Young Michael Crowe's admission in the murder of his sister, extracted by police after 3 days of interrogation. That was one kind of criminal confession - one of the millions made each year.


And although no one claims all those confessions are coerced, should we believe they're all voluntary - all true?


Following up on our recent probes of guilty pleas by defendants who can't make bail, or who agree to plea deals rather than take a chance at trial, this Due Process looks at the history of confessions in criminal law with the help of a national expert in the field.


Law Prof. George Thomas is the author of Confessions of Guilt: From Torture to Miranda and Beyond - and our only guest on this important edition of Due Process.

$$=Freedom: Bail

On any given day, there are 15,000 people in New Jersey's county jails - and a shocking 75% of them have not been convicted of anything. In fact, most of those unsentenced inmates - 4 out of 10 - are locked up only because they can't make bail ... sometimes as little as a few hundred dollars!

On this edition of Due Process, an in-depth look at the pivotal role of money in the pretrial system of justice. If you've got it, you can almost invariably await your day in court in the comfort of your community. If not, chances are you'll wait in county lock-ups - for months or even years.


An eye-opening mini-doc features the first-hand stories of two indigent defendants jailed for long pretrial stretches and only freed - for time served - after agreeing to plead guilty. In the studio, NJ Public Defender Joseph Krakora and Bergen Prosecutor John Molinelli debate the possibility of bail reform. 

Pot in Black & White

Marijuana.  Blacks and whites smoke it, studies show, in roughly equal numbers.  Then why are African Americans nearly four times more likely to be busted?


Is it racism? Police targeting? Conspiracy? And does the answer to such glaring discrepancy lie not in raising the number of white arrests, but in legalizing pot for everyone?  It's already been done in Colorado and Washington State.


A new ACLU national study raises disturbing questions about race, marijuana - and justice.  And it's the impetus for this edition of Due Process.  Our studio guests are ACLU-NJ Executive Director Udi Ofer, former Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi and Criminal Defense Attorney Alan Bowman.

Good Samaritan

The argument is that in an overdose crisis, fear of police and prosecution often keeps even good friends from getting help.

So the drug deaths continue to add up.  More than 700 each year in New Jersey alone. Some practitioners, even legislators from both sides of the aisle, say there's one simple way to get help when it's needed. Remove the fear of arrest!

On this edition of Due Process: the "Good Samaritan" bill: a way of encouraging friends, fellow users, even dealers, to call for life-saving help by shielding them from prosecution. A small price to pay, say supporters.  But the bill's been put in legislative limbo by conditional veto of the Governor.

From an opening mini doc, featuring a Middlesex County mother, whose son died from an overdose in a Rutgers dorm when his friends failed to immediately call for help, to a contentious debate in-studio, we explore both sides of a sensitive subject.

Studio guests: Bill Sponsor Sen. Joseph Vitale, Bill Opponent Assemblyman  Erik Peterson and, from the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Kevin Meara.

Ban The Box

You apply for a job, fill out an application and get to the critical question: "Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.” Most of us can simply say "no" and move on. But one in four Americans have to check that box. And, chances are, that's the end of that job.

It's a harsh reality that's triggered a movement to "ban the box" and erase that first barrier to employment. The fledgling bill is titled "The Opportunity to Compete Act." Reentry advocates say it's critical to slowing the revolving door of recidivism.

The opening field piece features bill sponsors Sen. Sandra Cunningham and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, corporate leader Al Koeppe and two ex-offenders, who say their prison past blocks their way to a job.

In the studio with both sides of the issue: Cornell Brooks of the NJ Institute for Social Justice, Integrity House Founder Dave Kerr and Eric Degesero of the NJ Fuel Merchants and the NJ Independent Electrical Contractors.

McGreevey Redux

He says he's proof that there can be second chances, that even a disgraced governor can find a new, more authentic life - marked by faith and service.

On this edition of Due Process, a candid conversation with Jim McGreevey, no longer a politician - now a candidate for the Episcopal priesthood and a counselor to women in jail, now at peace  with his own sexuality 

A new HBO documentary, "Fall to Grace," gives a glimpse of that new life.  But our talk with the former governor goes several steps further, probing the disconnect between McGreevey then and McGreevey now, not just in his personal life, but in his commitment to social justice.

It's a substantive interview we know you'll want to see.


150 years ago, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Two years later, he would see the Emancipation Proclamation through. But how did Abraham Lincoln really feel about African-Americans and slavery? Was the Lincoln who first ran for President, the same Lincoln who was killed in office? And how did an apparent racist become the Great Emancipator?

On this edition of Due Process, we turn to two nationally-recognized experts for answers: Rutgers Distinguished History Professor Clement Price, Director of the University's Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience, and Columbia University Historian Eric Foner, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "The Fiery Trial: Lincoln and Slavery."

In a wide-ranging conversation with Sandra King and Raymond Brown, Professors Price and Foner explore Lincoln's racism, his pragmatism and his unique ability for growth.

Supreme Court Update 2013

Gay marriage, voting rights ... even the right to remain silent before arrest. Just some of what's at stake in this year's session of The U.S. Supreme Court.

On this week's edition of Due Process, we get the inside story on the cases - and their consequences - with ACLU National Legal Director Steve Shapiro.

It's an important Due Process that you won't want to miss!

After Newtown

Gun rights ... gun regulation. Always hot button issues, but never more than right now. The President's fighting for new gun controls ... The Governor's named a task force ... And there's hardly a day that it's not front page news.

Gun control forces see their best chance yet for new ways of combatting gun violence. Gun advocates, too, are seizing the day, decrying incursion on their right to bear arms. Passionate voices raised on both sides, galvanized by an unthinkable massacre - and the focus of this week's Due Process.

Our post-Newtown mini doc traces the issue from the White House to the State House. The debate then moves into the studio, where we're joined by Ceasefire New Jersey's Nicola Bocour, Gun Rights Lawyer Frank Pisano and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union).

A major national debate, with a New Jersey angle, on this edition of Due Process.

The DC Sniper: 10 Years Later

A hate-filled Gulf War vet and his 17 year old protégé. They terrorized the Washington Beltway for three bloody weeks, killing 10 strangers, seemingly at random, irrespective of age or race or gender.
The younger of the DC snipers is now a 27 year old lifer - a prisoner, held in solitary, with no chance of parole - his mentor executed; their victims now 10 years dead.
But, a decade later, the questions remain of how and why.
On this week's edition of Due Process, some answers in Lee Boyd Malvo's own recorded words - and in a startling new book by a forensic social worker who was part of his defense, and a clinical psychologist, who has studied the case. Their claim: that an abandoned and abused Malvo - brainwashed by the manipulative John
Muhammad - was himself a psychological, physical and sexual victim.
We revisit the chilling story of the DC snipers with Carmeta Albarus and Dr. Jonathan Mack.
We hope you'll join us.
Sandy and Raymond

Let's Make a Deal: The Plea Bargain

You're charged with a crime and have the right to face your accusers at trial, to be judged by a jury of your peers. Then why do fewer than 3% of defendants ever get that far?


On this edition of Due Process, we explore the phenomenon of the plea deal, beginning with a look inside Judge Martin Cronin's Essex County courtroom, where, two days a week, one guilty plea after another is entered in return for a reduced sentence. Is it fear? Is it coercion? Why do so few choose to take their chance at trial? And could some of them be innocent?


In the opening field piece, we listen in on a plea bargain conference between the Morris County Prosecutor, Bob Bianchi and his staff, while, in Essex, we watch the plea process unfold and talk to Assignment Judge Patricia Costello.


In the studio, we get starkly opposing views on plea deals from former First Assistant Attorney General for New Jersey John Vazquez and the ACLU's Alex Shalom.


Please join us!


Sandy and Raymond

Voting In America: Could We Do it Better?

The election over. Campaign memories already faded. Inauguration Day less than 3 weeks away.

But doubts rankle still about the way we vote. Could it be more efficient, more democratic? Could more of us participate? Could we ever get rid of the Electoral College ... and should we want to?

Should we be considering weekend voting, universal early voting, e-voting, even compulsory voting? (which they have in more than 30 countries, including Belgium, Brazil and Australia!)

Those questions and more on our Due Process post-election show, featuring Sandra King in conversation with Marc Holzer, Dean of The Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration, and Thomas Gentile, a onetime campaign adviser to Rudy Giuliani and a spokesman for the Federalist Society. And if that's not enough to make you to tune in to Due Process, watch us for some biting election satire from the documentary "Electoral Dysfunction" and political humorist Mo Rocca.

The Eyewitness


The eyewitness, a staple of criminal prosecution and the base upon which many a conviction rests. But scientific studies on observation and memory - especially in times of stress - have increasingly raised doubts about eyewitness reliability and fears of faulty verdicts.


On this edition of Due Process, the dilemma of the pivotal eyewitness, whose testimony may be sincere, but mistaken, or maliciously manufactured or coerced.


Sandra King's opening mini-doc recalls 17 years of Due Process coverage of exonerated inmates, most of whom were convicted and imprisoned on the word of eyewitnesses to the crime, years later - sometimes after decades of an innocent man's incarceration - proven wrong.


With the State Supreme Court now requiring tighter rules of interrogation and judicial warnings to jurors, New Jersey continues to lead the country in efforts begun over a decade ago by then-Attorney General John Farmer, who first reformed the rules for investigative techniques like perp photo displays and lineups.

In the studio, with Raymond Brown and Sandy: former prosecutor and Newark Judge Anthony Guerino, John Jay College of Criminal Justice Prof. Dr. Steven Penrod and national capital case expert Montclair Attorney Jean Barrett.

Habeas Now


Since the start of the War on Terror, legal scholars have been asking: "What happened to Habeas Corpus"?


Even the U.S. Supreme Court has said Habeas can't be tossed aside. Yet Guantanamo remains open, while black sites and renditions are said to survive. And, some say, the protections of The Great Writ of Habeas Corpus still suffer - all in the name of national security.


Two of those legal scholars are our guests for this edition of Due Process: Seton Hall Law Professors Mark Denbeaux and Jonathan Hafetz have taken their research and their advocacy beyond the classroom. Co-editors of "The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law," both represent detainees at Guantanamo. Hafetz is also the author of "Habeas Corpus After 9/11: Confronting America's New Global Detention System," while Denbeaux's work on who's really imprisoned at Guantanamo made national headlines and caught the attention of Congress.

Medical Marijuana: No Longer a Pipe Dream

There are still some who say that the law is flawed, too restrictive, and others who insist that allowing any legal marijuana is flawed thinking.


But like it or hate it, medical marijuana is almost here. New Jersey's first authorized distribution center is expected to open within weeks, in a Montclair storefront that once housed a head shop.


On this edition of "Due Process," we look at the rationale - and the strict state rules - for legalizing the use of marijuana to ease the suffering of the critically ill.


And we look back at the life of Diane Riportella, an ALS patient for whom other drugs proved useless. It was her tearful plea to state legislators that helped win passage of the "compassionate use" bill. She died just weeks ago, before she could see the law she fought for put in practice.


In the studio, Sandra King and Raymond Brown get all sides of the still-controversial law from Senate Sponsor Nicholas Scutari, former Ocean County 1st Asst. Prosecutor Terrence Farley and Critical Care Doctor Jeffrey Miskoff.

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