of the 1965 law to require Texas to get the federal government's approval before changing its voting laws.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 8:48 pm

In the war over the right to vote in the U.S., the Justice Department's choice of Texas as the battleground for its first legal action following the Supreme Court's weakening of the Voting Rights Act has a feeling of inevitability.

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Code Switch
4:56 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Key Witness Against Emmett Till's Killers Led A Quiet Life

Willie Reed (right) testified against the men accused of murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955. He changed his last name to Louis after fleeing to Chicago and hardly spoke of the trial.
Charles Knoblock AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 5:43 pm

Willie Louis may be one of the most celebrated but least-known figures in a pivotal point in American history: He testified against the men accused of kidnapping and murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till. He died July 18, but his wife, Juliet, announced his death this week.

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The Faith Middleton Show
4:13 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Authors of The Criminal Justice Club and Toasts

Michael Grimes

The Criminal Justice Club is the book about Walt Lewis' conversion from a young ACLU liberal, who sympathized with the criminal, into an advocate for crime victims and longer sentences for violent and career criminals.

Lewis defines The Criminal Justice Club as a group of deputy district attorneys, public defenders, private defense attorneys, criminal court judges, and the career criminal who have been through the system many times.

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Capital Punishment
11:44 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Challenging Connecticut's Prospective Death Penalty Repeal

Diane Orson

Connecticut’s Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the state’s death penalty repeal. The law ends capital punishment for future crimes only.

Connecticut repealed the death penalty last year, but ten men who were on death row before the law passed still face execution.

Assistant Public Defender Mark Rademacher told the court that is unconstitutional.  

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Community Violence
5:55 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder In CT To Launch Anti-Violence Initiative

Diane Orson

Attorney General Eric Holder joined Connecticut officials in New Haven Tuesday to announce a new statewide anti-violence initiative.  The project involves face-to-face meetings with gang members who are most responsible for killings and homicides.

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Where We Live
1:06 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Raise The Age -- Transcript

Jeff Cohen: This is Where We Live. I’m Jeff Cohen, in for John Dankosky. What’s an adult? And when it comes to crime, should a teenager be treated like one? Those are a couple of the questions we’ll be considering as we talk about young people in prison.

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Juvenile Law
5:03 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Supreme Court Ruling on Juveniles May Have Limited Effect in Connecticut

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The U.S. Supreme Court says it's unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole for murder. The ruling will have limited effect in Connecticut. Connecticut has something called capital offenses -- things like murdering a police officer or a young person.  And the penalty for capital offenses is mandatory -- either death or life in prison without parole.  But because the Supreme Court already outlawed the death penalty for juveniles, those young people who are convicted of capital felonies can only be sentenced to life without parole. Until, it seems, now.

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Capital Punishment
7:27 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Connecticut Ends The Death Penalty

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a repeal of the state’s death penalty into law. The signing ceremony took place Wednesday -  just hours after a new poll showed state voters split over an appropriate punishment for murder.

Governor Malloy signed the bill abolishing capital punishment in a private ceremony with lawmakers, clergy and family members of victims. 

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Adult Crimes?
4:16 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Juvenile Justice Advocates at the State Capitol

The Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

There's a big change coming this summer. Most 17-year-olds charged with crimes will go from being treated like adults to being treated in the juvenile justice system. It was called the "raise the age" effort, and the major effects were this: in 2010, 16-year-olds were taken out of the justice system designed for adults. As of this summer, the same thing will happen for 17-year-olds.

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Where We Live
10:48 am
Thu October 6, 2011

#Occupying Spreads to Connecticut

The Colin McEnroe Show
5:08 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

DNA Policy, Eyewitness Panels & The Future Of Connecticut's State Crime Lab

Flickr Creative Commons, andylepp

The English jurist William Blackstone said "Better that ten guilty men go free than that one innocent suffer."

In recent years, I've seen Blackstone's ratio, when it's cited, shrink down to four to one, as if there's been some kind of deflation of the presumption of innocence. I also wonder how it would fare as a poll question. It's an older idea than Blackstone's 18th century. It's as old as Genesis, as old as Maimonides, but there seem to be plenty of people eager to convict the guilty and not commensurately worried about the innocent.

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