On Monday, we published the final part of Sean Smith’s week by week analysis of the news stories aggregated in Crime Story Daily related to COVID-19 and our carceral system. In Part 19, Sean looked at stories from the week of July 19.
On Wednesday, we debuted Mongol: The Trial of David Martinez, our exclusive new Crime Story series written and read by Molly Miller that tells the story of the tragic killing of a police officer and the complex search for truth and justice in the aftermath of his death.
In this first installment we presented the Introduction — which offers historical context to the story — and Part 1 — which presents the events that transpired on October 28, 2014 beginning with the raid of a small home in Montebello, California, and culminating in gunshot wounds to two people, one of them a Pomona police officer named Shaun Diamond.
On Thursday, we published the second instalment of Mongol: The Trial of David Martinez, which included Part 2 — telling the story of the frantic efforts to save Officer Shaun Diamond’s life as well as the beginnings of the police investigation into what happened — and Part 3 — laying out the police operation that sought to extract information from David Martinez, who was suspected of firing the shot that struck Shaun Diamond.
We also learn in Part 3 that Officer Diamond succumbed to his wounds.
We will continue to publish installments of Mongol over the next two weeks, and you will be able to find links to each of these instalments as they are published at this link.
And on Friday, we offered Michael Romano’s recent report about Stanford Three Strikes Project client George Clobert who was freed after serving 23 years in prison for attempting to pass a $200 forged check.
Below we present Hannah Teich’s condensed curation of the week’s more interesting stories from Crime Story Daily. (Read Hannah’s full essay including links to the mentioned articles.)
On the criminal justice policy front: The Brennan Center highlights 40 key ballot initiatives, sheriff’s elections, and prosecutorial races to watch on Election Day, while The Appeal offers a comprehensive guide to 30 sheriff and prosecutor elections that could “challenge mass incarceration.” Vox outlines six specific ballot measures in five states that will give voters a chance to make significant changes to their criminal justice systems. And, in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, the sisters of Polly Klaas – the 12-year-old girl whose 1993 murder was the impetus for a rash of harsh sentencing laws – call on California voters to reject Prop. 20: “We don’t want unjust laws to be her legacy.”
In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A Reuters investigation reveals “the hidden crisis in America’s jails”: over the last decade, nearly 5,000 people have died in local jails without ever getting their day in court. A piece from the Washington Post centers on George Floyd’s time in the Texas prison system, while a piece from The Marshall Project focuses on the fight for COVID stimulus checks behind bars.
In complex crime storytelling: In a piece for the New York Times Magazine, formerly incarcerated writer Reginald Dwayne Betts reflects on “Kamala Harris, mass incarceration and me.” A piece from Texas Monthly focuses on the case of Lydell Grant, wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. And Slate revisits a newly relevant court ruling from 1974 on “the right to escape from prison.”
And in culture/true crime: Vox reviews Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, a “lightly fictionalized courtroom drama” based on the real-life case. The New York Times reviews two new true crime endeavors: the podcast “Undisclosed” and “Killer in Question,” a forthcoming docuseries from Investigation Discovery. And a piece from the New Yorker focuses on the pioneering criminologist Frances Glessner Lee, whose dollhouse-style crime scene dioramas revolutionized forensics training.
Again, you can read Hannah’s full weekly essay and find links to each of the mentioned articles.
And finally, here is your opportunity to catch up on previous Crime Story Newsletters.
Thanks again for reading and listening.
Publisher/Editor, Crime Story