Back in 2004, a reporter named David Holthouse published a remarkable story in the weekly paper he worked for, Westword. It's about something he waited his entire life to do...since childhood.
Ira Glass speaks with JoAnn Chiakulas, the only Juror on the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who believed he was innocent of trying to sell Barack Obama's senate seat.
For 17 months, New York police officer Adrian Schoolcraft recorded himself and his fellow officers on the job, including their supervisors ordering them to do all sorts of things that police aren't supposed to do. For example, downgrading real crimes into lesser ones, so they wouldn't show up in the crime statistics and make their precinct look bad.
In California, Maryland and Oklahoma, the governors can over-rule parole boards' decisions to free prisoners serving life sentences. In all three states this has evolved to the point where very few prisoners get released.
Host Ira Glass describes a recent terrorism case in Newburgh, N.Y., in which four men were arrested after planting bombs in front of a synagogue and Jewish community center. Ira discusses the case with Aziz Huq, assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and co-author of Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror. Huq says the Newburgh case isn't what it seems, because without the help of a government informant, the four men probably wouldn't have been able to organize an act of terrorism.
Hemant Lakhani, an Indian-born British citizen, had been a salesman all his life. Clothing, rice, oil...it didn't matter to him what, as long as he could spin a deal.
Our story about Hemant Lakhani's case continues, through the sting and the trial.
Ira talks to Aziz Huq about whether cases like Lahkani's will continue to be pursued under the Obama administration, and why that's problematic.
Earlier this year, admitted drug user Jorge Cruz decided to act as his own lawyer in an Albany, New York criminal court. Impossibly, he won.
The story of a famous but not well-understood political fall guy, someone who became a scapegoat for American policies worldwide. Philip Gourevitch writes about listening to nine hours of interviews with Lynndie England, the American servicewoman photographed at Abu Ghraib prison holding a leash with a naked, Iraqi prisoner on the end of it.
Michael May's story about Brandon Darby continues.
There's a town in Florida where if you shoplift, and get caught, a judge will send you back to the scene of your crime to stand in front of the store, with a large sign that reads "I stole from this store." Ira and producer Lisa Pollak talk to one such teenager who was caught stealing from a convenience store, the supervisor overseeing her punishment, and the judge who sends her there.
Mike Birbiglia recalls being in a car accident with a hit and run drunk driver. In the weeks that follow, Mike's brush with death turns into a full blown nightmare when the police report is so poorly filled out that somehow Mike winds up owing the drunk driver 12 thousand dollars…not because it's fair, but because he can't get anyone to listen to him.
Host Ira Glass talks to Kathy from Hoboken, NJ, who has become obsessed with people who get away with parking violations in her town—where parking is scarce and parking laws are enforced vigilantly. Except when they aren't.
Three guys who go by the names Professor So and So, Jojobean and YeaWhatever spend part of each day running elaborate cons on Internet scammers. They consider themselves enforcers of justice, even after they send a man 1400 miles from home, to the least safe place they can bait him: The border of Darfur.
Tim White used to be a gang leader in Chicago, but now he's a "violence interrupter" for a program called CeaseFire. Host Ira Glass talks to Tim about his work, and why he thinks it can keep young gang members from killing each other.
Host Ira Glass recalls the case of the so-called Detroit Sleeper Cell—four men, arrested in the weeks after 9/11, accused of plotting terrorist attacks. Ira explains that the entire program will be devoted to the story of the man who prosecuted the case...an up-and-coming prosecutor in the Department of Justice, Richard G.
Reporter Petra Bartosiewicz tells the first half of Rick Convertino's story. The Detroit Sleeper case was one of the earliest Justice Department victories in the war on terror.
Reporter Petra Bartosiewicz's story continues. Tensions between Rick and his bosses at the Justice Department escalate: They demote him, he sues them, they put him on trial for criminal misconduct, in the very same federal court house where we won the Sleeper Cell case.
Joseph Margulies, a lawyer for one of the detainees at Guantanamo, explains how the detention facility there was created to be an ideal interrogation facility. Any possible comfort, such as water or natural light, is controlled entirely by the interrogators.
Jack Hitt explains how President Bush's War on Terror changed the rules for prisoners of war and how it is that under those rules, it'd be possible that someone whose classified file declares that they pose no threat to the United States could still be locked up indefinitely—potentially forever!—at Guantanamo.
Habeas corpus began in England. And recently, 175 members of the British parliament filed a "friend of the court" brief in one of the U.S.
Although more than 200 prisoners from the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay have been released, few of them have ever been interviewed on radio or on television in America. Jack Hitt conducts rare and surprising interviews with two former Guantanamo detainees about life in Guantanamo.
Alex Kotlowitz reports on a woman with the power to change two people's lives...and at the height of her power, she doesn't even know she has it. Alex is the author of Never a City So Real and other books.