Welcome to your weekly opportunity to catch up the week’s activity at CrimeStory.com.
Last Saturday was the 25th anniversary of the stunning verdict in the Trial of O. J. Simpson. Back in January, around the anniversary of the beginning of that trial, Crime Story published a series of interviews with individuals, each of whom has a unique perspective on the narrative of how that case played out.
We offered our interviews with the creators of the two seminal popular culture narratives about the trial:
- Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, creators, executive producers and writers of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning limited series, The People v. O.J. Simpson as well as many other award-winning films and television programs.
- Ezra Edelman, Producer and director of the Oscar and Emmy winning, ten hour documentary O.J.: Made in America.
And we presented our interview with Bill Hodgman, who served in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for over 40 years until his retirement in 2019. During the last eight of those years, Bill served as the Assistant District Attorney overseeing the office’s line operations. In 1994 and 1995, he was one of the lead prosecutors in the double-murder prosecution of O.J. Simpson.
On Tuesday, we presented my conversation with Paul Butler about the recent decision by a Kentucky grand jury to charge Louisville detective Brett Hankison with three felony counts of wanton endangerment and their decision not to charge him or the other officers involved with any accounts related to the death of Breonna Taylor. We also discussed the opening statement that Paul Butler would give if he was prosecuting the case against all three officers (which you can find here).
On Wednesday, we published Part 18 of Sean Smith’s week by week analysis of the news stories aggregated in Crime Story Daily related to COVID-19 and our carceral system. In this installment, Sean looked at stories from the week of July 12.
And on Thursday, we offered two of Michael Romano’s recent reports about Stanford Three Strikes Project clients Lester Lewis and Robert Bahner who were freed after respectively serving 28 and 22 years in prison.
Below we present Hannah Teich’s condensed curation of the week’s more interesting stories from Crime Story Daily. (Read Hannah’s full essay including links to the mentioned articles.)
On the criminal justice policy front: As the Supreme Court opens its new term, Law360 highlights five upcoming cases that could affect Americans’ civil and criminal rights. Pieces from Time and the Prison Policy Initiative focus on jail-based voter disenfranchisement, while a ProPublica analysis examines the wide-ranging impacts of felony disenfranchisement in Florida. Finally, in a piece for USA Today, former US attorneys general Alberto Gonzales and Loretta Lynch reiterate the urgent need for criminal justice reform, outlining a series of policy recommendations to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
In muckraker/watchdog reporting: In an interview with NPR, incarcerated writer John J. Lennon discusses his experience of catching the coronavirus behind bars. A new analysis by The Marshall Project underscores the BOP’s unwillingness to grant federal prisoners compassionate release, even at the height of the pandemic. A Reuters investigation reveals how the Justice Department disarmed its own effort at police reform, while a piece from Mother Jones asks, “Why won’t Democratic mayors crack down on the cops?”
In complex crime storytelling: In a piece for Esquire, written in 1961, the novelist William Styron reflects on capital punishment, the “cruelest dilemma of our time,” America’s broken legal system, and the true meaning of justice through the lens of one little-known case. The Washington Post reports from Oakland, where, with crime rates spiking, protesters calling to defund the police, and the city budget ravaged by the pandemic, “ideology and practicality collide.” And a piece from Time focuses on David Ruggles, the Black New Yorker who led the charge against police violence in the 1830s.
And in culture/true crime: Louder Than A Riot, a new podcast from NPR, explores “the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration.” Highsnobiety highlights “The Other Side,” a new exhibition of collaborative works by the artists William and Steven Ladd and Rikers Island inmates. And the Los Angeles Times goes inside “the once-controversial trend that took over true crime TV.”
Again, you can read Hannah’s full weekly essay and find links to each of the mentioned articles.
And finally, here is your opportunity to catch up on previous Crime Story Newsletters.
Thanks again for reading and listening.
Publisher/Editor, Crime Story