S2, Episode 8: Willful Acts (May 30th, 2018)

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Army veteran Jim McKelvey applied for his VA benefits and was denied for willful misconduct. Thirty years later, Julie Eldred was sent to prison for a willful violation of probation. Both challenged, both got to a Supreme Court with the promise to change the law of the land. The disease model of addiction has been litigated a handful of times in the history of American law. Every time the same issue has come up; free will. We examine this week how the issues of free will and moral responsibility for addiction play out in the U.S. legal system. Guest voices include Sue McKelvey, Deborah Pearman, James McKelvey, Lisa Newman-Polk, and philosopher Hanna Pickard.

On July 16, 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Commonwealth v. Julie Eldred. I called Lisa Newman-Polk to get reaction and to talk about the implications of the ruling.

(Transcript: Episode 8-Willfull Acts)

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Resources from this Episode

Hanna Pickard’s Responsibility without Blame

Lisa Newman-Polk’s Law Practice

The decision in Commonwealth v. Julie Eldred.

Soundtrack

All music this episode courtesy of Blue Dot Sessions