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

Robert Durst Stares into the Camera (Durst 6)

This is the sixth in a series of articles about the hearings before the murder trial of Robert Durst. You may click on the hyperlinked titles to read Two Hearings: Robert Durst and Armon Nelson, While Robert Durst Flips Through Photos, Robert Durst Fades Away, Robert Durst and the Inequity of Judicial Time, and Robert Durst’s Warrior in Court. It’s mid-morning in Department 81, Airport Courthouse, and Deputy District Attorney John Lewin has me locked in a bearhug. Then again, maybe it’s more of an awkward embrace, a clumsy blend...

Robert Durst and the Inequity of Judicial Time (Durst 4)

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the hearings before the murder trial of Robert Durst. You may click on the hyperlinked titles to read Two Hearings: Robert Durst and Armon Nelson, While Robert Durst Flips Through Photos and Robert Durst Fades Away. A video camera operator for Dan Abrams’ website, Law & Crime, is setting up in the Department 81 jury seating area, training his lens on the empty chair across the room where the defendant will sit. The going rate for a video operator is $400 per day. In...

“Your Honor? I’m Here to Give Myself Up.”

It’s late on a Friday morning in Department 117. The docket has been cleared and court personnel are straightening up their things in preparation for the lunch break. Judge Katherine Mader glances up at the mostly deserted gallery and spots her.  Late 40s. Restless.  And her hand is up in the air, like a student with an answer to a question no one asked. “Yes?” “Your Honor?” A long beat as the woman hesitates at the crossroads, then decides to do what...

The RightWay To Shut Off the Foster Care to Prison Pipeline

Leo has been in 21 foster homes, three psych wards, and one group home. One of his foster mothers would pull him out of bed in the middle of the night in order to whip him and then force him outside like a dog. Belle was beaten so severely by her new housemate that she couldn’t see out of her swollen eyes. She somehow made her way to Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, where she curled up in a ball on the floor outside her counselor’s office. She remembers that she saw terror in the...

The McDonald’s Uniform and the Scalded Child with Sean Smith Reading

Editor’s note: Out of respect for the privacy of one of the people depicted in this story, we have changed that person’s name. 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...

Two Hearings: Robert Durst and Armon Nelson (Durst 1)

Even through the closed door of the witness interview room, the voices are loud, ratcheting up the tension in the courtroom. An unseen female insists: “I brought the white shirt… and the blue jacket!” The reply is lost as the court reporter raps on the door, leans in, and warns the people in the room that they can be heard. There’s a long beat, and then a middle-aged, blonde woman emerges from the room, looking flustered. She takes a seat immediately behind the defense team. “He cut his hair again,” she announces, perturbed. The...