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Defending Robert Durst: The Opening Statement

Robert Durst did not murder his long-time friend Susan Berman on December 23, 2000, and he  doesn’t know who did. A generous man...

Cops and the Art of Lying 2: The Polygraph Tactic

The following is Part 2 of Crime Story’s coverage of the People vs. Jose Peralta. You can find Part 1 here.

Cops and the Art of Lying

You’re called into the police station for an interview regarding the murder of a man in your apartment building. He was someone you...

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 33

This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.

On the criminal justice policy front: This week, COVID-19 has continued to dominate headlines, with the US displacing Italy and China as the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. A piece from USA Today provides a broad overview of how the pandemic has upended our criminal justice system, from courts to policing to prisons and jails. A piece from Reason focuses on the scope of, and limits to, police powers during a pandemic. With more than half of all the confirmed cases in the country located in New York, a piece from the New York Times urges Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to stand strong on bail reform. A piece from the New Yorker focuses on the state of New York’s prisons and jails, where the first confirmed coronavirus cases were reported last week. Meanwhile, authorities around the country are escalating efforts to scale back incarceration and reduce prison and jail populations. The New York Times reports that New Jersey will release as many as 1,000 inmates, while according to CBS News, approximately 1,700 inmates have already been released from Los Angeles County jails. And finally, a piece from the Crime Report asks whether COVID-19 can “force us to take criminal justice reform seriously.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the New Republic focuses on the “pandemic economy” in American prisons. While prisons and jails across the country have moved swiftly to release inmates, ban family visitations, and adhere to social-distancing guidelines, prison work shifts have largely carried on uninterrupted. From manufacturing hand sanitizer in New York to processing chicken in North Carolina, incarcerated workers continue to face extreme risk for virtually no pay. And two pieces from the New York Times examine some of the less-reported side-effects of the coronavirus crisis. One focuses on the growing racism faced by Chinese-Americans, with verbal and physical attacks increasing as bigoted rhetoric around the “Chinese virus” spreads. The other looks at the dangerous implications of shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders for victims of domestic violence.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from The Nation focuses on the case of Michael White. White, a young black man working as a courier for Uber Eats, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of an older white real estate developer. Typically, “with a poor black defendant and a wealthy white victim, we know how this story ends.” But in 2018, in Larry Krasner-era Philadelphia, the story didn’t turn out that way: Krasner lowered the murder charge to voluntary manslaughter, and White was ultimately acquitted, serving only two years’ probation on a count of tampering with evidence. In the end, White “received the kind of legal justice that too many young black men have historically been denied.” And a piece from the Boston Globe Magazine looks back on the 1970 hijacking of a routine shuttle flight from Newark, New Jersey to Boston. In an era when “skyjackings” were so common that airlines seemed to treat them as “little more than a nuisance,” the hijacking of Flight 1320 would permanently change the way Americans fly.

And in culture/true crime: GQ reviews Tiger King, a new true-crime documentary series from Netflix. The show focuses on the wild world of big-cat collecting and private zoos, and the many outrageous characters who populate it. Tiger King revolves around a murder-for-hire plot, but the show differs from other true-crime fare in its subtle implication and indictment of the viewer: “the crime that’s happening is perpetrated by everyone… It’s not just one incident or a serial case—it’s a wide-scale problem.”

Amanda Knox: The Too-Steep Climb to Righting Wrongful Convictions

Chris and I got married on February 29th, 2020—just in time, it seems. Only two of our guests cancelled at the last minute for fear of travel due to the coronavirus. This was before Governor Inslee called for the cancellation of any event with over fifty participants. Now, just two weeks later, Chris and I are grateful that we’ve only had to cancel our honeymoon. We were planning on travelling to Germany to visit Jens Soering who, after...

CRIME STORY on the L.A. District Attorney election

Crime Story has intently covered the candidates and issues surrounding Tuesday's election for Los Angeles District Attorney. We have covered two of the candidate debates, including the only forum that all three candidates attended. We dedicated an an entire episode of our Jury Duty podcast to a discussion of one of those debates. We have also conducted interviews with two of the candidates, Rachel Rossi and George Gascón. We invited incumbent D.A. Jackie Lacey to sit down with us, but we received no response to that invitation. Finally we presented a scoop endorsement by a recently retired veteran criminal courts judge. Today, we present links to each of the pieces related to the D.A. race that we have published on Crime Story. If you can vote in L.A. County, we urge you to do so! The First L.A. District Attorney Debate: Urgent, Passionate and Incomplete PODCAST SPECIAL: The First Los Angeles District Attorney Debate – Part 1 PART 2 — PODCAST SPECIAL: The...