About the Podcast
Drugs on the Docket is a production of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) at The Ohio State University. Each episode explores how U.S. court rulings—primarily those handed down from the Supreme Court—impact drug law and policy and continue to shape the War on Drugs. Drugs on the Docket unpacks various ways courts have engaged with and responded to the opioid epidemic, police discretion, the sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, and more. The series, hosted by Hannah Miller, invites guests with expertise in criminal justice, drug policy, and drug enforcement to help us break down the sometimes complex and always interesting stories behind today’s drug law landscape.
Drugs on the Docket is produced by DEPC’s Service Engagement Project Manager Hannah Miller and Public Engagement Specialist Holly Griffin. DEPC Executive Director Douglas A. Berman is our editorial advisor. Music by Joe DeWitt.
Season 1 Trailer
This May, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University will launch season one of the Drugs on the Docket podcast. The trailer provides a brief introduction to the podcast and a sneak peek of what you can expect from season one.
Season 1 Episode 1 – Federal drug sentencing and the evolution of the crack to powder cocaine ratio with Mark Osler
In our inaugural episode, host Hannah Miller and co-host Douglas Berman, executive director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, speak with Mark Osler, American legal scholar and law professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Osler played a role in clarifying that federal judges no longer had to follow the 100-to-1 ratio between crack and powder cocaine in the federal sentencing guidelines by winning the 2009 case of Spears v. United States in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Season 1 Episode 2 – Ruan v. United States and the intersection of healthcare, criminal law, and the opioid crisis with Jenn Oliva and Kelly Gillespie
In this episode, host Hannah Miller and co-host Patricia Zettler, associate professor of law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, speak with Jenn Oliva and Kelly Gillespie. Oliva is professor of law at UC College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings Law). Gillespie is professor and director of the Center for Health Law Studies at Saint Louis University School of Law. At the time of recording, Gillespie was professor of law and the director of the health law program at Creighton University School of Law. Oliva and Gillespie filed the only amicus brief at the petition stage on the part of the defendant in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Ruan v. United States. The case explored what prosecutors must prove about a defendant’s mental state in order to convict them of unauthorized distribution of controlled substances under federal drug laws. In Ruan, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendant, determining that the Government must prove the defendant knowingly or intentionally acted in an unauthorized manner.
Season 1 Episode 3 – A Special Conversation with former Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor
In this episode, host Hannah Miller and co-host Douglas Berman, executive director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, speak with Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor just weeks before her retirement. Chief Justice O’Connor was the tenth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the first woman to lead the state’s judicial branch of government. With a public service career spanning three decades, she was the longest-serving statewide elected woman in Ohio history. Chief Justice O’Connor discusses her time on the Ohio Supreme Court, specialized dockets (including drug courts), the importance of collaboration and data collection, and her hopes for the future of Ohio’s legal system.
Season 1 Episode 4 – United States v. Angelos, federal mandatory minimums, and sentencing reform with Weldon Angelos and Paul Cassell
In this episode, host Hannah Miller and co-host Erik Luna, executive director of the Academy for Justice at Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, speak with Weldon Angelos and former United States District Court Judge Paul Cassell. In 2004, Angelos was sentenced to a mandatory 55-year prison term for a low-level marijuana offense due to the mandatory application of stacked firearm sentencing terms. Cassell, who presided over Angelos’ case, authored a pathbreaking opinion, calling the de facto life sentence “cruel, unjust, and irrational.” After serving twelve years of his sentence, Angelos’ family, and others championing his case, secured an early release. Since then, Angelos has become an activist, working with public officials to end cannabis prohibition and reform the federal criminal justice system. Today, Cassell is a professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Season 1 Episode 5 – Data and storytelling in federal drug sentencing and the U.S. Sentencing Commission with Doug Passon and Mark Allenbaugh
In this episode, host Hannah Miller and co-host Douglas Berman, executive director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, speak with Doug Passon and Mark Allenbaugh. Passon is a criminal defense lawyer of over twenty-five years, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and host of the Set for Sentencing podcast. Allenbaugh is an attorney and entrepreneur with nationally-recognized expertise in federal sentencing, law, policy and practice, and is a co-founder of Sentencing Stats, LLC. Passon and Allenbaugh discuss the newly resurrected U.S. Sentencing Commission and the importance of data and storytelling when it comes to federal drug sentencing.
Season 1 Episode 6 – Whren v. United States, Terry v. Ohio, and the Fourth Amendment with Gabriel “Jack” Chin
In this episode, host Hannah Miller and co-host Ric Simmons, professor of law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, speak with Gabriel “Jack” Chin about unlawful search and seizures, the Fourth Amendment, and police discretion. Chin is professor of law at the University of California Davis School of Law where he teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and immigration law. Chin’s writings on the topics of immigration law, criminal procedure, and race and law have appeared in a myriad of esteemed publications and his work on the collateral consequences of criminal conviction was cited by the United States Supreme Court in Chaidez v. United States.