During this unprecedented moment, crimestory.com has a clear mission: we will continue to explore storytelling, news and narrative analysis in the world of crime and justice, while presenting many of our stories in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday we presented my interview with Vince DiPersio, Executive Producer of Kim Kardashian: The Justice Project which airs Sunday, April 5 on Oxygen.
During the course of his 30+ years as a filmmaker, Vince has been nominated for multiple Academy Awards and has won multiple Emmys. I first got to know Vince back in the early 1990s when we worked together on documentaries for HBO.
Our conversation covers the evolution of his career as an audio visual storyteller, and culminates with a focus on the specifics of his work with Kim Kardashian on their new film.
On Tuesday, we continued our coverage of The People vs. Robert Durst with Sean Smith’s The Durst Trial: A Brother Remembers His Lost Sister. In that piece, Sean recounts the testimony of Durst’s brother-in-law, Jim McCormack. Deputy DA John Lewin guided McCormack through a series of questions seeking to bring to life for the jurors McCormack’s sister Kathie, and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her the defendant during their troubled marriage prior to her disappearance.
Sean also recounts some of the difficulties that defense attorney Dick Deguerin had in his cross-examination of McCormack.
On Wednesday, Amanda Knox interviewed her fellow exoneree Obie Anthony on The Impact of Quarantine on the Formerly Incarcerated. Anthony, founder of Exonerated Nation, a nonprofit organization that assists exonerees in reintegrating into society, talks about how he’s facilitating his community’s engagement in a time of physical distancing.
And on Thursday, we published Paul Butler’s piece, Pandemic Policing: Hands Off; Don’t Arrest? As Paul tweeted: “The pandemic is making cops switch up how they police black and brown folks. Right now it’s better—fewer arrests and stop/frisks. But that could change real quick.”
For those of you wondering how you can catch up on previous Crime Story newsletters, just click here and your question shall be answered.
This week, in a bit of a change of format, we are going to present a summary of Hannah Teich’s curated selection of some of the more interesting stories from Crime Story Daily over the past week. (In order to get to the full essay and the story links, please click through this link to Hannah’s piece at crimestory.com.)
On the criminal justice policy front:
A piece from The Intercept looks at the criminal justice reforms – decreasing prison and jail populations, improving conditions, and reducing new prosecutions of low-level nonviolent offenses – that are now being expedited due to the spread of coronavirus.
A piece from the The Marshall Project explores why county jails are so important in the fight against coronavirus.
A piece from the Atlantic makes the “public-safety case” for jail releases.
A piece from The Appeal challenges state governors and the president to use their authority to grant commutations and reprieves to people in prison.
Lastly, a piece from Slate focuses on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to reverse the state’s new bail reform law.
In muckraker/watchdog reporting:
The Texas Tribune reports that as the coronavirus continues to spread in Texas’ two biggest county jails, Governor Greg Abbott has blocked the release of thousands of inmates.
A piece from the Texas Observer argues that COVID-19 has “laid bare the fundamental inequalities that a cash bond system creates.”
The Intercept reports that in New York, Rikers Island prisoners are being offered $6 an hour – a fortune by prison labor standards – and personal protective equipment if they agree to help dig mass graves.
And a piece from the Trace highlights the dangerous combination of widespread economic strain, a surge in firearm sales, and shelter-in-place orders – an especially toxic mix for victims of domestic violence.
In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New Republic focuses on the fatal police shooting of a ten-year-old boy in South Jamaica, Queens in 1973.
And in culture/true crime: The New York Times takes a deep dive into Kim Kardashian West’s “prison-reform machine.”
Thanks for reading and listening.
Publisher/Editor, Crime Story