law | Connecticut Public Radio


Can Human Genes Be Patented?

Feb 22, 2012

Doctors, researchers, and patent lawyers are waiting to see whether the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case about patenting a human gene. As WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, a Yale Cancer Center employee is among the plaintiffs.

C-HIT: Is Myriad's Patent on Breast Cancer Genes Valid?

Feb 17, 2012

As Myriad Genetic Laboratories nears its one millionth predictive genetic test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, the cost of the test has more than doubled, and the company’s 15-year patent monopoly is being challenged by critics who contend it is stymieing other potentially life-saving screening.



And now to lawmaking at the state level. In Connecticut, residents will have to do some advance planning for their Super Bowl parties. The state is one of only two that still bans the sale of all alcohol at stores on Sundays. But Jeff Cohen of member station WNPR reports, that could change.

Flickr Creative Commons, Mike Licht,

The lead story in today's New York Times is the second donation, by one married couple, to a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich. Miriam Adelson gave $5 million. Her husband Sheldon had already given he same amount.

Former lacrosse coach alleges gender discrimination

Jan 13, 2012

Another gender discrimination lawsuit has been filed in Connecticut, the latest in what seems like a string of such cases in the state in recent history. But as WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, rather than suing a university, the plaintiff is seeking damages against a youth sports league.

Dr. Claudia Harris was a head coach at the New Canaan Lacrosse Association for years, and her daughter still plays in the league. She felt like the league was unfairly providing more resources to boys’ lacrosse and not enough for girls.

Flickr Creative Commons, carlumare

On the Internet, gossip lives forever.

On Tuesday, the State Supreme Court will hear an appeal by an inmate who is challenging the Department of Correction for force feeding him during his hunger strike.

As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, William Coleman believes the force feedings violate his rights to free speech and to refuse medical treatment.

Flickr Creative Commons, EAWB

Lawn signs stir the blood during election season, and when you think about it, it's understandable.

There aren't that many measurable forms of political activity before an election. But two campaigns can compete about who can get the most signage up.

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

It's been two weeks since the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and its effect on other military policies is starting to trickle out. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil has more

One change after the repeal is that military chaplains now have permission to perform same sex marriages and civil unions on or off a military installation.

But Major General Gary Patton, who led the repeal implementation for the Department of Defense, says there are certain requirements chaplains must follow.

Chion Wolf

Every ten years, a bipartisan committee made up of members of Connecticut's General Assembly go through the tedious process of redrawing legislative and congressional maps. Often the Reapportionment committee's work breaks down into partisan politics. Earlier this week, the Reapportionment committee wrote a letter to Governor Dannel Malloy acknowledging that they will miss their September 15th deadline, which is today. Joining us by phone is House Minority leader and co-chair of the Reapportionment committee Lawrence Cafero.


In the wake of the failed labor concessions agreement between Governor Dannel Malloy and state labor unions, state agencies are feeling the crunch. The Office of the Chief public defender has to cut about 7.5 percent of their overall budget, which some believe will hinder the states poorest from getting proper legal counsel, and will make it difficult for public defenders to honor their constitutional obligations.

We are joined by Mike Lawlor, undersecretary for criminal justice planning.

Residents Appeal Wind Project In Colebrook

Jul 21, 2011
Chion Wolf

A group of Connecticut residents is appealing a decision by the state’s Siting Council to approve the construction of three large wind turbines in the town of Colebrook. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports

U.S.federal statistics show that 16 to 20-year-olds are more likely to be arrested than involved in car accidents. A Connecticut-based company has created a new smartphone application that provides fast legal advice to people who find themselves in legal emergencies.

The moment when someone has been or is just about to be arrested, is critical, says Chris Miles, a former AIG employee who used to work in insurance and risk management.  "Not only is it time-sensitive, its also a interaction where mistakes matter. You really can’t make an error."

Flickr Creative Commons, yamrock83

Thirty-four states use the death penalty. Sixteen do not. Connecticut does, but most of its neighboring states -- New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine and Vermont -- do not. New Hampshire does, but the state has had no executions since 1939 and currently possesses no means of executing anyone. Only recently did the ranks of its death row swell to one.

Flickr Creative Commons, yamrock83

Thirty-four states use the death penalty. Sixteen do not. Connecticut does, but most of its neighboring states -- New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine and Vermont -- do not. New Hampshire does, but the state has had no executions since 1939 and currently possesses no means of executing anyone. Only recently did the ranks of its death row swell to one.

Paid Sick Days Make Their Way Toward Law

May 26, 2011
Thomathon photo via Flickr Creative Commons

With strong support from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the Senate voted 18 to 17 Wednesday to pass the nation's first state mandate on private employers to offer paid sick days. It now goes to the House, where passage is expected. The bill, which passed with only one Republican vote, has a limited reach, applying to dozens of specific types of service workers at companies with more than 50 employees. Sponsors say it will affect 300,000 workers.

William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota

Of the four cardinal virtues, why is lady justice the only one who has a statue in courthouses around the world?

Yeah, in case you didn’t remember - those other virtues, Temperence, Prudence and Fortitude all seemingly have some role to play in our systems of law and governance.   But its Justice that’s become the icon of democracy.

Democrat Governor Brings Bills Closer to Passing

May 17, 2011
CT House Democrats

After years of failed lobbying, some legislation in the state may be creeping closer to the governor's desk now because a Democrat sits there. Bills on the death penalty and paid sick leave all have a better chance of passing this year.

Bruce Morris, D-Norwalk, is a state representative and also a reverend. And he admits he doesn't always see eye to eye with his fellow faith leaders on theological issues.

Lawmakers Fight To Keep Death Penalty

May 17, 2011
CT House Democrats

As a potential repeal of the death penalty looms in Connecticut, opposing lawmakers are drafting legislation that would change the appeals process.

Representative Steve Mikutel is a Democrat from Griswold who supports the death penalty. He says voters shouldn't worry about executing innocent people in Connecticut.

Bottle Bills Face Challenges

Mar 14, 2011
Josie Huang

Bottle deposit laws are facing challenges in two Northeast states. These laws require consumers to pay a deposit on a beverage bottle or can. The idea is to motivate people to return their empties, keeping the containers out of landfills and reducing litter.

But members of the beverage industry say the laws are costly, especially for them. And now they're backing efforts to weaken laws that have been in place for decades.  As part of a collaboration with Northeast stations Josie Huang of Maine Public Radio reports.

600 Attend Yale's “Rebellious Lawyering Conference”

Feb 25, 2011

Students, lawyers and activists from across the country gathered at Yale University in New Haven recently for a conference on creative ways to fight for social change. As WNPR's Lauren Takores reports, one panel looked at the link between criminal justice and Native American tribal law.

Flickr Creative Commons, Sam Howzit

Until recently, I didn't understand the degree to which Connecticut jury selection process -- called the voir dire -- differs from those of other states.

Gun Control

Feb 22, 2011
westside shooter / Creative Commons

It’s been a little more than a month since the shooting of a congresswoman made the nation stop and really think about how it talks about guns.  Well, that didn’t last long.

Here’s a case in point:  When New Haven Mayor John DeStefano announced that he's laying off some city employees, including police, it prompted protests by officers. 

The 2000 election illustrated the weirdness of our presidential voting system in several different dimensions. 

Nathan & Jenny / Creative Commons

Hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid have new rules to follow concerning patient rights. Earlier this month, the federal Department of Health and Human Services implemented the new federal regulations that were first proposed by President Obama in 2010.

Federal regulators have rejected a new inhaled insulin treatment from drug maker MannKind. The diabetes treatment was due to have been manufactured in Danbury. 

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