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Published October 01, 2020
Students in the Defender Aid Clinic at the UW College of Law have launched a new podcast, “Justice Talks in Wyoming.” The mission of the podcast is to educate the public about serious issues within the United States criminal justice system, in the hopes of influencing positive change.
As one of the only entities on campus that routinely works in the trenches of the criminal justice system, the Defender Aid Clinic is uniquely positioned between the worlds of academia and practice to share its experience, research, passion, knowledge, and interest. It has, therefore, seized the opportunity to use its platform to facilitate a discussion on issues that permeate the criminal justice system.
“Our goal is to critically analyze and scrutinize the law,” says Andrew Sickenberger, student director of the Defender Aid Clinic. “Systemic racial biases and racial stereotypes pervade all levels of law enforcement at all levels of government. Police brutality, and the deaths of innocent African Americans is only one facet of the complex racial disparities existing within the current system. Overall, we want to explore the law’s role in this system, and how it helps perpetuate inequality, injustice, and poverty.”
For the inaugural episode of the podcast, third-year law student Nathan Yanchek chats with Faculty Director of the Defender Aid Clinic Lauren McLane.
In their discussion, they explore concepts of racism, including implicit, unconscious bias and how that translates to the legal system as well as how minorities are expressly impacted by the criminal justice system. They even encourage listeners to participate in a study administered by Harvard University on implicit bias. The test can be taken here.
In addition to theoretical and social identity models, they delve into legal rights such as the 14th Amendment, and how those systems have aged over time within the context of racial disparities and notions of equal protection under the law. They further examine specific cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court that have been frequently cited as major precedents that have disproportionally impacted minorities.
The hope and intent of the podcast is that by listening to different views, a dialogue can be started to effectuating actual, positive change within the legal system.
In addition to the content of the actual interviews, the podcast provides further discussion and supplementary material, including show notes, citation references to cases discussed, reading lists, and authors.
Professor McLane explains that the podcast is designed to encourage open and honest discourse on complex and, perhaps, contentious subjects.
“Far too often, we choose to shy away from what we as a society believe to be contentious issues, but then nothing changes, no one grows, and injustices continue,” she says. “Students from all walks of life and political backgrounds in the Defender Aid Clinic are excited about this project. Creating a forum for civil discourse on important legal and social issues is something that the students and I unequivocally believe in.”
The podcast will utilize the diversity of the Defender Aid Clinic students to host different episodes and will interview a wide variety of speakers and guests. The podcast aims to release new episodes every two weeks.
“Justice Talks in Wyoming” will be available to listeners on all major podcast media, including Spotify, Stitcher, and Apple.
The Defender Aid Clinic hopes you will listen in, be encouraged, stay informed, keep the conversations going, and take action when necessary.
Disclaimer: It is the policy of UW College of Law to promote an environment of open discourse that welcomes all views. College of Law Students, Student Organizations, Faculty and Staff are free to express opinions publicly and privately. The expression of a diverse range of views is welcome and encouraged, as long as it does not disrupt the regular and essential operations of the College of Law or UW. Use of College of Law facilities, advertising through College of Law channels, or College of Law sponsorship does not imply approval or endorsement of any views expressed. The views and opinions shared within the context of this podcast are of those administrating and participating in the podcast alone and do not represent those of the College of Law or University of Wyoming. No information provided on this podcast should be construed as legal advice.