The Technicality Show
We’ve all heard of a guilty person getting acquitted of crime because of a “technicality”. What happens when a law professor discovers a judicial loophole that could make for the perfect crime? On today’s show, it’s all about the technicalities, the loopholes, artful dodges and escapes. From how to get away with murder, to how to turn the lights off when your religion prohibits it. Plus, the most expensive typo in American legislative history.
Listen to the full show.
We live in a world made up of rules and regulations – our governments, our religions, our games--they all run on rules. And where there are rules there are technicalities: hose little details that can determine whether a team wins or loses, a guilty person gets acquitted or jailed, or a politician gets elected – even with fewer votes than their opponent. Whatever the technicality, the very word is often accompanied by a sense of injustice. A feeling that someone got away with something – that things did not go as the rules had intended.
Brian Kalt is a professor at Michigan State University’s College of Law – and the man who discovered the so-called “zone of death”, a fifty square mile section of Yellowstone National Park in which a person could hypothetically pull off the perfectly non-prosecutable crime. He wrote about the loophole in a 2005 article for The Georgetown Law Journal. You can find out more at Vox: "Yellowstone Has a 50 Square Mile 'Zone of Death' Where You Can Get Away With Murder."
- Father James Martin is editor-at-large of the magazine, America and author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. He spoke to us about the many technicalities found in religious laws and doctrines.
- Heshy Fried is a comedian, chef, mountain biker and an Orthodox Jew. He wrote an article on his website, Frum Satire called “The 25 Best Jewish Loopholes.”
Eric Molinsky is the producer and host behind a new podcast called Imaginary Worlds. In this episode, he explores how the many creative minds behind Star Trek have worked to rationalize decades worth of conflicting narratives taking place within the same fictional universe. You can listen to this segment again at PRX.org.
Think a comma is just a comma? Turns out poorly placed punctuation can have significant monetary consequences. Zachary Crockett’s article for Priceonomics, is called: “The Most Expensive Typo in Legislative History.”