[Un]Common Law is the place where public policy, legal issues, and storytelling collide. That means sometimes we dive into the weeds on the biggest legal, government, or tax stories; examining a single topic or big idea, and reporting it out in a multiple episode series or special single episode. Hosted by Adam Allington.
15. If Qualified Immunity Is Bad Policy, Why Can't We Fix It?
In the wake of Derek Chauvin’s conviction in the murder of George Floyd, lawmakers in both parties said they were “cautiously optimistic” that the trial could provide new momentum to overcome the political hurdles that have stymied efforts at policing reform.
In a speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, President Joe Biden formally called on lawmakers to resurrect the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which among other things, would end the legal practice of granting qualified immunity to police officers.
Qualified immunity was considered a relatively obscure legal doctrine known only to civil-rights lawyers and legal scholars, but after the death of George Floyd, it has now become a common topic in the media, cities, and state legislatures across the country.
In this episode of the UnCommon Law Podcast, we speak with Alexander Reinert, a professor of law at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, Clark Neily, a senior vice president for criminal justice at the Cato Institute, and Anya Bidwell, an attorney with the nonprofit Institute for Justice.
14. Derek Chauvin Verdict: Legal Community Reactions
It took the jury less than 11 hours, to pronounce Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts of murder in the second and third degree, as well as second-degree manslaughter. While there are many shoes yet to drop before this case is finally complete. Including sentencing, and there will surely be an appeal after that. Also, attention will now shift toward the criminal trial, later this summer, of the three other Minneapolis Police Department officers who were also present during Floyd’s murder.
The [Un]Common Law podcast now turns to the attorneys for their insights on the verdict. In this episode host Adam Allilngton speaks with Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney and now a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, Somil Trivedi, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, and Tiffany Jeffers, an associate professor an associate professor of law and legal practice at Georgetown University Law Center.
13. Closing Arguments in the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial
With closing arguments completed on Monday, April 19, former police officer Derek Chauvin’s fate rests in the hands of a jury of his peers.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Joining host Adam Allington to discuss closing arguments in the nation’s most intensely-watched police brutality trial since Rodney King is Kami Chavis, a professor of law and director of the criminal justice program at Wake Forest University School of Law.
12. Could Chauvin Win an Appeal if Convicted?
Closing statements in the Derek Chauvin trial are set to begin on Monday. The former Minneapolis police officer is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Many attorneys agree that Chauvin faces an uphill battle to avoid being found guilty on at least one of the charges. That sets up, what would surely be, an appeal of the verdict.
Has Chauvin’s defense team successfully set up potential issues for an appeal in the event of a guilty verdict? What are the chances that an appeal would be successful? Former federal prosecutor and NBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner joins [Un]Common Law to discuss.
11. The Defense Rests Its Case in the Derek Chauvin Trial
Defense attorney Eric Nelson has a big task to accomplish this week in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin as he set out to rewrite the narrative of George Floyd's final moments that prosecutors diligently laid out over a two-week period.
All told, the prosecution called nearly 40 witnesses to the stand over the two weeks, including fellow police officers, medical experts and eyewitnesses as young as nine years old. The defense took just two days to call seven witnesses.
Nelson argued that Floyd died of a sudden cardiac arrest caused by a combination of fentanyl, methamphetamine, high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, and adrenaline—and not by his restraint by Chauvin, who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes.
Bloomberg Law reporter Ian Lopez joins [Un]Common Law host Adam Allington to discuss what Chauvin's defense team was trying to accomplish as the trial heads toward closing arguments and a verdict that could be returned as early as next week.
10. George Floyd: Minnesota's Spark of Life Testimony Explained
The prosecution wrapped up it’s case in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin on Monday, April 12.
Over the course of more than two weeks the jury heard extensive testimony about George Floyd's health problems and struggles with drug addiction. But thanks to an obscure legal doctrine, the jury was also allowed to hear testimony aimed at humanizing George Floyd.
Floyd’s younger brother, Philonise Floyd, took the stand on Monday to share some personal reminisces and reflections, which are permitted under Minnesota’s “Spark of Life Doctrine.”
To hear this kind of testimony during the evidentiary phase of a trial is unusual. That’s because whether George Floyd was a good brother, or liked to play basketball, or made snacks for his siblings, etc…none of that has any bearing on whether Derek Chauvin committed a crime. And, to be clear, it’s not supposed to.
So why is it allowed? Host Adam Allington speaks with Ted Sampsell-Jones, of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
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This is very interesting
I don’t work in the legal profession so this has been very interesting to me and I like the range of subjects
It surprises me when the host finishes up the program and reads the credits he always starts with his own name.
Excellent & Informative.
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