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Segment 1: Government agencies suing pharmaceutical companies look to legal lessons learned from previous settlement against Big Tobacco.

A class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies in the late 1990s netted hundreds of billions of dollars, compensating states for costs associated with treating tobacco-related illness. Now, a comparable strategy could help defray the money cities, counties, and states are shelling out to deal with the opioid crisis. Today, an attorney involved in both cases explained the differences and similarities involved in each.

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

Attorneys alleging their meetings and phone calls with clients at the Leavenworth Detention Center were unlawfully recorded can move forward with a class-action lawsuit, a federal judge ruled last week.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough found that a class action was the best way to proceed because “(i)t would be judicially uneconomical for the Court to entertain hundreds if not thousands of individualized claims” over the same issue.

Jeanette Jones wearing headphones and seated at a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: American Public Square panelists agree on securing firearms in the home and little else during conversation on ways to prevent children dying from gun violence. 

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Segment 1: Proposed ordinance looks to reduce theft associated with scrap metal recycling.

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In 2015, a woman donned a clown mask and slipped into a Dollar General Store in Wichita just before closing time.

In the final moments of the robbery that eventually got her three years in prison, she did something that could complicate her life for many more years to come.

She flashed a stun gun, stuffed the $3,400 in her coveralls and fled.

Man in dirty jeans, a t-shirt and ball cap walking along a concrete median holding a cardboard sign out to cars along the road.
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Segment 1: A proposed ordinance would limit the amount of time pedestrians could spend in crosswalks and traffic islands.

Segment 1: What is it really like to be a woman in law enforcement?

On this episode, we speak with women from local police departments to hear their perspectives on serving in law enforcement.

  • Sgt. Heather Massey, Liberty Police Department
  • Sgt. Melanie Madonia, Kansas City Police Department
  • Maj. Dawn Layman, Lenexa Police Department

Segment 2, beginning at 37:37: Racial tensions in Westport.

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Segment 1: Proposed work requirements for some public food assistance is ruffling feathers.

While senators and House members in Washington struggle to find the compromises that could turn this year's version of the farm bill into law, millions of stakeholders await a solution. Today, we got an update from Harvest Public Media on how the negotiations, and their eventual outcomes, could affect city- and country-dwellers across the Midwest.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Tenants suffering domestic violence will be able to break their rental agreements without penalty.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Of the 38,000 people in Missouri who wound up in immigration court since 2002, 55 percent did not have lawyers. Kansas saw less than half that number of people in immigration court, but similarly, just over half of those immigrants went without lawyers.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: From 2001 to 2013, more than 1,300 phone calls to attorneys from prisoners at a Leavenworth detention facility were improperly recorded.

Considered a bedrock of the American justice system, KCUR reporting has uncovered what appears to be repeated attorney-client privilege violations at a privately-run detention facility in Leavenworth, Kansas. Today, we discussed the ongoing investigation into the improperly recorded phone calls, some of which were shared with federal prosecutors, and considered the implications of the alleged breaches.

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More than 1,300 phone calls between public defenders and inmates awaiting trial at the Leavenworth detention facility were improperly recorded over a two-year period, according to newly disclosed information in a civil lawsuit.

Bill Shapiro sits in a chair, surrounded by CDs, books, and audio equipment.
Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Understanding who's who in the upcoming trial of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens will stand trial on Monday for a felony charge of invasion of privacy. In the courtroom overseen by Judge Rex Burlison will be more than just prosecutor Kim Gardner and defense lawyer Edward Dowd.  Each will lead a team of powerhouse attorneys so there are a lot of names in the lineup. To help us make sense of them all, we ran down the rosters with two reporters familiar with the players involved.  

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In light of newly passed legislation impacting gun laws and school funding, many college students in Kansas and Missouri may not feel like lawmakers are hearing their concerns. 

Two student lobbyists are hoping to change that.

Claire Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why global warming may be our military’s biggest threat.

While climate change may harm food production and lead to more intense wildfires, it also poses a hazard to our military. How can our armed forces respond? Today, we asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, who was director of the Marine Corps War College, to shed light on how our nation's military leadership is changing its approach to environmental issues.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Criminal charges in Schlitterbahn death come amid push for tighter regulations on Kansas amusement parks.

Last week, three Schlitterbahn employees were indicted on criminal charges related to a boy's death in 2016 at the Kansas City, Kansas, water park. Today, we discussed the merits of cases, and found out how state law is evolving in response to the incident.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: With an international shipping center up and running, the Edgerton mayor's job has gotten a lot more demanding.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Overland Park police uncover hoax call in time, Kansas lawmaker sponsors anti-swatting legislation.

Two dramatic 'swatting' calls have occurred in separate Kansas communities. In Overland Park, police responded to one such hoax in January, and in Wichita, a man was shot and killed by police who received a 'spoofed' call just before the New Year. Today, we learn what 'swatting' is, how law enforcement is reacting and what legislators are doing to crack down.

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A recent high-profile deportation case in Lawrence has spurred local discussions about immigration law. Today, attorney Jonathan Willmoth explains why many immigrants to America overstay their visas, and what options those individuals have.

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It may seem like obtaining photo identification is an easy thing, but a lot of obstacles can stand in the way. Today, we discuss how getting a photo ID can be a high hurdle for a lot of folks, and how not having one can hold people back in ways big and small. Then, a major change to adoption law in Missouri just took effect.

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In a rare move, a federal judge has thrown out a defendant’s conviction on drug charges after ruling that the prosecutor had interfered with his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

In a blistering decision handed down Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found that the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead, had “substantially interfered with a defense witness’s decision to testify” in the case.

STATE OF KANSAS OFFICIAL PORTRAIT

This story was updated at 5:12 p.m. to include the comments of Kline's attorney.   

Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline’s bid to restore his law license appears to have come to the end of its long and winding road.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear his challenge to the Kansas Supreme Court’s indefinite suspension of his license four years ago.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas is the top federal prosecutor in the state, overseeing 50 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and 50 support staff based in offices in Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas.

As one of 93 U.S. Department of Justice outposts nationwide, it often works with local law enforcement officials on drug cases and other major state and federal crimes.

The office has a rich history. One former U.S. Attorney, Cyrus Schofield, left in the 1870s under a legal cloud that entailed taking bribes from railroads.

Kelsey Borch / Flatland

Two recent cases involving prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City, Kansas, point to a problem that some criminal defense lawyers say has been building for a long time:

For years, they say, a small group of federal prosecutors in KCK has run roughshod over the rights of criminal defendants.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

John Grisham's career has taken him from attorney, to Mississippi state representative, to best-selling author. Today, we speak with the acclaimed writer about his latest legal thriller, The Rooster Bar, which explores the underbelly tactics of for-profit law schools.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After spending 23 years incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit, Lamonte McIntyre has spent the last week getting used to being a free man. Today, we ask McIntyre, his mother Rosie McIntyre, and one of his attorneys, Cheryl Pilate, about the crime he was wrongly convicted of, the court fight that finally liberated him, and how he moved through the anger and frustration he initially developed behind bars.

Platte County

In a rare complaint against an elected prosecutor, the Missouri agency responsible for investigating allegations of lawyer wrongdoing has recommended that Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd be punished for professional misconduct.

The matter now goes before a disciplinary hearing panel – two lawyers and one non-lawyer – which will hear evidence and recommend what discipline, if any, to impose.

The Missouri Supreme Court is authorized to review the panel’s decision and impose punishment ranging from a public reprimand and suspension to disbarment.

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Adam Foss, a former assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Mass., says today's justice system is the same as the one created hundreds of years ago, and it's failing a lot of people. Today, a conversation on how prosecutors can help fix the criminal justice system. Then, we get caught up on the state of organized labor in Missouri and the status of the

If you're charged with a crime and can't afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Because in our judicial system, we're supposed to be presumed innocent. But in Missouri, critics say the state's public defender system isn't doing it's job. One Kansas City man believes that system's failures lead to his life sentence. So what's going on in Missouri?

Guests:

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The U.S. Open Golf Championship is underway this week in Wisconsin. A Lenexa man has a special connection to this golf major. But he’s not playing on the course.

He helped design it, and Ron Whitten took an unusual route to becoming a golf course architect.

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