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Guilty Until Proven Innocent [electronic resource]: Asset Forfeiture Laws

The concept of presumed innocence is fundamental to American justice, but this program shows how private property in Tennessee was seized on suspicion of illegal activity. Without pressing criminal charges, the case is brought in civil court and the person who has lost his cash or his car must prove his innocence. The program profiles a "typical" citizen who has come up against the asset forfeiture laws-most are minorities, too poor to pay for proper legal representation, and unlikely (whether they have committed a crime or not) ever to get their money back. The program also looks at the argument that the laws are useful in the war against drugs.

Court, Trials, and Sentencing [electronic resource]: Due Process

According to prime-time television, criminals are brought to justice in a speedy and efficient yet drama-filled manner. In reality, the process can be slow and meticulous, as rules must be followed to safeguard the defendant's constitutional rights. This program provides a solid grounding in the processes and players involved in the court system and takes viewers step-by-step through a trial and sentencing. Legal experts explain probable cause, plea bargaining, the types of witness testimony that might be challenged, and other key elements, including how juvenile offenders are dealt with. A viewable/printable instructor's guide is available online. A Films for the Humanities & Sciences/MotionMasters Coproduction.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun [electronic resource]: Man of the Middle

This program provides an in-depth look at the late Supreme Court Justice who wrote the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, the case that granted women constitutional protection for abortion. Blackmun outlines a typical day in the Supreme Court, explains his own definition of what the court's role is in the life of Americans, and examines the issue of privacy, a word and concept not mentioned in the Constitution. In addition, Blackmun discusses the emotional and moral challenge of interpreting the Constitution today.

Mr. Justice Brennan [electronic resource]

A visit with former Supreme Court justice William J. Brennan, Jr., who has been called America's "most unyielding defender of individual rights." Brennan served through seven presidencies and wrote close to 500 majority opinions. Time and again, he argued that the protection of individual freedom is found in judicial enforcement of constitutional rights. In the early 1960s, Brennan's arguments turned the country's political map upside down and changed, forever, the Court's role in political matters.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor [electronic resource]

In this candid interview with Bill Moyers, Sandra Day O'Connor discusses women's rights within the context of her role as the Supreme Court's first woman Justice, and the Constitution. Justice O'Connor reveals her own difficulties in breaking into the male-dominated legal profession, how she balanced work with family, and how her ultimate ascent from assistant attorney in the Arizona State Attorney's Office, to the state's first female senator, led to her Supreme Court appointment. Citing Constitutional precedents, O'Connor defends several controversial opinions on the issues of affirmative action and abortion.

Justice Lewis F. Powell [electronic resource]

When Lewis Powell, Jr., was appointed to the Supreme Court, he appeared to be a true southern conservative. But once on the court, Powell proved to be his own man-hard to predict, bringing a complex mind to bear on complex issues-from affirmative action to the death penalty. In this program, Powell discusses a variety of issues including Watergate, the Constitution of the former Soviet Union, the death penalty, reverse discrimination, the working of the Court, and corporal punishment.

Moyers & Company [electronic resource]: Justice Not Politics

In Iowa, a state whose judicial system has been praised for its fairness and impartiality, the political and religious right ousted three justices in 2010 over marriage equality and is now trying to take down a fourth over the same issue. But this time a bipartisan coalition called Justice Not Politics is fighting back. In this edition of Moyers & Company, JNP's cofounders-Democrat Sally Pederson and Republican Joy Corning, each of whom served Iowa for eight years as lieutenant governor-talk with Bill about what's at stake when justices are at the mercy of partisan passions and money in politics.
2012; 2013

From Arusha to Arusha [electronic resource]: Seeking Justice for Rwanda

Focusing on the 1994 Rwandan genocide, this film examines the international justice system and studies the activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is prosecuting those responsible for the tragedy as well as those of the gacaca courts, or grass courts - the people's tribunals - who are working toward justice through reconciliation. By juxtaposing archival footage of an international court enacting justice behind closed doors with images and testimony gathered in the field, the film presents conflicting points of view and invites the Rwandan people to reappropriate their own history. Director Christophe Gargot has his roots in the rich documentary tradition of filmmakers who are interested in focusing on the rituals of large institutions. This film ex [...]

Juvenile Process Overview [electronic resource]: Through the System

Caught breaking into cars at a local train station, two teenaged brothers are sent to Lake County Juvenile Complex in Crown Point, Indiana. Both believe they'll be out within a couple of days. But since they are previous offenders with multiple violations, they now face the very real possibility of long-term detention, with their ultimate fate hinging on a series of hearings and evaluations that neither expected to go through. Following the brothers from the night of their intake to their eventual placement in separate residential facilities, this video illustrates with unflinching clarity and detail the procedural challenges that many juvenile defendants face when they are incarcerated. The legal, sociological, and psychological aspects of the case are further examined through one-o [...]

Moyers & Company [electronic resource]: And Justice for Some

Though a landmark Supreme Court decision 50 years ago established the right of criminal defendants to legal representation-even if they can't afford it-the scales of the American legal system still tilt heavily in favor of the white and wealthy. In this edition of Moyers & Company, Bill sits down with civil rights attorney and legal scholar Bryan Stevenson, who exposes the legal system's failures and its ongoing struggles at the crossroads of race, class, and justice. Also, journalists Martin Clancy and Tim O'Brien talk about inequities in death row legal representation and sentencing across the country. The program closes with an essay on the hypocrisy of "justice for all" in a society where billions are squandered for a war born in fraud while the poor are pushed aside.

Lawyers on Trial [electronic resource]

The occupation of lawyer used to command immediate respect and trust in our society. Today, however, the profession has come under suspicion and is the butt of many jokes. Is the lure of financial reward and legal competition distorting the practice of law? Has greed overtaken the quest for fairness? How can the legal profession regulate its behavior? This program addresses these and other questions about the role and integrity of lawyers in our society with Roberta Cooper Ramo, President of the American Bar Association; Anthony Kronman, Dean of the Yale Law School; and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Women Behind Bars: Part 1 Life and Death in Indiana [electronic resource]

More women are in prison in America than anywhere else in the world. Follow Trevor McDonald in this first part of a two-part documentary as he ventures inside two jails that hold some of America's most notorious women criminals, Indiana Women's Prison and the state's Rockville Correctional Facility. Trevor witnesses a world of seduction and manipulation as inmates prey on each other and those who guard them.

The Plea [electronic resource]

It is the centerpiece of America's judicial process: the trial by jury system that places a defendant's fate in the hands of a jury of one's peers. But just how many citizens are aware that nearly 95 percent of all criminal cases never reach a jury, but instead are settled through plea bargains? FRONTLINE explores the moral, judicial, and constitutional implications of relying on plea bargains to expedite justice.

Bill Moyers Journal: Historian Thomas Cahill / Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“We as a country are actually sacrificing children to an evil God,” says historian and death penalty critic Thomas Cahill. In an interview that takes viewers from the Roman Coliseum to death row in Texas, Bill Moyers talks with the author of How the Irish Saved Civilization about capital punishment and its place in American culture. Discussing his most recent project—a book about a young defendant put to death after a questionable trial—Cahill asks us to acknowledge a brutality that lives as much “inside of us” as it does in our legal system. Also on the program: an essay on Pakistan and a look at a past interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Broadcast dates: November 9, 2007, and December 28, 2007. (58 minutes)
2016; 2007

Inside Prison: Promotion Hearing

A counselor inside juvenile prison explains the Administrative Review Committee roles, the issue of determinant sentencing, the level process, a teen offender's length of stay in prison, and her experience of working with juveniles.
2018; 2015

At Rikers Island, Investing in Decision-Making Lessons for Teens in Trouble (4/10/13)

Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on efforts to keep young people from returning to New York's Rikers Island once they've served their time. A privately financed pubic program utilizes evidence-based behavioral therapy to imbue teens with a sense of greater control over their lives and decisions.
2017; 2013

Chris Blessinger Talks to Inmates in Segregation

Pendleton Program Director Chris B. walks the Segregation Unit and talks to juvenile inmates who are locked inside their cells.
2018; 2011

Joseph Lavelle: Interview

GED teacher Joseph L. discusses life on the job inside a maximum-security juvenile prison, his model students, and what it's like to work with teens behind bars.
2018; 2011