Welcome to our weekly review of the events at crimestory.com.
We begin in the heart of the week. On Wednesday and Thursday, we presented my two-part conversation with David Chase, Creator and Showrunner of The Sopranos, which is listed by Rolling Stone as “The Greatest TV Show of all time.”
In the first part of our chat, David talks about his development into adulthood and his path to becoming a professional storyteller with a particular focus on the projects that he worked on that were related to crime.
In part two of our conversation, David talks about the origins of The Sopranos, making a gangster show in the shadow of The Godfather and Goodfellas, and the impact and legacy of his classic series.
On Monday, we presented a Podcast Special: A Congressional Crime Hearing in the City of Angels – Part 1, as reported by Sean Smith.
In the story, Sean took us inside a congressional field hearing on criminal justice reform hosted by Representative Karen Bass (D. CA), the Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. We heard excerpts from an expert witness panel, gathered by Rep. Bass to examine California’s recent record of criminal justice reform and to identify what lessons might be drawn to effect similar reforms nationally
Specifically, Sean zeroed in on the content of the three California ballot initiatives under discussion. Taken together, these initiatives represent a paradigm shift in the ongoing reform of California’s criminal justice system — a step towards dismantling California’s punitive “tough on crime” apparatus.
On Tuesday and Friday, we began to tell the story of the trials of Darrell Caldwell, better known as the emerging Los Angeles rap artist Drakeo the Ruler, and some of their implications.
Drakeo spends all but seven hours a week locked in solitary confinement, even though he was acquitted on murder and attempted murder charges.
The LA District Attorney’s office is retrying Drakeo on charges of violating California’s Gang Conspiracy Laws. (The jury hung on these charges in an earlier trial.) In so doing, prosecutors argue that Drakeo’s group, called the Stinc Team, is a violent gang, and proceeds to use the artist’s work and social media postings against him as evidence that he’s a gang leader.
On Tuesday, my story Drakeo the Ruler and the LA District Attorney Election explored the political ramifications of this case for the upcoming race for Los Angeles District Attorney.
On Friday, we published Molly Miller’s Paint it Black: Drakeo the Ruler, Mick Jagger and “Gang Conspiracy” in which Molly did a deep dive into how Los Angeles prosecutors apply the criteria California’s Gang Conspiracy Law.
In her piece, Molly presented a hypothetical: The criteria and arguments employed by LA prosecutors against the Stinc Team could have just as easily applied to The Rolling Stones. The DA, Miller posits, might have used the band’s lyrical and cultural expression in conjunction with the band’s behavior in the ‘60s and ‘70s to prosecute the Stones for being a criminal street gang.
Molly’s hypothetical offers insight into the racial and cultural bias underlying the application of these Gang Conspiracy laws.
For those of you wondering how you can catch up on previous Crime Story newsletters, just click here and your question shall be answered.
We close this week, as is our habit, with Hannah Teich’s curated selection of some of the more interesting stories from Crime Story Daily over the past week.
Hannah, who edits this Daily section, groups the aggregation into four general topic areas: criminal justice policy reporting; muckraking/watchdog reporting; complex crime storytelling; and stories that examine the impact of criminal justice and true-crime in the culture.
Click here to go to Hannah’s weekly essay.
Thanks for reading and listening.
Publisher/Editor, Crime Story