Hi-Phi Nation

The Loophole

When an acquittal isn’t really an acquittal.


Episode Notes

Two men committed a double murder in rural Maine in 1990. Only one pulled the trigger. The state prosecutor decided to try them separately, but that was a mistake, and both were acquitted. Then the feds came in and sentenced one of the men to life in prison for a crime he was already acquitted of doing. How is this possible in America? The answer is a loophole in the criminal law. Today we examine that loophole by looking at the Thanksgiving Day murders in Maine and the constitutional challenges this loophole has survived over the years. Guest voices include Sharon Mack, Gerald Leonard of Boston University School of Law, Judge Frederic Block, New York state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, and Matthew Noah Smith of Northeastern University.

For all back episodes from Seasons 1 through 3 of Hi-Phi Nation, visit www.hiphination.org.

Email: hiphination@slate.com


About the Show

Hi-Phi Nation is philosophy in story form, integrating narrative journalism with big ideas. We look at stories from everyday life, law, science, popular culture, and strange corners of human experiences that raise thought-provoking questions about things like justice, knowledge, the self, morality, and existence. We then seek answers with the help of academics and philosophers. The show is produced and hosted by Barry Lam of Vassar College.

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  • Barry Lam is host and producer of Hi-Phi Nation and Professor of Philosophy at UC Riverside, and Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University.