This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.
On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from the New Yorker looks at the national movement to restore voting rights to convicted felons who have served their sentences, and at the quieter, less-publicized fight to expand voting rights for current prisoners. Currently, forty-eight states impose either severe restrictions or an outright ban on voting from prison; only Maine and Vermont extend the franchise to all incarcerated citizens. The article questions why the expansion of these rights remains such a tough political sell, even among the most progressive candidates. And a piece from the New York Times asks 2020 Democratic presidential candidates – all of whom are united in seeking a “major overhaul” of the criminal justice system – which changes they would prioritize first. The results reveal a “wholesale shift from previous election cycles, in terms of both specific policies and the lens through which the candidates discuss the issue. It also provides an unusually clear picture of how they would go about accomplishing what they say they want to accomplish.”
In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the Appeal investigates a still-unfolding scandal in Orange County, California, where sheriff’s deputies have been accused of mishandling evidence on a “staggering” scale. Two internal audits conducted by the Orange County sheriff’s department – and then kept secret for months – uncovered a pattern of filing false reports that could potentially call into question thousands of convictions.
In complex crime storytelling: A piece from Philadelphia Magazine revisits the case of Cosmo DiNardo, who was convicted of murdering four young men in July 2017 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in a crime so brutal it generated international headlines. The article explores in detail Cosmo’s transformation from “model son,” a “good-looking kid with a promising future,” to convicted murderer, beginning with his descent into increasingly severe – and increasingly mishandled – mental illness. And a piece from the Intercept focuses on the case of Claude Garrett, a Tennessee man who was convicted of first-degree felony murder in 1993 after a house fire claimed the life of his fiancé. Garrett, who was sentenced to life in prison, maintains that the fire was accidental; expert fire investigators have long supported his claims of innocence, arguing that his conviction rests on “junk science” and debunked myths. Now, with a TV special reexamining the fire set to air soon, and an application to the Davidson County District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit pending in Nashville, Garrett’s case may soon get the second look it deserves.
And in culture/true crime: The New York Post reviews “Forensic Files II,” a new reboot of the popular HLN docuseries that aired from 1996 to 2011. The show explores true-crime stories in a 30-minute “whodunit” format. And The Verge reviews “McMillions,” HBO’s new documentary miniseries about the McDonald’s Monopoly game scam that occurred between 1989 and 2001.