Sean Smith

A screenwriter and creative executive, Sean moved to LA years ago and refuses to leave. He misses Al’s Bar, Hop Louie and the chickens of Echo Park. Sean is a graduate of Harvard, Stanford and USC’s School of Cinema-Television.

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LATEST ARTICLES

COVID-19 in Prison: Week by Week — Part 2

CRIME STORY’S Sean Smith continues his weekly analysis of the news stories aggregated in CRIME STORY DAILY related to COVID-19 and our carceral system. By reconsidering early reporting on the crisis in the light of subsequent developments, CRIME STORY hopes to point out trends in the narrative of COVID-19 and the prisons. You can find links to each of Sean's analysis pieces here. This article covers the week beginning March 22.  WEEK TWO (March 22-28) In state houses and the nation’s capital, reactions to...

COVID-19 in Prison: Week by Week — Part 1

EDITOR’S STATEMENT This week, CRIME STORY’S Sean Smith begins a weekly analysis of the news stories aggregated in CRIME STORY DAILY related to COVID-19 and our carceral system. By reconsidering early reporting on the crisis in the light of subsequent developments, CRIME STORY hopes to point out trends in the narrative of COVID-19 and the prisons. Someday, a granular chronology of this coronavirus’s spread will be written, one that captures all the complexities and contradictions of the crisis. For the moment, CRIME STORY will examine the lethal...

COVID-19 Exposes the Technology Gap in L.A. Courts

The COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread disruptions have caught the Los Angeles County Superior Court system completely flat-footed. Even in the best of times, there are gaps in what we can only call the ergonomics of the court system, with the Airport Courthouse standing as a shining example of contemporary design and infrastructure, as opposed to downtown’s moldering Foltz Criminal Justice Center, which looks and feels like something out of Dragnet. (And in both instances, entrance security protocols and equipment are appropriate to a small, regional airport, not big-city justice facilities.) But...

The Durst Trial: A Brother Remembers His Lost Sister

Like so many memories, this one is jogged by a photograph.  Deputy DA John Lewin projects an image of a preadolescent Kathie Durst onto the courtroom’s over-sized video monitors. From his seat in the witness box, James McCormack, Kathie’s 76 year old brother, turns to consider it.  LEWIN: DO YOU RECOGNIZE WHO’S IN THAT PHOTO? MCCORMACK: YES. LEWIN: AND WHO IS THAT? MCCORMACK: THAT IS MY BABY SISTER KATHIE SITTING IN THE ROWBOAT THAT MY DAD BOUGHT AND...

Robert Durst’s Relentless Prosecutor

Deputy DA John Lewin’s opening statement in the People v. Robert Durst ran for three captivating days. In a weekend blog discussion subsequent to Days One and Two, CRIME STORY teased out the cinematic trappings of Lewin’s presentation (The Prosecutor’s Cinematic Opening in The People vs. Robert Durst, March 7, 2020). On its third and final day, however, Lewin’s opening statement revealed an added layer of complexity. What had already been a dramatic, binge-worthy summary of the evidence against Durst suddenly took a highly personal turn. Having spent the previous two days tracing...

Unanticipated Intimacy and the Trial of Robert Durst

A long trial can breed moments of unanticipated intimacy. CRIME STORY has been reporting on the Durst pre-trial hearings for nearly a year now, and it’s safe to say that a strained familiarity has developed between all concerned parties. There are nodding encounters in courthouse cafeteria lines and muttered asides in crowded elevators. It’s also inevitable that over the course of a lengthy court case, you will share a restroom with someone from the trial. (This probability is enhanced by the fact that all of the CRIME...