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Episode 20: Molly Miller Reads: It’s Kind of Like a Heist… Or Dodgeball

It’s kind of like a heist — think Ocean’s Eleven. You assemble a rag-tag team of 12 to 14 professionals to carry out your operation. There’s just one problem: they have no skills. Even if they do, they are expressly forbidden from using their skills during the heist. They can’t research the heist online or talk to reporters about the heist. It’s really best if they don’t know anything about the heist before it begins.  That’s jury duty: a random selection of citizens without specialized legal knowledge who are assembled to give a verdict on a case. Anything from shoplifting to...

Episode 19: Steve Zaillian, The Night Of

This is the Crime Story Podcast with Kary Antholis where we have conversations about how and why narratives of crime and justice are told. Today’s podcast is a conversation with Steve Zaillian. Steve won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for Schindler’s List and won a Directors Guild Award for his miniseries The Night Of. The conversation was recorded as part of a series of classes that I taught at The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Each week I would host an artist for a discussion that would help us better understand the values and aims of storytellers...

Episode 18: Kary Antholis reads: The Chrissy Teigen Tweet and Trump’s Turn Away from Criminal Justice Reform

Does President Trump’s Twitter tirade taunting Chrissy Teigen (and her husband, musician/activist John Legend) suggest a shift in his administration’s narrative regarding criminal justice reform? Trump’s four tweet lament (pleading that he gets no credit for the reform legislation that passed last year, while undeserving others take that credit) reeked of resentment, jealousy and recrimination, and may be the latest in a series of signals that – as we move into an election year – he is abandoning the “Reform” mantle in favor of a punitive, retributive “law and order” narrative. Let’s look at how we got here. Back in May, in a...

Episode 17: Ken White Reads: Felicity Huffman’s Smarter Choices

Last week, federal prosecutors asked United States District Judge Indira Talwani to impose a one-month jail sentence on actress Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud last May in “Operation Varsity Blues,” the bribery investigation that rendered Americans even more cynical about college admissions.  It’s a light sentence for a hefty nationwide scandal, and she probably won’t even serve it.  Huffman admitted guilt immediately, apologized repeatedly, and — with the exception of a somewhat tin-eared and self-pitying sentencing submission — has made every right move to maximize her chance of a sentence of probation. Last June, former Stanford...

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...