Audio Library

You will find short audio recordings in this section of our website. We plan to have this section always under construction through the addition of new audio clips as warranted by changes in the law, policy changes, or important developments affecting our criminal justice system. While we intend to make archived materials also available to you, please understand that the information conveyed in some of the archived recordings may be out of date at the time you listen to them.

Glossip v. Gross-Supreme Court's Opinion

03/08/2016 | Duration 10:28 | Robin C. Konrad, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Capital Habeas Unit at FPD-AZ

Although the Supreme Court in its 2015 opinion in Glossip v. Gross upheld the constitutionality of execution by lethal injection, the path forward following that opinion has been anything but straight.  Robin C. Konrad, who argued the case in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the defendants, takes a few minutes to discuss the significance of that opinion and some of the long-term developments that may (or already have begun to) arise as a result of the Court’s ruling.  Ms. Konrad also discusses possible changes to the national discussion on the constitutionality of capital punishment in light of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.


Glossip v. Gross--Lethal Injection

03/07/2015 | Duration 6:37 | Dale A. Baich, Supervising Attorney, Capital Habeas Unit at FPD-AZ

In the case of Glossip v. Gross, the Supreme Court of the United States recently agreed to take up again the issue of lethal injection specifically as it relates to a three-drug protocol used in a number of the states, including Oklahoma.  Dale A. Baich, who represents the petitioners, provides an overview of this litigation, and explains how a ruling by the High Court, expected sometime in mid-2015, might change the manner in which executions are carried out in the United States.

USSG Amendment 782-Retroactive Sentencing Reduction in Drug Cases

11/14/2014 | Duration 7:47 | Jeffrey Lazarus, Assistant Federal Public Defender at FPD-OHN and Claire Curtis, Research & Writing Specialist at FPD-OHN

The United States Sentencing Commission amended the Sentencing Guidelines in 2014 whereby the offense level for federal drug-related trafficking cases is reduced retroactively by two offense levels.  That guideline law became effective on November 1, 2014.  Jeffrey Lazarus and Claire Curtis, attorneys in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Ohio, discuss the practical effect of this recent guideline amendment and its implementation in this district.

United States v. Samuel Mullet

09/26/2014 | Duration 14:56 | Edward G. Bryan, Assistant Federal Public Defender at FPD-OHN

United States v. Samuel Mullet, a case tried a couple of years ago in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and most recently argued on June 26, 2014 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, became known around the world as the so-called Amish Beard Cutting Case.  While this nomenclature may have simply described the case for media purposes, the case involves far more complicated legal concepts in reality.  Edward G. Bryan, one of the lawyers for the lead defendant, Samuel Mullet, gives an overview of the litigation up to and including the opinion the Court of Appeals issued on August 27, 2014.

Riley v. California – The Supreme Court’s Focus on Searching Smart Phones

07/23/2014 | Duration 10:03 | Prof. Ric Simmons, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court made new law regarding the warrant requirement under the Fourth Amendment for searches of the ubiquitous cell phone. Prof. Ric Simmons explains the Court’s holding, provides perspective on what the opinion may mean in the Court’s future jurisprudence, and highlights why this opinion is so important for criminal law practitioners.

The Basics of Clemency, that Ultimate Act of Mercy

07/16/2014 | Duration 7:13 | Vicki Werneke, Deputy Director, Capital Habeas Unit at FPD-OHN

Vicki Werneke, whose career is amply filled with the difficult ups and downs of capital habeas work, explains some of the basics about clemency, pardons, and reprieves.  Ms. Werneke also provides a summary of how the clemency process in Ohio works, and why that process poses challenges for practitioners representing individuals facing capital sentences.

Arguments and Continuing Litigation En Banc in United States v. Blewitt

02/03/2014 | Duration 9:00 | Frank W. Heft, Jr., Attorney at Law

Frank W. Heft, Jr., an attorney with the Western District of Kentucky Federal Community Defender, Inc., represented Cornelius Blewett and Jarreous Blewitt in United States v. Blewett, et al., which the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided en banc against the defense position on December 3, 2013.  To read the full opinion, click here.  Mr. Heft explains the various opinions issued by the judges in the case.

Developments in the Lethal Injection Litigation in the SDOH

02/03/2014 | Duration 9:14 | Allen L. Bohnert, Assistant Federal Public Defender (SDOH)

Allen L. Bohnert, an attorney in the capital habeas unit of the Office of the Federal Public Defender (SDOH), provides an overview of recent developments in the lethal injection litigation pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, including challenges made to the execution of Mr. Dennis McGuire.

US v. Blewett -- Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals En Banc Oral Argument

10/24/2013 | Duration 73:00 | Counsel for the Parties

En banc oral arguments on October 9, 2013 before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the case of United States v. Blewett, et al., Case Nos. 12-5226 and 12-5582.  The issue was whether the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 should be given complete retroactive effect.  Frank W. Heft, Jr. of the Western Kentucky Federal Community Defender, Inc. argued for the defendants; Terry M. Cushing argued for the government; and Vincent M. Southerland argued for one of the amici, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. 

Mandatory Minimum Sentences--Is it Really Mandatory Anymore?

09/13/2013 | Duration 7:25 | Cheryll Bennett, Assistant Federal Public Defender (SDOH)

Cheryll Bennett, an attorney at the Office of the Federal Public Defender (SDOH), discusses Attorney General Eric Holder's speech at the American Bar Association convention in the summer of 2013 regarding mandatory minimum sentences.