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It’s hard to read the word "mafia" and not be reminded of scenes from The Godfather or Casino.

But mafias infiltrate more than just movie plots and crime novels. Their presence is felt in states and societies across the globe.

Where the first day of Jeff Sessions' attorney general confirmation hearing focused on what the Alabama senator's relationship would be with the president if confirmed, the second day focused on his own past.

Sessions, a former Alabama attorney general, has a reputation for being tough on crime, but civil rights advocates testified that his reputation was made on the backs of vulnerable groups. Lawmakers who have worked with him, on the other hand, said they knew a just and fair man.

"We must bend" the arc of the moral universe

Arc of Farmington Valley

One of the new laws that took effect on January 1 is a measure that switches out the decades-old handicap symbol with a new dynamic logo. 

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When Clinton resident Austin Haughwout uploaded YouTube videos of his pistol and flamethrower-equipped drones last year, he triggered a national debate over the use of weaponized drones that is expected to result in new state legislation.

On Jan. 20, 2016, exactly a year before a new president would be sworn into office, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia announced the court's 8-to-1 decision reinstating the death penalty for two Kansas brothers.

It was the last time the 79-year-old Scalia would announce an opinion. Three weeks later, on a hunting trip in Texas, the conservative icon died in his sleep.

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A legal fight heated up last summer between state marshals and the Hartford Parking Authority. The question was whether the marshals could, by law, park their cars illegally while doing their jobs. That fight wound up in state court and the marshals lost. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

State officials, community providers and youth advocates are continuing their work to reform juvenile justice in Connecticut. The latest efforts have been focused on a plan to close the state’s juvenile jail in Middletown.

This hour, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz and Deputy Commissioner Fernando Muñiz join us in-studio to talk about the department’s plan to shutter the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and its other responsibilities as the state’s child welfare agency. 

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Electoral College.

There's a pair of words you've maybe heard once or twice recently.

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It will be legal Thursday to possess small amounts of marijuana, or to grow it for recreational purposes, in Massachusetts. But that isn’t the the case in neighboring states, where pot possession remains illegal. And law enforcement in some of these places are getting ready.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Wednesday is the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. A gunman walked into the school and took the lives of 20 children and six educators.

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Two years ago, the city of Hartford used eminent domain to take private land from a developer to be used for part of its baseball stadium development project. For that land, the city paid $1.98 million. But now, a state court judge has ruled that the figure wasn’t nearly enough. 

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear an appeal in a case brought by Newtown families against gun maker Remington Arms. The families are arguing that the manufacturer shouldn't have marketed and sold military-style weapons to civilians.

Ryan Caron King

Connecticut is in the process of overhauling its juvenile justice system. Plans to close the state’s juvenile jail in Middletown are underway and legislators are looking to replace it with a more effective system. To help find solutions, a new report has been created from the perspective of delinquent youth. 

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Governor Dannel Malloy wants to close Connecticut’s juvenile jail in Middletown by mid-2018, but what will replace it?

This hour, we hear from the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance about its new report that includes the perspective of delinquent youth. The youth offer their opinions on how the state can improve its juvenile justice system.

With just over a week before it was scheduled to take effect, a federal judge has blocked the implementation of an Obama administration rule that would have extended overtime eligibility to some 4 million Americans.

The Labor Department's sweeping overhaul to the overtime rule required employers to pay time-and-a-half to their employees who worked more than 40 hours in a given week and earned less than $47,476 a year.

Refugee resettlement organizations crossed their fingers after this week's election. President-elect Trump has threatened to ban refugees, particularly Muslims. Meanwhile Connecticut uses a unique model that places refugees in individual communities. They would like the model to continue and even grow. The town of Wilton is a good place to see it in action.

A week ago, Hillary Clinton was looking to run up the score against Donald Trump. Her campaign was running ads in Texas and planning a trip to the traditionally red state of Arizona.

Today, she heads out on that trip, but in a presidential election that has now seen a tightened race from where it was a week and a half ago.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

In a letter to several Democratic senators Monday, the Justice Department said it "will continue to work closely with the FBI and together, dedicate all necessary resources and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible" regarding the review of thousands of newly discovered emails that may be relevant to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server.

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FBI Director James B. Comey wrote in a Friday memo to Congressional leaders that "the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation" of Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server. The memo sparked a firestorm that rages hotter by the day, resisting all attempts to contain its damage. 

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

Federal agents now have a search warrant they need to examine the thousands of emails found on a computer belonging to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner that could be pertinent to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's personal email server, sources familiar with the matter tell NPR's Carrie Johnson.

Weiner is the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of several things, among them race. The law, however, doesn't define "race."

It also doesn't say anything about hair.

Which brings us to Chastity Jones.

South Africa has decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, after previously ignoring an ICC arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Reuters and The Associated Press both say they have seen a document, signed by South Africa's foreign minister, declaring the country's intent to withdraw. The AP reports that legislation to finalize the move has to pass South Africa's parliament, but notes that passage of such a bill is likely.

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A settlement has been reached in a complaint filed against a Glastonbury, Connecticut metals-treatment company. The lawsuit, which was filed under the Clean Water Act, means Connecticut Galvanizing will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and penalties.

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A Connecticut judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by families of the victims in the Newtown school shooting. They filed a suit against the manufacturer of the rifle used in the massacre.

CT-N

Children with certain medical conditions can now legally begin receiving medical marijuana in Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy signed legislation that extends the state’s medical marijuana program to minors for the first time. 

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