Monday, August 8, 2011

Patt Morrison for Monday, August 9, 2011


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1-3 p.m.



1:06 –1:39 OPEN


1:41:30 – 1:58:30

New E-verify bill digs up old questions: Should farmers be required to only hire documented workers?

In an effort to crack down on undocumented immigrants, Congress is debating the Legal Workforce Act, a bill that would require farm workers to use the federal E-Verify database to confirm an employee's legal status. The bill, introduced this summer by Rep. Lamar Smith, (R-Texas), has gained support from conservatives who say illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans. Not so, says the American Farm Bureau. Even with one of the highest unemployment rates in our history, they contend that farmers can't find enough documented workers willing to pick crops. They point to Georgia, which sent convicted criminals to work the fields after an anti-illegal immigrant law emptied the fields and orchards of its workers. The convicts refused to come back because the job was too hard and now the state’s farming is in jeopardy. Opponents of the law argue that using E-Verify would make it difficult, if not impossible, to farm and they want the bill to let them bring foreign guest workers into the U.S. Such a program would require employers to advertise the available jobs to legal residents and prove that no one here will take them. Employers also must pay the guest workers a government-regulated wage and provide free housing and transportation. Is that a fair compromise? And is it a myth that California’s agriculture can’t stay in business without illegal workers?



Rep. Dan Lungren, (R-Gold River), member of the House Judiciary Committee and co-sponsor of the Legal Workforce Act; he is drafting an amendment to the bill that would allow farmers to hire foreign guest workers


Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies



Paul Schlegel, legal analyst with the Farm Bureau



2:06 – 2:30

Dude, where’s my car? Unpaid parking tickets gets your car towed in L.A., but how do you get it back with no cash?  

Parking tickets--just thinking about them can make almost anyone’s head (and wallet) hurt. Gone are the good old days when a quarter bought you an hour and if you didn’t make it back in time, the total amount of your fine had a two in front of it—as in 20 bucks, give or take.  Now a quarter gets you about 15 minutes and the fine can amount to half a weeks worth of groceries (for some), give or take a few bucks. Wouldn’t it be great if we were penalized based on how many minutes late we were getting back to the meter (2 minutes costs you 2 percent of the total fine)? But alas, no such luck for the tardy.  So most people shell out the bucks and try to be more cautious in the future.  However, some drivers simply can’t afford to pay and for one reason or another they get ticket #2 and then ticket #3 and when they get ticket #5, the city loses patience.  Enter tow trucks and impound lots. Yep, gone are the days of the orange “boot” that a driver with five or more unpaid parking tickets might find on his wheel.  Now the entire car is gone with a hefty towing fee, a daily storage fee and a $115 fee from the city thrown in for good measure.  Some of these folks are scofflaws who ignored their tickets and have to pay the price, but others are unemployed or poor and simply can’t afford to pay.  Ultimately, if the tickets aren’t paid, the car is sold at auction.  So how many cars are being towed each month (and was yours one of them?) and how much money is the city making from this policy? How do you get your car back if you’ve got no cash? What do you think, is this a legitimate way for the city to make money or does it go too far?



Ari Bloomekatz, reporter, Los Angeles Times

Ginger Rutland, associate editor at the Sacramento Bee; author of the Feb. 25th Bee editorial, “How can state justify traffic fine shakedown?”



DOT representative


2:30 – 2:39 OPEN


2:41:30 – 2:58:30

Therapy dogs in courtrooms: Rosie the golden retriever scratches the surface of debate

Rosie, the golden retriever therapy dog named after civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, has an uncanny ability to comfort children in distress. For this reason, she was chosen to accompany a 15-year-old girl who needed to testify in court that her father had raped and impregnated her. While the girl was in the witness box, the dog sat at her feet and nudged her when she stumbled or came to a particularly difficult part in her testimony. The jury’s verdict: 25 years to life for the girl’s father. What has since followed is a fight over whether the dog—and animals in future cases—should be allowed into the courtroom. The father’s public defenders have raised several objections, arguing that the cuteness of a dog could sway jurors to sympathize with the witness and that the dogs are trained to comfort people under stress—but that the stress could be coming from telling a true, traumatic account or from lying under oath, or  just from the trial altogether. Prosecuting lawyers counter the argument by saying that without the support of a dog, traumatized children might not be able to take to the stand at all. Does the presence of a comforting dog help a witness tell the truth or simply make the process less scary? Is a dog-free courtroom unfair to a child who’s been through so much or is having a dog present unfair to a defendant facing a sentence that could mean the end of his or her life?




Ellen O’Neill-Stephens, a senior deputy prosecuting attorney and the founder of Courthouse Dogs,



David Martin or Steven Levine, public defenders, Dutchess County, New York




James Cohen, professor of criminal law at Fordham University School of Law





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