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The Hartford state’s attorney has cleared a Wethersfield police officer in the 2019 shooting death of 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz.

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What challenges do people with criminal records face when re-entering society? What is Connecticut doing to help prior offenders reintegrate? 

This hour: we discuss challenges faced after leaving prison. This includes finding gainful employment, getting an education and even finding a place to live.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Lori Jackson feared for her life, so she got a temporary restraining order against her husband. But he was still able to legally buy a handgun, which he used to kill Jackson.

This hour, we talk about the legal gaps that allow some domestic abusers to purchase firearms.

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It's been over 40 years since former President Richard Nixon resigned the presidency over Watergate. But, the story of Watergate is almost impossible to tell. It's too big and too murky. It's full of files that were burned and a tape that was erased. It's full of characters named McCord and Magruder and Mitchell, who are hard to keep track of. With each passing year, it becomes more of an inert thing and less of a breathing, wriggling, writhing creature. 

On December 13, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend two articles of impeachment against President Trump, and the full House of Representatives adopted them on December 18. On February 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted the president on both articles.

Going by those dates, the full, official impeachment saga lasted 54 days.

Our side-project, Saturday-show chronicling of the impeachment, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), launched on December 6, 2019. 11 episodes and 12 hours of radio later, Pardon Me has come to its close.

This hour, in lieu of a proper Colin McEnroe Show, and continuing the Presidents' Day weekend festivities, we present the final installment of Pardon Me.

Four Department of Justice prosecutors working on the case of Roger Stone, a close friend of President Trump, withdrew from legal proceedings Tuesday after Attorney General William Barr overruled their sentencing recommendations. The president had complained about the long sentence.

Barr denied that President Trump asked him to intervene and claimed he wouldn't be "bullied or influenced by anybody." He said Thursday that the president should stop tweeting about DOJ criminal cases. The president took to Twitter Friday to say he has the "legal right." Shortly therafter, the DOJ dropped their probe into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Before you think this is more than theater, keep in mind that Barr also set up a process to vet information that Rudy Giuliani is gathering in Ukraine. And he tasked prosecutors to review the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

An F-35B fighter jet, the U.S. Marine Corps variant of the F-35 from the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., flies into Luke Air Force Base Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, in Goodyear, Ariz.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

The Trump administration told Congress on Thursday that it plans to divert money from the F-35 program, the National Guard, and other weapons programs to fund his border wall, drawing condemnation from Connecticut lawmakers.

Jeff Belmonte / Wikimedia

Valentine's Day is around the corner, which means it’s the season for chocolates and cheesy Hallmark cards.

Love is what most people are looking for in a spouse or life partner. But this hour, we take a look at marriage, an institution that for much of history had very little to do with love at all.

Note: This episode contains strong language.

This hour, we air an updated version of the most recent episode of our weekly impeachment show, Pardon Me, which normally airs Saturdays at noon.

The Senate acquitted President Trump on both articles of the impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican who voted to convict the president on one charge, for "egregious" behavior he believed rose to the level of a "high crime and misdemeanor."

Note: This episode contains strong language.

The Senate acquitted President Trump on both articles of the impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican who voted to convict the president on one charge, for "egregious" behavior he believed rose to the level of a "high crime and misdemeanor."

President Trump responded with anger. He fumed at his perceived enemies at Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast. They include members of Congress, people on his staff, FBI agents, and even the state of New York. Senate Republicans hoping for a more subdued Trump were wrong. Others knew better. One remains hopeful.

Connecticut house chamber
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

Labor advocates want to make sure hourly service workers in Connecticut have hours and wages they can depend on.

JJBers / CreativeCommons.org

Anyone who’s spent time outdoors in Connecticut has probably come across a dam or two. The state is home to more than 4,000 dams, a dozen of which were spotlighted in a recent national dam safety investigation by The Associated Press.

This hour, we take an in-depth look at this investigation. What do its findings tell us about the integrity of the nation’s dam infrastructure? And how are states like Connecticut working to address dam safety? 

The Senate has voted, 51 to 49, not to subpoena witnesses or documents in its impeachment trial of President Trump. Closing arguments are expected on Monday, and a verdict could come next Wednesday afternoon.

This week, Colin and The Gist's Mike Pesca puzzle over the Republican strategy and Alan Dershowitz. He's the Trump attorney who argued that the president could engage in a quid pro quo that benefited him personally as long as he believes his reelection is in the public interest. Dershowitz believes the media misunderstood his argument. These are his words.

And New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik gets into the impeachment as television. He's not entirely sure democracy will be renewed for another season.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

State officials are pursuing a new way to hold accountable landlords who endanger residents with unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, starting with the former owner of the Clay Arsenal Renaissance Apartments in the North End of Hartford. 

Chief Justice John Roberts scolded House managers and the President's counsel early Wednesday for using language beneath the dignity of the world's "greatest deliberative body." This, after Senator Susan Collins complained about "unsettling comments" she felt went against Senate rules of decorum.

Speaking of decorum, senators played with fidget spinners and did crossword puzzles while House managers made their case for impeachment. Enough of this pettifoggery!

Advocates Push To Curtail Solitary Confinement In Connecticut Prisons

Jan 23, 2020
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s been 20 years, and James Tillman still hasn’t forgotten what it felt like the first time he trudged down the narrow, gray hallways into the bowels of Northern Correctional Institution.

“It was like walking into the circle of hell,” said the wrongfully convicted inmate-turned-activist. “The conditions are so terrible – worse than any animals could be subject to.”

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If your smartphone screen cracks, do you get it fixed or trade it in for the latest model? Repairing items can be less wasteful, but there are also growing legal challenges for people whose business is to repair technology from smartphones to tractors.

Connecticut Public

Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey argue that President Trump has changed the function of the presidency from one of public service to one that serves his personal interests.

The President was impeached for withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for a political investigation into his political rival and obstructing the House investigation into his behavior.

The President will likely be acquitted in the Senate. It may be up to voters in November to decide whether to ratify or reject Trump's vision of the presidency.

President Trump fretted this week that White House lawyer Pat Cippolone and personal lawyer Jay Sekulow lacked experience on television. So he added a few TV-ready lawyers to the mix, each with scripted roles to play.

This week, Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey argue that President Trump has changed the presidency from one of public service to one that serves his personal interests. Will we ratify his vision or reject it? It may be up to voters to decide.

Also this hour: Slate's Stephen Metcalf thinks Trump is a hostage to 1979. Why else would he be obsessed with U.S. embassies and Jimmy Carter?

And singer/songwriter Lara Herscovitch proves music is the antidote to our troubled times.

This hour, we air an updated version of the most recent episode of our weekly impeachment show, Pardon Me, which normally airs Saturdays at noon.

Law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that President Trump's order to kill Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a far graver offense than his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. Think about it: He's bragging about his decision to kill a high-ranking official of another country. Will Chief Justice John Roberts save us?

And that's the positive view on the show this week.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The attorney for a Hartford woman recently released from immigration detention says she’s received notice that federal homeland security officials intend to appeal a recent decision in her client’s favor. 

Law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that President Trump's order to kill Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a far graver offense than his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. Think about it: He's bragging about his decision to kill a high-ranking official of another country. Will Chief Justice John Roberts save us?

And that's the positive view on our show this week.

Sarah Kendzior studies autocratic governments. She thinks we'd be foolish to believe there are limits to what the Trump administration would do -- whether jailing witnesses and whistleblowers, threatening protesters, or using nuclear weapons.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A lawsuit by families of victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has the potential to significantly change what the world knows about how the gun industry thinks and operates. After years of delays, the lawsuit is moving forward, which may force the gun industry to make public what it considers private.

Last month, we launched a whole other show. It's a weekly show airing on Saturdays at noon and hitting your podcast feeds on Fridays most weeks hopefully. It's called Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?). It's about all the latest trends and tech in the world of industrial welding. Wait, no. That's not right. It's about the impeachment, silly.

Professor Michael Gerhardt argues that the impeachment process is legitimate, despite efforts by President Trump and his defenders to deny it. It is the president's conduct that is not normal.

Gerhardt was one of four law professors summoned by the House Judiciary Committee in December, to share their legal expertise on whether President Trump's conduct met the legal threshold for impeachment. Three out of four of them believe it did.

Also this hour: State Department witness George Kent's bow tie and Rep. Jim Jordan's jacket have their own Twitter accounts. Nancy Pelosi's dagger-like gold pin turned heads on the day she opened up House debate on the president's impeachment. We talk about the fashion semiotics of impeachment.

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More than two dozen new state laws go into effect on Jan. 1, ranging from expanded health insurance coverage and paid leave to changes in court, property and DMV rules.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

At sixteen years of age, Reginald Dwayne Betts went to prison for carjacking. Decades later, Betts is a celebrated poet and graduate of Yale Law School. But, like many ex-offenders, the consequences of those teenage mistakes have followed him for years.

There's a good chance that President Trump knows that the stain of impeachment will be part of his legacy. And as damning details about the president's behavior trickle out, we're realizing how much we still don't know. This may explain why impeachment may be more popular than we realize.

There's actually some question whether President Trump has officially been impeached, it turns out.

In any case, on Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two Articles of Impeachment charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of congress.

On our third full episode, we talk to the founder of Politico about the huge difference a tiny bit of self-control would make to the Trump presidency and a Yale historian about what those crazy founders were thinking when they put impeachment in the Constitution in the first place.

Plus: Our first AccuFrankie report from the Target parking lot in New Britain, Conn., and a song performed live in our studios by Nekita Waller, "Big Al" Anderson, Jim Chapdelaine, and The Shinolas.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The state has closed four investigations into the use of deadly force by a police officer, and in each case, prosecutors said the use of force was justified.

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