Law

Two eras clash on Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court, when a law written in 1939 is applied to in vitro fertilization. At issue is whether children conceived through in vitro fertilization after the death of a parent are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.

At least 100 such cases are pending before the Social Security Administration.

An extraordinary special investigation by a federal judge has concluded that two Justice Department prosecutors intentionally hid evidence in the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, one of the biggest political corruption cases in recent history.

A blistering report released Thursday found that the government team concealed documents that would have helped the late Stevens, a longtime Republican senator from Alaska, defend himself against false-statements charges in 2008. Stevens lost his Senate seat as the scandal played out, and he died in a plane crash two years later.

Just off the side of the road in rural southern Texas is a large beige building that looks a lot like a prison. Fences and tall walls mark the outside. Inside, the doors slam and people sit in control booths at the end of long concrete hallways.

But just a little farther into the facility, the door opens to a courtyard in the center of the complex, and there, things begin to change. There's a soccer field, a pavilion and a gymnasium. There's also a walk-up pharmacy and commissary. All of it is guarded by officers in polo shirts.

NHPR Staff

Do indigent parents have a constitutional right to a lawyer when the state charges that parent with abuse or neglect of their child?

That’s the question put to the state’s top court.

Last year, lawmakers passed a historic budget – making cuts to General Fund spending for the first time since World War II.

One of the casualties....the $1.2 million dollars provided to indigent parents for legal representation in child abuse and neglect proceedings.

Over the past several years, 350-400 parents a year are charged, typically for neglect.

After a series of videos revealing apparent cruel treatment of farm animals went viral, Iowa has made it a crime for people to misrepresent themselves to gain access to a farm. The so-called "Ag-Gag" law targets undercover animal rights activists who secretly take videos. Farmers say they need the legal protection to block those trying to take down agriculture, but critics ask what the industry may be hiding.

Federal prosecutors have charged five men with responsibility for some of the biggest computer hacks in the past few years. The FBI says the hackers penetrated the computer systems of businesses like Fox Broadcasting and Sony Pictures, stole confidential information and splashed it all over the Internet.

But what's most unusual about the case is how investigators cracked it — with the help of an insider who became a secret government informant.

At the federal court in Concord, lawyers made opening statements in a case involving Beatrice Munyenyezi, a Manchester woman accused of lying about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide to obtain US citizenship.

NHPR's Dan Gorenstein was in court; he tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the first day of the trial.

Recent debates over the new health care law and rules over refugee settlements have been challenged by states, including New Hampshire. Meanwhile several bills by the Granite state legislature, would overturn certain authorities of towns and school boards. We’ll see who can write the rules and where the lines are drawn.

Guests:

Mendocino Snuffing Medical Marijuana Experiment

Feb 13, 2012

This story is part of a collaboration between member station KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting's California Watch.

Mendocino County in Northern California is expected Tuesday to end an unusual program that put pot growing under supervision of the local sheriff. It was the first effort of its kind in the nation and proved a success, at least in the eyes of many locals. But federal officials had a different view.

'Finally Part Of The County'

s_falkow via Flickr/Creative Commons

Since 1992, the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Emergency Project has provided free legal services to low-income victims of domestic violence. Scott O’Connell is an attorney from Manchester who drives to a crisis center in Berlin once a month to volunteer his services, working there with local advocates. Donna Cummings is the director of the crisis center where O’Connell volunteers.

12 Angry Puppets

Jan 23, 2012
Photo by Mr.Ducke, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

From this year’s popular revival of Jim Henson’s Muppets in a new film starring Jason Segal, to our recent coverage of Wakka Wakka’s production, Baby Universe, an interplanetary puppet odyssey that took the stage in Hanover, it seems like puppets are popping up just about everywhere. 

Memorialized in a Bob Dylan song and an Academy Award nominated Denzel Washington film, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was a successful prize fighter, who was falsely accused of murder. After nearly two decades in prison, Carter was exonerated by a federal judge (also heard in our documentary) in a ruling later affirmed by the US Supreme Court.

Court-Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire provides advocates in court for children who are abused or neglected. Chris placed in foster care at age 16, was assigned a CASA worker to advocate for him. Antonia Andreoli was Chris’ advocate, and was a constant presence for him through the court and foster care process.

CHRIS: Through all the judges and foster parents and case workers and everything that I was dealing with, Antonia was the one person that was stable throughout my two years in the foster care system. I absolutely love her.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/arwing3/3991116008/" target="_blank">That One Doood</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

At the dawn of the MP3 era, music-lovers digitized their CD collections, racking up thousands of hours of songs on their home computers, while clearing out their shelves. The thrill was soon followed by the realization that most of us owned far more music than we had time to listen to.

Although we are a nation of immigrants, the first laws to enforce who could be an  American citizen  and who couldn't didn’t appear until the late 1880s.  Since then, new legislation like the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1965, as well as the Refugee Act of 1980s have both strengthen and loosened these rules.  As part of our year long series "New Hampshire's Immigration Story", we'll talk today about the law, how it’s evolved and ask if it once again needs to be modified?

Guests

The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that names and individual pension amounts are public information. The ruling opens the door for media to scrutinize how much former public workers collect in retirement.

About 18 months ago, the Union Leader asked to see the names and payouts to the 500 individuals with the highest pensions.

Citing vague language in the Right-to-Know law, the New Hampshire Retirement System declined to hand over the documents.

The Hotel Wentworth by the Sea owes dozens of its former employees nearly $72 thousand dollars in back wages. The hotel and its sub-contractor failed to pay kitchen and housekeeping staff for over a month.

The U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that Wentworth by the Sea and its subcontractor Eco-Clean New England failed to pay some workers for a 4-7 week period.

The hotel also didn’t pay overtime to workers, who primarily are non-native English speakers and live in the Boston area.

The Local Government Center wants to limit public comments as the state makes its case that LGC violated the law. LGC lawyers are frustrated over comments state regulators have made to the press.

In a closed door meeting, two sources say LGC attorney Bill Saturley asked presiding officer Donald Mitchell to restrict lawyers from speaking to reporters.

The Securities Bureau is alleging that LGC- which provides insurance to cities and towns- violated multiple state laws, and owes cities and towns upwards of $100 million dollars.

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