Stateside: Released juvenile lifer on second chance; OKC bombers’ MI ties; MDEQ rebrands

Apr 19, 2019

Today on Stateside, a conversation with the head of Michigan’s environmental agency on its recent rebranding, and on changing a culture some have accused of being too cozy with corporate interests. Plus, we check in with Antonio Espree, one of Michigan’s so-called “juvenile lifers,” about what it’s like to restart his life after 30 years behind bars.

Listen to the full show above or find individual interviews below. 

Head of state environment office talks rebranding, transparency under Whitmer administration

  • Things are changing at Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality. It’s reorganizing the department, and unveiling a new logo and name. It will now be called the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
  • Stateside speaks with director Liesl Clark about the department's rebranding, and the changes she wants to implement at the agency that serves as the state’s environmental watchdog.

Released juvenile lifer, ACLU attorney talk about second chances for teens sentenced to life in prison

  • Antonio Espree was 17 years old when he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole for killing a man. He spent 30 years behind bars before being released in 2017 after a pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings declared life-without-parole sentences for minors were unconstitutional. We check in with Espree about what it’s like to restart life, including attending college, after decades in prison.
  • We also hear from Deborah LaBelle, director of the Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative at the Michigan ACLU about what’s happened to the more than 363 juvenile lifers in Michigan since the Supreme Court rulings in 2012 and 2016.
  • We reached out to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office for comment on the current status of the more than 200 juvenile lifers who have yet to have their sentences reconsidered. We did not hear back before this interview aired. 

Artisans of Michigan: Dyeing, weaving, and stunning

  • Most of us don’t give much thought to how the fabric that our clothes are made of gets created. But for Adventure Textiles owner Megan Williams, making clothing starts with weaving and dying her own fabric. Stateside host Lester Graham visited Williams’s Grand Rapids studio to see her in action.
  • Support for arts and culture coverage is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Oklahoma City bombers tested explosives used in 1995 terrorist attack on Michigan farm

  • April 19 marks the 24th anniversary of the domestic terrorist attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The perpetrators of that brutal attack, which killed 168 people and injured another 700, had connections to Michigan's Thumb region. Stateside talks to Greg Stejskal with Tickle the Wire about the Michigan man who served as Timothy McVeigh’s accomplice in the attack.

Political roundup: How Michigan decides which judges deserve a pay raise

  • Justices on the Michigan Supreme Court have not gotten a raise or cost of living adjustment since 2002. Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says that pay for the justices is at a crisis point. Judges in lower courts could soon make more than those in the state’s highest ranking judges. We discuss judicial pay, and how Michigan goes about deciding which judges deserve a raise with our Friday political commentators.
  • Ken Sikkema is a Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and former Republican Majority Leader in the Michigan State Senate. Vicki Barnett is a former mayor of Farmington Hills, and a former Democratic member of the state legislature.

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