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Kary Antholis / Editor - Publisher

Paul Butler / Consulting Editor

Owen Smith

Owen Smith received his undergraduate degree in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis on Public Discourse and New Media. He has familial ties to the criminal justice system and approaches writing about this system with the aim of understanding it, critiquing it, and, perhaps, reforming it. When he isn’t down at the Criminal Courts Building or writing about being there, he enjoys being at home, tending to his garden or listening to records. He grew up in Los Angeles and lives there now, and remains constantly curious about the minutiae peculiar to the city.

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Inside the Robe: A Judge’s Candid Tale of Criminal Justice in America – Part 93

In Part 93, Judge Mader explains a tactic she uses both to discipline herself to follow the law and to discourage prosecutors from over-charging. She also reflects on a plea deal she approved that she has come to feel is unfair to the victims in the case.

New Episode of Durst Trial Podcast: Durst Sentencing – Part 2: Susan’s Family Speaks

In this episode, host Kary Antholis and co-host Brittany Bookbinder present excerpts from the victim impact statements delivered by members of Susan Berman’s family and examine Judge Mark Windham’s sentence for Robert Durst for the murder of Susan Berman.

Mike Romano: Derrick Thompson Freed After Three Strikes Conviction Overturned

Over two years ago, Derrick was recommended for early release by prison staff, wardens, and the Secretary of Corrections due to his “exceptionally meritorious” conduct while incarcerated over the past two decades. Last week, he walked free.

Inside the Robe: A Judge’s Candid Tale of Criminal Justice in America – Part 92

In Part 92, Judge Mader assesses the dismissal of a vehicular manslaughter case based on evidence of faulty brakes. The Judge also explores some of the specific legal perils faced by a defendant who decides to represent themselves when accused of a sex crime.

Inside the Robe: A Judge’s Candid Tale of Criminal Justice in America – Part 91

In Part 91, Judge Mader discusses the case of a repeat offender seeking a lesser sentence because of health concerns, while reflecting on an earlier case to muse on unexpected romantic pairings that she sees in court proceedings.

New Episode of Durst Trial Podcast: Durst Sentencing – Part 1: How Judge Windham Saw the Durst Trial

In this episode, host Kary Antholis and co-host Brittany Bookbinder discuss the Thursday, October 14th, court appearance of Robert Durst, his first since being convicted of the murder of his friend Susan Berman.

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Special Docket

“I should just come to work with some alcohol,” the bailiff says, “I really should.” I am the only person left in the gallery and she’s looking right at me, but she is mostly thinking out loud, hoping that one of the other court staffers will commiserate. The judicial assistant picks up the cue: “When I worked downtown, all the old sheriffs came to work with booze in these little flasks,” she reminisces. The court staff today are chatty and candid, though I come to realize that the turn to humor is mainly to offset the stress...

An Appeal for Commutation

Massaging his wrists after having his handcuffs removed, Cedrick Deion Broussard stacks and organizes the slim pile of papers that he brought from holding with him: his SB 1437 petition to have the judge commute his murder conviction. Broussard does not have an attorney present, but he's accompanied by a private investigator who listens quietly by his side. "I’m not going to re-try the case," Judge Curtis B. Rappe repeatedly asserts, "even if one of the witnesses says, 'Yes, I actually lied,' I’m not going to re-try the case." Broussard does not seem fazed...