Nuremberg Trials I

Lead: By 1943 the tide of victory had begun to shift in favor of the Allies. How they used that victory would give shape to the postwar world. One of their first tasks was to bring war criminals to justice at Nuremberg.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As World War II ground on, word began to slip out of occupied Europe describing terrible atrocities. These were not the acts of inhumanity normally associated with war. This was an organized terror rarely experienced in the modern era. Genocide on a scale theretofore considered unimaginable was engulfing groups thought by the Nazis and their allies to be subhuman. Jews, selected evangelical Christians, homosexuals, gypsies, the mentally infirm, and others were gradually being exterminated in Hitler's twisted pursuit of racial purity.

Alcatraz II

Lead: The regimen on “the Rock” was incredibly severe. Hardened criminals, were often reduced to babbling by the silence, the isolation, the discipline. The residents called it Helcatraz.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1930s the battle against urban crime seemed to be going against the forces of law and order. The aggressive young director of the FBI, J Edgar Hoover, convinced U.S. Attorney General Homer Cummings, that the solution lay in creating a “super prison” where hardened, intractable male prisoners serving long sentences could be sent. Word was out that the military had grown weary of the high cost of maintaining Alcatraz, its isolated outpost in the middle of outer San Francisco Bay. Cummings and Hoover decided to take over the island for their maximum security prison. Not only did it have the facilities, its distance from land, the closest mainland point being a mile away, and the treacherous tidal currents that swirled in and out of the Golden Gate, was thought to make escape nigh to impossible. They chose Alcatraz and James A. Johnston to run it.

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Alcatraz I

Lead: For 29 years perhaps the most intimidating sound in the American judicial system was the slammer, the collective crack of 250 pound automatic doors that, at the touch of a lever, enclosed the inmates of the U.S Penitentiary, Alcatraz.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: At 7:15 on the morning of June 12, 1962, a guard in the cell block of Alcatraz made his usual morning rounds. Outside a thick fog had descended upon San Francisco Bay and surrounded the tiny prison island obscuring the dawn and the view of the guards in the watchtowers above. Someone noticed that Frank L. Morris, John Anglin, and John’s brother Clarence did not get up. When they did not respond the guard entered the cell. In near disbelief, he announced the three had escaped the most fearsome prison in the Federal system. That escape would sound the death-knell of one of the most famous prisons in the world. Lubyanka, the Bastille, Fulsom, Sing Sing, the Hanoi Hilton, none would come close sharing the reputation of Helcatraz, on “The Rock.”

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Electric Chair

Lead: Caught up in the frenzy of competition in the early days of electric power, Thomas Edison gave impetus to development of the twentieth century’s most fearsome form of judicial execution, the electric chair.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1880s, inventor Thomas Edison and industrialist George Westinghouse were locked in a fierce competition over the future of electric power. The issue was transmission. Edison championed direct current, Westinghouse, in alliance with the brilliant and erratic Nikola Tesla, was an advocate of alternating current. Westinghouse eventually prevailed because AC, with its more efficient distribution over longer distances, was clearly the superior choice.

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The Manson Murders II

Lead: In the late summer of 1969, fanatical followers of Charles Manson went on a weekend spree, brutally killing seven wealthy and prominent members of Los Angeles society. Four months later they were charged.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: At first the so-called Tate-LaBianca murders were not connected by police, but because of the similarities of the two crimes, finally the LAPD made the link. The big break for the prosecutors came when one of Manson’s “Family,” in prison on another charge, boasted to her cellmate that she had been in on the Tate murders. In December, Manson and four young female followers were charged.

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The Manson Murders I

Lead: Of the turbulent events that marked the decade of the 1960s, the chilling and notorious Charles Manson murders are clearly among most shocking.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Charles Manson was born in 1934. He had an unstable childhood and by the age of thirteen was ripening into young man with a decidedly criminal inclination. After being released from a California prison in 1967, he moved to San Francisco, where he began attracting a group of devoted young people who would eventually follow him on a path of violence and destruction. Playing upon sections of the Book of Revelation and drawing inspiration from certain Beatle songs, Manson and his followers began preparing for a racial war in which black and white would annihilate each other. After this war, which Manson called “Helter Skelter,” he and his followers, or as he called them, his “family,” would emerge from a bottomless pit in Death Valley ready to lead a new society.

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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.

 

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.