Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Two legal cases -- judge and grand jury?; Stanford rape case sentence

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 15, 2016 9:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, June 15, 2016:

Legal cases can often be complicated and the public isn't always privy to what actually goes on in a court room or behind closed doors.  But one reason high-profile cases generate so much attention is because they often raise legal questions.

On Wednesday's Smart Talk, we discuss two such recent cases.  One has resulted in a buzz across Pennsylvania and the other outrage nationwide.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille should have recused himself when deciding whether convicted murderer Terrance Williams' death penalty sentence should be upheld.  Williams was convicted of murdering a Philadelphia man in 1984.  At the time, Castille was the District Attorney in Philadelphia and authorized the prosecutor in the case to pursue the death penalty -- even though he was not directly involved in the prosecution.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision said Castille violated Williams' 14th Amendment right of due process.

Appearing on the program is Constitutional rights expert Spero Lappas, who was a member of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment.

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Spero Lappas

Also, the judge who sentenced a Stanford University swimmer to six months in jail after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman is facing nationwide criticism and maybe a recall campaign. 

Twenty-year-old Brock Turner could have been sentenced to 14 years in prison but California Judge Aaron Persky handed down the lighter sentence citing Turner's previously clean record.  This case has outraged many people and raises legal questions as well.  

Joining us on Smart Talk is Professor Emeritus Robert Power, Widener University Commonwealth Law School to discuss the case.

UPDATE: Judge in Stanford rape case removed from a similar case.

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Emeritus Robert Power


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