This Week on Between The Lines

Posted April 11, 2012 for week ending April 20, 2012

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Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Civil Liberties Advocates: Supreme Court Strip Search Ruling Could Lead to Systematic Police Abuse

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Interview with Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, conducted by Scott Harris

stripsearch

In a 5-4 ruling on April 2, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that allows security officials in American jails to strip search any person arrested on serious or minor offenses, without reasonable suspicion that the person may be concealing contraband. The case, Florence v. County of Burlington, stemmed from the 2005 New Jersey arrest of Albert Florence, an African-American who was a passenger in the car his wife was driving, when state police pulled the vehicle over to issue her a speeding ticket. When officers found that there was an outstanding warrant for Florence due to an unpaid traffic fine, he was arrested. Although records later found that the fine had been paid two years earlier, Florence was held for a week in two jails and subjected to humiliating strip-searches in each facility.  Story continues

Connecticut Poised to Become 17th State to End Capital Punishment; Executions in Decline in U.S.

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Interview with Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

deathpenalty

On April 5, the Connecticut Senate voted 20-16 to abolish the death penalty. It is expected to pass in the House and Gov. Dannel Malloy has promised to sign the measure. If as expected the bill becomes law, Connecticut would join 16 other states and the District of Columbia in ending the death penalty, and be the fifth in the last five years to do so. (UPDATE: Connecticut has become the 17th state to repeal the death penalty, with lawmakers voting 86-62 on the measure after a marathon debate that stretched into the night and revived memories of some of the state's most heinous crimes. Gov. Dannel Malloy has said he will sign the bill, which passed the House on Wednesday night, six days after the Senate approved it. The bill replaces capital punishment with life in prison without the possibility of parole, but it only applies to future cases and has no effect on the 11 men on death row in Connecticut. - LA Times)  Story continues

ColorofChange.org Succeeds in Pressuring Major Corporations to Resign from Right-wing Policy Group American Legislative Exchange Council

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Interview with Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorofChange.org, conducted by Scott Harris

ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a group unfamiliar to most Americans, came into public view in early 2011 as a number of states across the U.S. were debating and passing legislation eliminating the collective bargaining rights of public sector labor unions in states such as Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. News reports revealed that ALEC, a right-wing policy group funded by some of the nation’s largest corporations, not only promoted the anti-union bills, but provided conservative legislators in more than a dozen states with model legislative language to get the job done.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

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