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WWL: A Nation of Criminals?
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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"Show me the man and I'll find you the crime."  Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin's head of secret policy


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49:00 minutes (23.53 MB)
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*This episode originally aired on December 7, 2009.

The average American wakes up each day, goes to work, comes home, and goes to bed—with no idea that he or she may have committed a federal crime or two over the course of the day.

That's the argument of attorney Harvey Silverglate, whose new book Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent makes the case that federal laws are so wide-reaching and vague that most of us violate them all the time without ever intending to or even realizing it. Silverglate says he knows plenty of real criminals but that a troubling pattern of prosecutorial overreach has taken shape since the 1980s-- and it amounts to a kind of vicitimization-by-law, that puts our democracy at risk.

It isn't just this one book or this one author ringing the alarm bell though. In fact, just when it seemed like liberals and conservatives might never agree on anything again--scholars and politicians from all over the political spectrum have united against a common cause: big government as applied to criminal justice.

Today, Where We Live, we'll talk with Silverglate about his book--and about some of the seemingly every day activities that are actually illegal, and why it matters.

Join the conversation!  Leave your questions and comments below!

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