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Episode 16: Chris Tarricone Reads: The Challenges of Defending the Alleged “Hollywood Ripper”

Defense attorney Dale Rubin often jokes around in the Criminal Courts Building, perhaps to keep his mind off of the challenges of defending Michael Gargiulo on two counts of capital murder. One time, he even played around with a mannequin (which was to serve as a model for a stabbing victim) with his adversary, prosecutor Garrett Dameron. Today, the two discuss baseball no-hitters and laugh in the courthouse hallway as they make their way toward Department 106. For now, the men seem to be good friends just shooting the bull, but, in five minutes, they will be arguing. And in...

Episode 15: Molly Miller Reads: The Matter of the Intersex Shooting

Editor’s Note: Out of respect for the privacy of some of the people depicted in this story, the defendant and the victim's names have been changed. All usernames altered. All identifying details erased. Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostroswki begins her second day of cross-examination. Her tone is casual as she poses her first question, “In addition to having a vagina you also have what you describe as a small penis?” The defendant, Jackson Wilson, looks up from his wheelchair. He nods his head,  “Yes.” Wilson is intersex, meaning that he was born with sex organs that do not fit a binary notion...

Episode 14: Ed Bernero, Criminal Minds — Part 2

In part two of the interview with Ed Bernero we zero in on two of the show’s episodes to discuss how the details of their creation offer us broader insights into the creative process that Ed established on the show. We also hear Ed’s answers to questions posed by USC students. Kary: This is the Crime Story Podcast with Kary Antholis where we have conversations about how and why stories of crime and justice are told. Today’s podcast is the second part of a two-part conversation with Ed Bernero, the co-creator of Third Watch and Executive Producer and founding showrunner of...

Episode 13: Molly Miller Reads: Twenty Four Hopeful Young Faces Went Pale

Deputy District Attorney Chelsea Blatt addresses the jury in her closing argument. Her first words are: “What you saw yesterday was not normal.” I know. I was there. The first abnormality appeared minutes before the trial began. Twenty-four high school students filed into the courtroom at 9:30 am, announced by their well-postured leader as members of UCLA’s mock trial camp. The boys wore sneakers while the girls tottered in their shiny patent leather heels. These brace-faced, bespectacled young adults were a shining example of professional courtesy. Their phones remained entrenched in their pockets and their lips restrained from whispering. I marveled at...

Episode 12: Amanda Knox Reads: Expressions of Guilt

A young man is on trial for murder. His defense says he’s being railroaded. The prosecution paints him as a deceiving psychopath. Is he lying when he says he wasn’t there that night? We don’t have to look into his eyes to figure that out; the Emotion Recognition System does that for us. With dozens of cameras; thermal, pulse, and respiration measurements; sophisticated facial expression recognition algorithms, with billions of hours of human observation as background data; and thousands of hours of specific observation of this one defendant (from his time in police custody, from his social media accounts,...

Episode 11: Sean Smith Reads: The McDonald’s Uniform and the Scalded Child

In the fifth-floor hallway, a middle-aged white guy is speaking into his iPhone. Late 40s, ruddy, he looks like someone you’d stand behind in line for beer at a Dodgers game. “I mistakenly fucked up,” he confides, “so I’m sorry….” Mistake. Fuck up. Sorry. The mea culpas pile up like cars on a fog-shrouded Interstate 5. Apologies are par for the course in the Criminal Courts Building. The Department 30 gallery is packed with mothers and sons, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, all eager for information, explanations, closure. They’re lucky if they get a quick nod. “You may not communicate with defendants in custody,” a...