Team Crime Story:In last week’s newsletter, we presented the entirety of the six installments of Katerine Mader’s Inside the Robe: A Judge’s Candid Tale of Criminal Justice in America that we had already published at CrimeStory.com.
This week, we continued with that presentation and we presented reports about two headline-grabbing sexual assault prosecutions in Los Angeles.
Welcome to our summary of the week’s events at CrimeStory.com and The Crime Story Podcast. (One quick request: If you like what we are doing on the podcast, please rate, review, follow and share us at Apple Podcasts, Spotify or where ever you get your podcasts.)
First, because of some technical difficulties last week, we did not have the opportunity to let you know about my most recent chat with Crime Story Consulting Editor, Paul Butler. During our conversation published on Monday, December 7, Paul and I discussed the results in last month’s U.S. presidential election, and its potential impact on the possibility of change to America’s criminal legal process. We also explored President Trump’s potential exposure to either federal or state criminal prosecution.
On Monday of this week we presented Chasey Ridgley’s The People vs Daniel Masterson: The Statute of Limitations for Rape. Chasey’s piece continues Crime Story’s examination of the justice-related issues and implications of the the television star’s indictment for a series of rapes that allegedly occurred nearly two decades ago.
The story examines Masterson’s effort to challenge the validity of the rape charges against him by arguing that prosecutors wrongly interpreted a law that they claim allows them to charge Masterson with crimes that have no statute of limitations.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we continued our new Crime Story series excerpting Inside the Robe: A Judge’s Candid Tale of Criminal Justice in America, by Judge Katherine Mader (Ret.) which best selling author Michael Connelly called: “a perfect book: engrossing and telling at the same time.”
In Part 7 of Inside the Robe, Judge Mader examines her own compulsion to see justice served and then takes us into the cafeteria at the Criminal Courts Building, as she begins to explain the structure and hierarchy of judges in the Los Angeles County Court System.
In Part 8, she continues her explanation of the structure and hierarchy of judges in Los Angeles, and then begins to examine her instinctive efforts to foster a settlement between prosecutors and the defendant before a trial begins.
And this morning, we posted my piece on the case of adult film star Ron Jeremy who stands charged with 35 counts of various sexual offences by 23 alleged victims including 11 counts of forcible rape. The age range of Jeremy’s accusers is 15 to 54 years old, and, if he is convicted on all counts, he faces a sentence of 330 years to life in prison.
On Monday, I appeared on Court TV to speak about the case.
Below we present Hannah Teich’s condensed curation of the particularly interesting stories from the past two weeks of the Crime Story Daily. (Read Hannah’s full essays including links to the mentioned articles for week 70 here and for week 71 here.)
On the criminal justice policy front: The Washington Post highlights the growing group of prosecutors who see their role as “not only one of seeking justice, but… of correcting injustice” as well. A piece from the LA Times focuses on newly elected Los Angeles County DA George Gascón, who announced a series of sweeping policy changes at his swearing-in ceremony this week. In a piece for The Appeal, Gascón and Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby outline their vision for the role of “progressive prosecutor.” And the Brennan Center lays out a federal agenda for criminal justice reform.
In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from NBC News focuses on the execution of Brandon Bernard, the ninth federal execution this year. Pieces from HuffPost and Mother Jones highlight the public health consequences of Trump’s unprecedented lame-duck execution spree, while Sentencing Law and Policy focuses on the “new death penalty”: COVID behind bars.
In complex crime storytelling: A piece from The Appeal highlights nine stories of people who were released after being sentenced to life without parole. Esquire recounts the story of “the most romantic jailbreak in American history.” And a piece from Glamour highlights the women of the prison abolition movement.
And in culture/true crime: The Guardian reviews 40 Years a Prisoner, HBO’s new documentary about the decades-long struggle to free the incarcerated Black radicals known as the Move Nine. The Hollywood Reporter goes inside ABC police drama The Rookie, where, in the wake of this summer’s protests, writers are leaning into calls for a more nuanced approach to how cops are portrayed on TV. And Hyperallergic highlights “Letters from the Etui,” a series of animated “visual letters” from prison offering an intimate, brightly-colored view into life behind bars.
On the criminal justice policy front: Pieces from Bloomberg and Rolling Stone focus on Minneapolis, where, in the course of the last six months, vows to dismantle the police department and “reimagine public safety” have devolved into yet more incremental change. A piece from The Atlantic also centers on the battle over “defund the police,” while the New York Times explores the impacts of this summer’s racial justice protests on the burgeoning “progressive prosecutor” movement.
In muckraker/watchdog reporting: “No Way Out,” a multi-part investigation by The Marshall Project and WFAA, traces the spread of COVID-19 through the Texas prison over the last nine months. A new analysis by The Marshall Project and the AP reveals the full extent of the pandemic behind bars; and a new study by the Prison Policy Initiative highlights the role of mass incarceration in spreading COVID-19.
In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New Republic asks, “What do Black people really think about the police?”. A piece from the Independent focuses on “the rise of the podcast detectives.” And, in a piece for the New York Times, journalist Elizabeth Breunig recounts her experience of witnessing a federal execution.
And in culture/true crime: The New York Times reviews “Finding Yingying,” a new documentary from MTV about the search for a missing student in Illinois. The New Yorker explores the unusual, touching friendship between a world-renowned photographer and an incarcerated man. And, in a piece for Current, Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, co-producer and co-host of the podcast Ear Hustle, discusses his experience of covering the pandemic behind bars.
Again, you can read Hannah’s full essays including links to the mentioned articles for week 70 here and for week 71 here.
And finally, here is your opportunity to catch up on previous Crime Story Newsletters.
Thanks again for reading and listening.
Publisher/Editor, Crime Story