In this newsletter we review my interview with the author of one of my favorite films about the criminal legal process. We also discuss two weeks worth of both Mike Romano’s updates from the Three Strikes Project, and our serialization of Judge Katherine Mader’s memoir.
On yesterday’s Crime Story podcast, we presented my conversation with screenwriter Nick Kazan, whose scripts for the films “At Close Range” and “Reversal of Fortune” are considered by many to be classics in American screenwriting. Kazan’s work on “Reversal of Fortune” also helped establish the public image of Alan Dershowitz as a champion of the underdog. A friend said to me recently: “I LOVE that movie and, in large part blame it for fooling me about Dershowitz.” I happen to share both of those sentiments.
Over the past two weeks, we continued our 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.”
The anecdotes shared by Judge Mader in the last four installments offered a nuanced sense of how the criminal legal process is marked by structural inequities as well as human quirks and frailties. These stories also feature individuals making the Sisyphean effort to seek justice in a deeply flawed system.
This week, we presented Mike Romano’s updates on the release of both Richard (Bonaru) Richardson and Jerry Hawkins, who each spent 24 year in prison prior to the State of California setting them free.
We also published Mike’s news on his team’s success in getting the California courts to extend the benefits of criminal justice reform legislation to people with mental illness who were found not guilty by reason of insanity.
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: Pieces from the Washington Post and the New Yorker center on the verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the significance of the trial’s outcome, and the work still to be done. In the wake of the Chauvin verdict, and nearly a year since the killing of George Floyd, pieces from the New Republic, New York Times, and the Baltimore Sun survey the state of police reform.
In muckraker/watchdog reporting: Pieces from the Atlantic and the New York Times center on the Chauvin conviction, “the exception that proves the rule,” while a piece from the New Republic tackles anti-protest laws and the criminalization of dissent.
In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the Atlantic, from 2018, takes a deep dive into the story of con man Derek Alldred, “the perfect man who wasn’t.” And a piece from Capital Daily recounts the story of Timothy Durkin, “the man who stole a hotel.”
In culture/true crime: New York Magazine highlights Philly DA, a new PBS docu-series about Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner. In an interview with Esquire, filmmaker Garrett Bradley discusses her Oscar-nominated documentary, Time, about one woman’s fight to free her husband from a decades-long prison sentence. And the Independent reviews Confronting a Serial Killer, a new true-crime documentary from Starz.
Thanks again for reading and listening.
Publisher/Editor, Crime Story