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A record 125 prisoners were released last year in Texas, New York and other states after serving long terms for crimes they did not commit. The public-radio podcast Serial focused attention on cases being re-investigated because of possible wrongful convictions. Now there's a national movement for exonerations.

Also, another Republican governor striking out at public employee unions, and a conversation with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Photo: Brad K.

Producers:
Evan George
Sonya Geis
Sasa Woodruff

Illinois' Republican Governor Latest to Strike Out at Public Employee Unions 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Republican governors in a number of Midwestern states are striking out at public employee unions, traditionally a major source of funds for Democratic candidates. The latest is in Illinois, where the new governor has wasted no time.  Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog.

Guests:
Reid Wilson, The Hill (@PoliticsReid)

More:
Washington Post on Missouri taking a step toward becoming a 'right-to-work' state
Missouri House on 'paycheck protection legislation'

How Many Innocent Americans Are Sitting in Jail? 34 MIN, 26 SEC

Local district attorneys get re-elected for putting people in jail.  Now some prosecutors are part of a movement to get some inmates out.  An Ohio man who spent 39 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit is just one of 125 released last year — a record number of wrongful convictions.  It's not just new evidence or witnesses changing their stories — it's also the pressure on innocent people to plead guilty. The Brooklyn DA now runs a "conviction review unit," part a new wave for exonerations.

Guests:
Maurice Possley, National Registry of Exonerations (@mauricepossley)
Ken Thompson, District Attorney for Kings County, New York (@brooklynda)
JaneAnne Murray, University of Minnesota Law School
Rodney Roberts, former inmate

More:
National Registry of Exonerations
Murray on why Adnan Syed (of 'Serial') should have pleaded guilt
'Serial' podcast

Four Years into Syria's War, a Conversation with al-Assad 8 MIN, 56 SEC

In Damascus, Syria, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine recently spent much one full day at the presidential palace. In a lengthy interview with President Bashar al-Assad, Jonathan Tepperman asked a series of rough questions and got some remarkable answers.


Jonathan Tepperman (R) interviews President Bashar al-Assad
Courtesy Media and Communications Office, Presidency of Syria

Since the interview, Tepperman has called him "a spectacularly competent liar" and compared him to Hitler in his bunker — still insisting to his generals that Germany could win the war."

Guests:
Jonathan Tepperman, Foreign Affairs magazine (@j_tepperman)

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