Category Archives: Reviews

A Must-See Movie in Schools

The film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” follows the political life of a (fictitious) U.S. Senator Jefferson Smith. Mr. Smith is handpicked to replace a senator who has passed away, because political cronies believe he’ll take orders and not think … Continue reading

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On This Date in Legal History

On December 25, 1962, the movie To Kill a Mockingbird opened. Learn more at http://goo.gl/jljY20 and http://goo.gl/RT4GzQ.

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Congratulations 2016 Graduates!

Looking for that perfect graduation gift?  Check out the award-winning, legal-themed, LAWSUIT!™ board game @ http://www.lawsuitgame.com.

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“The Fight to Vote” by Michael Waldman

The Fight to Vote by Michael Waldman traces the fascinating history of voting rights in the United States. Waldman describes in his book the turbulent history that has led to five constitutional amendments. Initially, only white men with property could … Continue reading

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Lee Daniels’ The Butler

One extremely entertaining (and educational) way of celebrating Black History Month is by watching Lee Daniels’ The Butler. This historical drama traces the fictional life of a former slave, Cecil Gaines, who becomes a butler for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, … Continue reading

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The Movie “Suffragette”

Suffragette tells the story of how in the early 20th century British women took extraordinary steps to win the right to vote.  Women became militant after realizing their voices weren’t being heard. The storyline dramatizes certain actual events and the … Continue reading

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PBS’s Documentary “The Poisoner’s Handbook”

PBS’s documentary The Poisoner’s Handbook traces the history of how forensic science was introduced into the courtroom. The film focuses on the pioneering work of two doctors—Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler. In 1918, Charles Norris became New York City’s first Chief … Continue reading

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Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies”

The new Steven Spielberg film Bridge of Spies dramatizes the arrest and conviction of Soviet spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel for espionage in 1957. James Donovan, a respected insurance lawyer, is pressured to scale back his defense of the spy, but … Continue reading

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HBO’s “Fixing the System” Documentary

HBO’s documentary “Fixing the System” is extraordinary.  Journalist Shane Smith delves into the problems with our criminal justice system. He hones in on our sentencing laws and how the system is stacked against minorities.  Those interviewed uniformly express the belief … Continue reading

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The American Museum of Tort Law

This past Saturday the first law museum–the American Museum of Tort Law– opened in Winsted, Connecticut. At the convocation Ralph Nader, who founded the museum, explained that we should celebrate the laws that ensure companies act responsibly.  He emphasized how … Continue reading

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The Pretrial & Probation Process

Last week United States Courts released a great video that discusses how our criminal justice system works.  The panel includes: U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, probation officer Jesse Sorkness and Matt Rowland, from the Probation & Pretrial Services Office. They … Continue reading

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The United States Supreme Court

If you visit Washington, D.C. this summer your itinerary ought to include a visit to the United States Supreme Court.  Docents are welcoming and available to answer your questions.  You’ll learn about current and former Supreme Court justices, and the … Continue reading

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The Scopes Trial

The criminal trial against John Scopes began on this date in 1925.  Scopes, a science instructor, was indicted for teaching the prohibited subject of evolution in a Dayton, Tennessee public school.  A jury found him guilty of violating Tennessee’s “Butler … Continue reading

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NSA’s Telephone Metadata Program Exceeds Congressional Authorization

Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the Patriot Act, Section 215, never authorized the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records. You can read the entire decision @ http://1.usa.gov/1EhMDgh. Circuit Judge Gerard E. Lynch, … Continue reading

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Law Day Is Tomorrow…

The made-for-television movie Separate But Equal traces NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall’s legal fight against segregation. The former Supreme Court Justice was the lead attorney in the Brown v. Board of Education case. This dramatization of that legal battle teaches about the court … Continue reading

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A Cautionary Tale From The Documentary “Kids for Cash”

From 2003-2008 children arrested in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, were routinely encouraged to waive their rights to counsel.  Hundreds of young kids not represented by lawyers were ordered to go to detention centers for minor offenses.  The documentary Kids for Cash … Continue reading

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Legal Definition of the Day: Public Defender

A public defender is an attorney paid by the government to represent indigent individuals who’ve been charged with committing a crime.  To fully understand what these lawyers do, I recommend you watch a compelling documentary, Gideon’s Army.  This film follows … Continue reading

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Life-Without-Parole Sentences for Juveniles

Inmates in South Carolina filed a lawsuit claiming their sentences were violative of the 8th Amendment.  When they were minors they were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.  They argued that the 8th Amendment guarantees against such “cruel … Continue reading

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Three Justices Honored at Yale

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas were recently honored at Yale Law School.  Following the award ceremony, they engaged in an informal, candid, discussion with Professor of Law Kate Stith.  The Justices shared tidbits from their personal lives, … Continue reading

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NBC’s “Bad Judge”

#NBC’s “Bad Judge” aired for the first time this fall on October 2.  It’s a sitcom fashioned to poke fun at judges and lawyers.  Rebecca Wright, played by Kate Walsh, is a Van Nuys Criminal Court #Judge, who engages in … Continue reading

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