Lie Detector

Lead: Its advocates claim it can solve one of mankind’s great longings, the desire to know when a person is telling the truth, but the lie detector remains a controversial and constantly questioned tool in the fields of law enforcement, business, and national security.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The basic premise of a lie detector is that there is direct connection between physiological phenomena — heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, even perspiration — and intellectual response, specifically deception. While others had experimented in this field prior to 1917, many credit William Marston, a Harvard-trained lawyer and graduate student, as the inventor of the lie detector. He was certainly the earliest and foremost promoter of the techniques and technology of the polygraph, yet his unqualified and untempered enthusiasm and showmanship brought the so-called science of lie detection into question.

 

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Justice Sandra Day O’Connor II

Lead: While she generally sided with the conservatives on the Supreme Court, at times Sandra Day O’Connor was fully willing to depart from orthodoxy. Consider her approach to abortion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The preamble to the 1986 Missouri law declared that “the life of each human being begins at conception.” It went on to severely restrict reproductive services at public hospitals and required costly tests to determine fetal viability if the woman appeared to be 20 weeks pregnant. This seemed to violate the core principles of Roe v. Wade the 1973 Court decision denying states jurisdiction over abortion and, thus permitting abortions prior to the third trimester of pregnancy. The lower courts eviscerated the Missouri law.

 

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Justice Sandra Day O’Connor I

Lead: In 1981 President Ronald Reagan made legal history by appointing Judge Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court. The first woman justice, she soon occupied the center of the court.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: O’Connor was born in Texas in 1930 but grew up on her parent’s Arizona ranch. She was attracted to the law because of a legal dispute involving her parents’ property and graduated from Stanford Law School. As a student, she sat on the board of the Stanford Law Review, a prestigious position that, had she been a man, would probably have secured her a position in an upscale law firm. Such was not the case and she and a partner formed their own legal partnership. Active in Arizona Republican politics, she was appointed to a vacated seat in the Arizona Senate and served two additional terms, elected by her colleagues as majority leader. Appointment to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979 established her as one of the most prominent women jurists in the country. 

 

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Dorothea Dix I

Lead: She came from a life of wealth and social prominence, but Dorothea Dix devoted her life to good causes, especially helping to improve the treatment of the mentally ill.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Dorothea Dix’s early years were not happy. Her father was the estranged son of a prominent Boston family. An alcoholic who suffered religious delusions, Joseph Dix barely kept his family out of starvation. Dorothy refused to live in such conditions and eventually, at the age of twelve, fled to Boston where she lived with relatives for the next several years.

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Dorothea Dix II

Lead: A chance encounter in the East Cambridge Jail in 1841 gave Dorothea Dix a cause to pursue, a focus for her intellect and considerable energy, and a passion which would consume her for the rest of her life.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Dorothea Dix, daughter of an alcoholic itinerant minister, but granddaughter of a prominent and wealthy Boston physician, in her early years was a devout Christian. She believed her affluent, cultured upbringing and her faith placed powerful requirements on her life. She felt compelled into a life of service to those in society less fortunate, less wealthy, less healthy, less indulged than she.

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Palmer Raids II

Lead: In June 1919 the house of U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer was bombed. The bomber tripped and blew himself up along with the front part of the house.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Ironically, for a nation of immigrants the people of the United States go through frequent periods of reaction to immigration. In the wake of the Mitchell bombing, a wave of anti-immigrant fever spread across the country. Coming as it did in the years following the Russian Revolution, much of the press and many citizens believed the bombing and others like it that spring and summer were the work of left-wing radicals and communists, many of whom were Eastern European immigrants.

 

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Palmer Raids I

Lead: Just after 11:00 PM on the second of June, 1919 a bomb exploded in the entrance of the home of United States Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. The only victim was the bomber himself.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It was no isolated incident. The bomb that shattered windows all over Mitchell's fashionable Washington neighborhood, including those of his neighbor Assistant Navy Secretary, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was part of campaign of similar attacks in eight other cities that night. In April, letter bombs had been mailed to thirty-six prominent Americans. Most were intercepted but the one mailed to former Georgia Senator Thomas Hardwick made it, blew off the hands of the maid who opened it and severely wounded the Senator's wife.

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The Saga of Leo Frank III

Lead: In 1915, Georgia Governor John M. Slaton commuted the sentence of Leo Frank, a man wrongfully convicted in the brutal murder of one of his employees, young Mary Phagan. That summer a mob broke into the prison farm where Frank was being held, took him out and lynched him.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Slaton said later he would have pardoned Frank had he been asked to, but the failure to request complete exoneration was the latest in a long series of blunders by Frank's defense teams and the ultimate triumph of a prosecution which conspired in what was little more than an official frame-up. Frank was convicted by the testimony of a black janitor who was almost certainly guilty of the murder himself. An ironic twist of American justice: anti-Semitic prejudice prevailed over anti-black bias. In 1942 Rev. L.O. Bricker, the Baptist pastor of Mary Phagan's parents, revealed the popular sentiment at the time, "My own feelings, upon the arrest of the old Negro night-watchman, were .... [that he] would be poor atonement for the life of this little girl. But, when .... the police arrested a Jew, and a Yankee Jew at that, all of the inborn prejudice against Jews rose up in a feeling of satisfaction, that here would be a victim worthy to pay for the crime."

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