Welcome to our weekly review of the events at crimestory.com.
This week, as the COVID-19 overwhelmed human consciousness, opening arguments concluded in the trial of Robert Durst and the beginning of witness testimony was marked by a stunning emotional moment. The week concluded with the Durst trial and all other cases in Los Angeles suspended for at least 30 days amid concerns about the courtrooms and courthouses becoming Petri dishes for the virus.
This week we published a story by Sean Smith about Prosecutor John Lewin’s art of working witnesses as demonstrated in video excerpts of witness testimony presented during his opening statement in the for the Durst trial. In Robert Durst’s Relentless Prosecutor, Sean contrasts Lewin’s tactics in handling two specific witnesses, Nick Chavin and Emily Altman, whose testimony was pre-recorded during pre-trial hearings.
Sean’s piece, which presents the prosecutor’s tough but always truthful tactics, also serves as interesting companion to Molly Miller’s piece exploring how police use the leeway afforded them by the U.S. Supreme Court Case of Frazier v. Cupp. In Cops and the Art of Lying, Molly offers an example of a case where police interrogators use deceptive statements and tactics to induce an 18 year old murder suspect to tell them about his level of involvement in the crime.
We also published my story about the stunning testimony of Thomas Durst in his brother Robert’s murder trial. In Thomas Durst Startles Jurors With Reenactment of Brother Robert’s Rage and Cruelty, we experience a powerful expression of pent up anguish by Thomas which “proved to be the first, truly searing moment of this trial.
And finally, as I reported in this tweet last evening, I received a tip (later confirmed in other news media) that all trials in LA will go on hiatus until at least the end of March. This includes the trial of Robert Durst.
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We close this week, as is our habit, with Hannah Teich’s curated selection of some of the more interesting stories from Crime Story Daily over the past week.
Hannah, who edits this Daily section, groups the aggregation into four general topic areas: criminal justice policy reporting; muckraking/watchdog reporting; complex crime storytelling; and stories that examine the impact of criminal justice and true-crime in the culture.
Click here to go to Hannah’s weekly essay.
Thanks for reading and listening.
Publisher/Editor, Crime Story